Why Prepare?

Basic Preparedness
Getting Informed
Planning and Checklists
Special Needs
Disaster Supplies Kit

Natural Hazards
Thunderstorms and lightning
Winter storms and extreme cold
Extreme heat
Landslides and debris flow

Technological Hazards
Hazardous materials incidents
Household chemical emergencies
Nuclear power plant emergencies

Biological threats
Chemical threats
Nuclear blasts
Radiological dispersion device events

Recovering from Disaster
Health and safety guidelines
Returning home
Seeking disaster assistance
Coping with disaster
Helping others

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 billion annually.
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?

Smoke Alarms

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 inside

Consider escape ladders if your residence has more than one level

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

Flammable Items
Never use gasoline, benzine, naphtha or similar flammable liquids indoors

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 metal container

Insulate chimneys

Remove branches hanging above and around the chimney

Heating Sources
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 materials

Use only the type of fuel designated for your unit and follow manufacturer directions

Keep open flames away from walls, furniture, drapery and flammable items

Keep a screen in front of the fireplace

Have heating units inspected and cleaned annually by a certified specialist

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

Electrical Wiring
Have the electrical wiring in your residence checked by an electrician

Inspect extension cords for frayed or exposed wires or loose plugs

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 your residence

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

Hot Door
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.

Cool Door
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 a window.
If clear, leave immediately through the door and close it behind you.
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 the fire

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 infection

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 right away
Follow the instructions for recovering from a disaster.