Being aware and prepared can save your life and reduce property damage during a fire.
Fire Safety Tips
In all new residential homes (one- and two-family), smoke detectors are required by City Code to be installed in each room that may be used for sleeping. In structures built before 2006, a one- or two-family residential structure used as a rental property requires only a working smoke detector.
There are no requirements for smoke detectors in privately owned one- and two-family occupancies. However, the Greensboro Fire Department recommends (and will install) one for each level of the house. The GFD additionally recommends one in each bedroom, although it does not provide these in its program.
Keep Your Home Safe:
- Install a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on each additional level of your home.
- If people sleep with doors closed, install smoke alarms inside sleeping areas, too.
- Test each smoke alarm once a month. When necessary, replace batteries immediately.
- Replace all batteries at least twice a year.
- Vacuum away cobwebs and dust from your smoke alarms weekly.
- Smoke alarms become less sensitive over time. Replace your smoke alarms every ten years.
- Keep one or more working fire extinguishers in your home and know how to use them.
Make a Plan:
- Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your home.
- Plan escape routes. Determine at least two ways to escape from every room of your home.
- Consider escape ladders for sleeping areas on the second or third floor. Learn how to use them and store them near the window.
- Select a location outside your home where everyone would meet after escaping.
- Practice your escape plan at least once a month.
If a Fire Occurs:
- Call 911 immediately! Get everyone out of the house!
- If the fire is contained and you have a fire extinguisher nearby, you may choose to attempt to put the fire out yourself. If the fire is not electrical or chemical in nature, water can also be used to extinguish it.
- Do not try to put out a fire that is getting out of control. If you're not sure you can control it, get out of the house.
- Smother oil and grease fires in the kitchen with baking soda or salt, or put a lid over the flame if it is burning in a pan.
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop, and roll until the fire is extinguished. Running only makes the fire burn faster.
- Sleep with your door closed. If you wake up to the sound of a smoke detector, feel the doorknob with the back of your hand before you open it. If the doorknob is cool, leave immediately. Close doors behind you.
- If you are in a high rise do not use elevators!
- Be prepared to crawl - smoke and heat rise, so the air is clearer and cooler near the floor. If the doorknob is hot, escape through a window.
- If smoke, heat, or flames block your exit routes stay in the room with the door closed. Signal for help using a bright-colored cloth at the window. If you have an operating telephone in the room, call 911 and tell them where you are.
- Have your family meet at a pre-designated area outside the house. If any members of the family are missing, notify firefighters.
- If you don't have a set plan for exiting your home in an emergency, create one, practice it.
- If you are escaping through a closed door, feel the door before opening it. If it is warm, use your second way out. Once you are out, stay out! Call the fire department from a neighbor' s home.
After a fire:
- Have injuries examined and treated by a medical professional.
- Wash small wounds with soap and water. To help prevent the infection of small wounds, use bandages and replace them if they become soiled, damaged or waterlogged.
- Remain calm. Pace yourself. You may find yourself in the position of taking charge of other people. Listen carefully to what people are telling you, and deal patiently with urgent situations first.
- Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Do not remove or cross colored tape that was placed over doors or windows to mark damaged areas unless local authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
- If a building inspector has placed a color-coded sign on the home, do not enter it until you get more information, advice and instructions about what the sign means and whether it is safe to enter your home.
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