According to FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), about 51% of residential fire-related deaths in the US happen between 11 PM and 7 AM when most people are asleep.
If a fire begins in your home while you're asleep, you may only have a few minutes to get out. That's why in this article, we'll talk about what you should do if a fire starts while you're asleep.
Extinguish the Fire if Possible: If the fire is small and manageable, you can attempt to use a fire extinguisher to put it out. However, it's vital to remember the PASS technique:
- P: Pull the pin to unlock the extinguisher.
- A: Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire.
- S: Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- S: Sweep from side to side while aiming at the base of the fire.
Only attempt to extinguish the fire if you are confident and if it is safe to do so. If the fire grows rapidly or becomes uncontrollable, abandon your efforts and focus on evacuation.
Crawl Under the Smoke to Escape: When escaping a fire, especially during the night, smoke inhalation is a significant concern. Follow these steps:
- Stay Low: Smoke rises, and the air near the floor is generally clearer. Crawl on your hands and knees to minimize exposure to smoke.
- Cover Mouth and Nose: Use a cloth, if available, to cover your mouth and nose. This can help filter out some of the smoke and toxic fumes.
- Test Doors: Before opening any doors, check for heat. If a door is warm, do not open it, as there may be fire on the other side. Instead, find an alternative route.
Remember, time is of the essence during a fire. If you cannot quickly and safely extinguish the fire, focus on evacuating the premises, following your predetermined escape routes and meeting points. Call emergency services once you are safely outside.