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How to respond to a house fire and avoid injuries

On Behalf of | May 18, 2023 | Fires/Floods

Internal or external threats can burn down your house in California. Fires often arise from faulty electrical wiring and cooking mishaps. Wildfires tearing through the landscape present a threat that you have less control over. Whatever the source, when you discover a fire in your home, you must quickly assess whether you can put it out or need to escape.

When to put out a fire

Most people have the capacity to extinguish a small fire that has just started. Keeping one or more fire extinguishers in your home will prepare you to respond rapidly. The PASS method helps people remember how to operate a fire extinguisher. PASS stands for pull the pin, aim the hose, squeeze the handle, and sweep the spray from side to side across the fire.

When to escape a fire

Once flames advance into a room, you must retreat and call 911 for help. You should not gamble with your safety. You can sort out your financial losses with a fire insurance claim later. Burning carpet, furniture and other building materials can emit toxic gases that will overpower you.

Get down on your hands and knees and move toward the nearest exit. Combustion gases will not spoil the air near the floor until the room has filled with smoke and gases. Once you get outside, keep moving. You do not want to be near the building if the roof or walls collapse.

When you cannot escape

In some situations, especially on upper stories, people cannot always get to an exit. To shield yourself from smoke, seal yourself in a room by plugging the space under doors and vents with wet towels or blankets. Go to a window and wave a sheet or blanket so that fire department personnel can find you.