Basics of escaping a fire

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In case of emergency, please call 9-1-1 

Get Out Immediately

In case of fire, don't stop for anything. Leave the building immediately and go directly to your meeting place and then call 9-1-1.

Test the door before opening it

  • While kneeling at the door, reach up as high as you can and touch the door, the knob, and the crack between the door and its frame with the back of your hand.
  • If the door is warm, use another escape route.
  • If the door is cool open with caution.
  • Put your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. Be prepared to slam it shut if there is smoke or flame on the other side.

Crawl low under smoke

Smoke contains deadly gases, and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor.

  • If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees.
  • Keep your head 12 to 24 inches (30 to 60 centimeters) above the floor.
  • If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use an alternate escape route.

If you are Trapped

  • If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire.
  • Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke.
  • If there is a phone in the room, call 9-1-1 and tell them exactly where you are.
  • Wait at a window and signal for help with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.

Once you are out, stay out

Don't go back inside for any reason. If people or pets are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering. Only firefighters have the training, experience, and protective clothing and equipment needed to enter burning buildings.

Other Information

Fire Escape Planning

Fire Evacuations Tips for People with Disabilities

Install Smoke Alarms

Calling 9-1-1 in an Emergency