What To Do If There Is a Fire or Shock
How to respond to a fire
During a house or apartment fire, remain calm and follow these nine steps to escape:
- When the smoke alarm sounds — react immediately. If you see flames, exit your home quickly. You may have only seconds to get out. Don’t take time to grab cell phones, valuables or any possessions. Your only concern is to help yourself and others get out safely. Yell loudly to alert anyone in the home. Ignore anything that’s not going to get everyone out safely.
- Exit safely through doors. Look for smoke coming under the door put the back of your hand on the door to check to see if the door is hot. If it feels cool, slowly open it and leave. If you see a fire preventing your exit, close the door to protect yourself. If you see smoke, or the door is hot, and there’s no other exit door, find a window for your escape. If it’s a second story window, do whatever you can to alert people, such as waving towels or bed sheets out the window and yelling. Two story homes should always have an escape ladder. There are many affordable options available that fold small for easy storage but make it easy to quickly exit through a window.
- Protect yourself from smoke inhalation. Get low to the floor. Crawl on your hands and knees to stay below the smoke. Tell family members to do so also. Don’t run. Smoke rises. Being upright and exerting only increases the amount of smoke you breathe in. Inhaling smoke can disorient you and make you lose consciousness. Cover your nose and mouth if you have to walk by or through smokefilled areas. If you have time, a piece of clothing or cloth over your nose and mouth can help filter some of the smoke.
- If your clothes catch fire stop what you’re doing and – stop, drop, and roll. Drop flat to the ground, and roll around until you put the fire out. Rolling around smothers the fire quickly, but cover your face with your hands as you roll around.
- After exiting your burning home:
- Call 911, or alert a neighbor to make the call.
- Conduct a head count. If anyone is missing, only re-enter the house to find them if it is safe. If not, then tell the first responders who’s missing.
- Assess those who’ve escaped the fire for injuries.
- Get far away from the burning structure.
How to help a victim of electric shock
The type of current, the amount of voltage, how the current traveled through the person’s body, the person’s health and how quickly the person can be treated are all dangers of electric shock.
Electrical shocks can cause burns, but they may not leave a visible mark on the skin. Regardless, the current running through the body may leave internal damage, stop the person’s heart or cause another injury. In some situations, even lower voltages and currents of electricity are lethal.
Remain cautious. If the person is in contact with an electrical wire, don’t touch them. Instead, call 911 for help. Because overhead power lines usually are not insulated, stay at least 20 feet away.
If the person is safely away from any electric wires, seek emergency care, or call 911 immediately for medical help, if someone shows any of these symptoms:
- serious burns
- loss of consciousness
- breathing difficulties
- muscle pain and spasms
- heart rhythm problems or cardiac arrest
- showing signs of confusion