Know When To Go

On average in the United States in 2010, someone died in a fire every 169 minutes, and someone was injured every 30 minutes. It could happen to you or your family. If fire strikes your home or your business, the way to survive is to get out and stay out. "Get out! Stay out!" It's a simple strategy that truly save lives. To make the most of it, however, you need to plan ahead, starting today!

Know two ways out

Draw a diagram of your home. Plan two ways out of every room, especially bedrooms. If one of your escape routes must go out of a second story window, be sure you have a safe way to reach the ground. Make special arrangements for small children and people with disabilities.

Get Out Fast!

In case of a fire, don't stop for anything! Don't try to take possessions or pets. Just get out. Call the fire department from a neighbor's house after you are out.

Crawl low, Under the Smoke

Smoke contains deadly gases and is hot, so hot that it will rise to fill the room from the top down. If you encounter smoke or flames on your way out, turn around and use your alternate exit. If you must escape through an area filled with smoke, the best air will be 12in. to 24in. (30 to 60cm) from the floor. Get down on your hands and knees and crawl quickly to the exit.

If you are Trapped

Close doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around and under the door(s) and cover vents to keep smoke out. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight, if you have one, or by waving a sheet or other light colored piece of cloth. If there's a phone in the room where you're trapped, call 911 and tell them exactly where you are.

Choose a meeting place

Everyone should gather at one meeting place outside, preferably at the front of the building, where the fire department will arrive. Each family member should know how to call the fire department from a neighbor's home. Designate one family member to make the call, while the others wait at the meeting place.