Disaster Supplies Kit
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Landslides and debris flow
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies
Radiological dispersion device events
Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Each year, more than 4,000 Americans die and more than
25,000 are injured in fires, many of which could be
prevented. Property loss due to fire is estimated at $8.6
Fire spreads quickly and there is no time to gather
valuables. In just two minutes, a fire can become
life-threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be
engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the
flames. Inhaling the smoky air can sear your lungs. Fire
produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and
drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall
into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of
fire deaths, far exceeding burns.
Take Protective Measures
What can I do Before a Fire?
Install smoke alarms
Place smoke alarms on every level of your residence
Test and clean smoke alarms once a month and replace
batteries at least once a year
Replace smoke alarms once every 10 years
Escaping the Fire
Review the escape routes with your family
Practice escaping from each room
Make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut
Make sure any security gratings on windows have a fire
safety opening feature so they can be easily opened from the
Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one
Ensure that burglar bars and other antitheft mechanisms that
block outside window entry are easily opened from the inside
Teach family members to stay low to the floor when escaping
from a fire
Clean out storage areas of any nonessential items
Do not let trash accumulate
Emphasize escaping the fire
Never re-enter a burning building
Call emergency services from a neighbor’s house
Never use gasoline, benzine, naphtha or similar flammable
Store flammable liquids in approved containers in
well-ventilated storage areas
Never smoke near flammable liquids
Discard all rags or materials that have been soaked in
flammable liquids after you have used them outdoors in a
Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney
Be careful when using alternative heating sources
Check with your local fire department on the legality of
using kerosene heaters in your community.
Fill kerosene heaters outside
Place heaters at least three feet away from flammable
Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and
follow manufacturer directions
Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery and
Keep a screen in front of the fireplace
Have heating units inspected and cleaned annually by a
Matches and Smoking
Keep matches and lighters up high, away from children
Never smoke in bed or when drowsy or medicated
Douse cigarette and cigar butts with water before disposal
Have the electrical wiring in your residence checked by an
Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose
Make sure outlets have cover plates and no exposed wiring
Make sure wiring does not run under rugs, over nails or
across high-traffic areas
Do not overload extension cords or outlets
Get UL-approved units with built-in circuit breakers to
prevent sparks and short circuits
Make sure insulation does not touch bare electrical wiring
Sleep with your door closed
Install A-B-C-type fire extinguishers in your residence and
teach family members how to use them
Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in
Ask the local fire department to inspect your residence for
fire safety and prevention
What do I do During a Fire?
If your clothes catch on fire, you should remember the rule
to stop, drop and roll - until the fire is extinguished.
Running only makes the fire burn faster.
To escape a fire, you should:
Check closed doors for heat before you open them
If you are escaping through a closed door, use the back of
your hand to feel the top of the door, the doorknob and the
crack between the door and door frame before you open it
Never use the palm of your hand or fingers to test for heat
Do not open. Escape through a window.
If you cannot escape, hang a white or light-colored sheet
outside the window, alerting fire fighters to your presence.
Open slowly and ensure fire and/or smoke is not blocking
your escape route. If your escape route is blocked, shut the
door immediately and use an alternate escape route, such as
If clear, leave immediately through the door and close it
Be prepared to crawl.
Smoke and heat rise.
The air is clearer and cooler near the floor.
Crawl low under any smoke to your exit
Close doors behind you as you escape to delay the spread of
Stay out once you are safely out
Call 9-1-1 from another location
What do I do After a Fire?
If there are any burn victims, call 9-1-1
Cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or
If you detect heat or smoke when entering a damaged
building, evacuate immediately
If you are a tenant, contact the landlord
If you have a safe or strong box, do not try to open it
Follow the instructions for recovering from a disaster.