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Almost 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and approximately 20,000 are injured. The Bakersfield Fire Department believes that the New Year is the perfect time to make sure you have the proper plan in place for your family. Analyze last year’s plan to identify potential problems. Ask yourself if anything has changed over the year. If the answer is yes, then modify the plan accordingly. With a good escape plan, you will greatly reduce fire deaths and help protect you and your family if a fire occurs. Also, make it a New Year’s resolution to change your smoke alarms’ batteries – it’s recommended to do so annually. And throughout the year, check your smoke alarms monthly. If your family has working smoke alarms installed on every level of your home, it dramatically decreases your chances of being injured in a fire. Also, consider replacing the entire smoke alarm every ten years or as the manufacturer guidelines recommend.
Have a Good Fire Escape Plan
In the New Year, remember a good escape plan is the key to saving your life. Practice this plan with your family until they are experts at it, because every second counts! In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can evolve into a major fire. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly.
Immediately Leave the Home
Save yourselves not your property! Take the safest exit route, the one you have practiced with your family. If that escape route is not available, use the secondary route that your family designated.
Stay Low to the Ground to Avoid Smoke Inhalation
If you must escape through smoke, remember to crawl low under the smoke and keep your mouth covered. This maneuver will help keep you from becoming disoriented or seriously injured from smoke inhalation.
Never Open Doors That Are Hot To the Touch
When you come to 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 to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it feels hot, use your secondary escape route. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route.
Teach Children Not to Hide From Firefighters
Firefighters can be scary to little children. Teach them not to hide from firefighters. If someone is missing, tell the firefighters when they arrive on scene.
Designate A Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance
Designate a meeting location away from the home, such as under a specific tree or at the end of the driveway or front sidewalk, to make sure everyone has gotten out safely and no one will be hurt looking for someone who is already safe. Designate one person to go to a neighbor’s home to phone the fire department.
Once Out, Stay Out
Never go back into a burning building for any reason. Once you’ve escaped, notify the Bakersfield Fire Department using the 911 system. Bakersfield firefighters are equipped to perform rescues safely.
For more information and additional safety tips from the Bakersfield Fire Department, please visit www.bakersfieldcity.us/fire