In a flash: Practice home fire drills

If your house is on fire, every second counts. Plan and practice home fire drills so you and your family can get out quickly in a real emergency.

Two ways out 
In a fire, getting out safely might mean more than heading for the nearest door. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, you should have two ways out of any room.

If you have upstairs bedrooms, purchase collapsible escape ladders. Do a practice walkthrough and make sure children are able to open doors and windows and get out on their own.

Get out and stay out 
Get out first and then call for help. Sometimes it only takes 30 seconds for a small flame to turn into a major fire. When a fire occurs, you should exit the house immediately.

Once out, stay out. If someone is missing or a family pet is trapped inside, tell the firefighters. They have the equipment to perform rescues safely.

Practice different scenarios 
Talk about what to do if you have to escape through smoke. Practice crawling close to the floor with your t-shirt or pajama top pulled up to cover your mouth. Smoke contains toxic gases that can cause you to become disoriented or pass out.

When you come to a closed door, feel the doorknob. If it’s hot to the touch, there’s a fire on the other side and you need to find a different way out.

Practice what to do if you can’t get out. Stuff a blanket or towel under the cracks in the door to keep the smoke out. Signal for help at the window using a white shirt or a flashlight.

Remember, fire is fast, hot, dark, and deadly. Installing working smoke alarms dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire.