Discard your illusions about housefires

There's a classic question to help reveal your personality "if the house were on fire what would you save?" Unfortunately, if you really do try to save things, you dramatically increase your risk of being injured or killed.

You need to know and deeply believe the following things:

1. Fire is incredibly fast and dangerous. A room can go from one small smoking smolder to full flashover inferno in 2 to 3 minutes. There is no time in a fire for anything but getting out. Call the fire department from a neighbor's house. Don't delay, just get out!

2. Smoke is the killer. Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that kills. Breathing even small amounts of these gases can make you drowsy and disoriented. This is why having an escape plan that you practice is critical.

3. Stay low for safety. Room temperatures in a fire can be 90 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super hot air will burn your lungs.

4. Fires are dark. Though flame is bright, the smoke can quickly fill rooms and render them pitch black. Fire victims who did manage to escape report having been completely disoriented in homes they've lived in for years.

5. Smoke alarms save lives. Keep yours well-maintained and test it monthly.

6. Fire drills and escape plans save lives. Always have more than one exit route planned, practice how to test closed doors for heat (use the back of your hand and don't touch the knob!), and desiginate a meeting place outside the building.

Check with your local fire department for more details on how to protect your household.

Author: dinahsanders

Author. Discardian. Defender of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. she/her

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