You may not have much time to react in a fire. In a typical home fire, you may have as little as two minutes to escape from the time the smoke alarm sounds. So make a plan in advance and practise it twice a year. Walk around your home and think about how you could escape a fast-moving fire. Make sure you have working lights at the front and back of your home.
After a fire starts, the Calgary Fire Department will arrive quickly – but your actions in those first few minutes can mean the difference between a safe exit and a tragedy.
What you can do:
- Leave your home immediately. If you are able, close doors behind you as you go to slow the spread of fire and smoke.
- Call 9-1-1 from a safe phone.
- Crawl if you have to escape through smoke. The air is cleanest and coolest near the floor.
- Stay outside or go to a neighbour's home. Do not return to recover possessions or pets. Firefighters are better equipped for search and rescue.
- Feel around the door frame and the space between the door and frame with the back of your hand to see if it is warm. If it is warm, that means the fire is nearby. To be safe, use your second way out.
- If you are trapped, close the door between you and the smoke, and stuff rags or towels in the cracks. Wait at a window to signal the firefighters by waving a light-coloured cloth. Turn the lights on and off, or use a flashlight to attract attention.
- Follow the instructions of emergency professionals on the scene. Seek treatment if required.