In Case of Fire in Your Home
Make a family fire-escape plan and keep your escape routes free of obstructions. Practice this plan often, and keep these pointers in mind; they will tell you pointers from those who know what it takes to get out alive:
- Stay calm.
- Sound a warning.
- If you awaken to a smoke-filled room, crawl below the smoke to safety.
- Check the doors to see if they are warm. A warm door may mean that there is a fire on the other side. Use an alternate exit, if possible.
- Get everyone out; wrap children in blankets if necessary-don't take time to get dressed.
- Close the doors behind you as you evacuate. This will slow down the fire.
- If it is safe to do so, turn off all appliances as you leave.
- If your hair or clothing should catch on fire, smother the flames with a towel, blanket or other thick material, or stop, drop and roll out the flames. Get medical attention as soon as possible.
- Call Ottawa Fire Services from a safe location. Do not delay.
- Check your smoke alarm regularly and replace the battery as necessary.
- Avoid careless smoking. Use ashtrays and never smoke in bed
- Avoid unsafe cooking practices. Use caution when frying and keep a lid close by to cover a pot of hot grease in case it catches fire.
- Avoid storing unnecessary flammable liquids in your home or attached garage. Never store propane cylinders in your home or attached garage.
- Do not use unsafe electrical appliances. Discard frayed extension cords and do not use them as permanent wiring. Do not overload circuits.
- Twice a year, tighten fuses in the panel or check circuit breakers for free operation.
- Ensure that your wood-stove and chimney are safely installed and maintained.
- Clean-up your basement, garage, yard and other storage areas twice a year.
If you cannot extinguish a small fire with your portable fire extinguisher or if the smoke is hazardous, leave the area at once. Never place yourself or others in jeopardy by attempting to extinguish a fire. Close the door to confine the fire. Alert the other occupants and call 9-1-1 from a safe place. Finally, wait outside for firefighters to arrive.
A home fire-escape plan may save your family's life.
Developing a fire-escape plan
- Install smoke alarms on each floor of your home. Test them regularly.
- Draw a floor plan of your home showing all possible exits from each room. Plan a main exit route and an alternate exit route from each room.
- Ensure that everyone understands that if they hear the smoke alarm or hear someone shout "fire," they should evacuate immediately.
- Decide on a meeting place. Someone should phone the fire department (9-1-1).
- Meet the firefighters when they arrive, so they know that you are safe.
- Make certain that everyone in your home knows not to re-enter a burning building. Firefighters are properly equipped and trained to perform rescue operations-you are not.
Practice your escape plan
Regular practice is the best way to help prevent panic when an actual emergency occurs. Be sure that every member of the family knows what to do.
- A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm usually provides enough warning to enable you to leave your home safely.
- Before opening any door, feel it. Do not open a hot door. Use an alternate exit instead. If you can't climb out of a window, shout from it.
- Smoke and heat rise; breathable cool air stays low down. Practice your escape plan by crawling on your hands and knees.
- If you live in an apartment building, your escape plan should take the building-management procedures into account.
- If there is anyone in your home who needs help to evacuate, assign someone to assist.
- Make sure your babysitter understands your fire-escape plan.
What to do after a fire
City firefighters have done their job. The fire is out and they have done some of the basic clean-up work. Now you need to deal with the damaged or destroyed items.
You may find that firefighters broke your windows and cut holes in your roof. This was to ventilate the fire. This practice reduces damage in the long run. Otherwise, superheated smoke would continue to move out and obscure any victims. The procedure also reduces the risk of serious injury to firefighters and reduces the possibility of a smoke explosion.
To make sure that there is no hidden fire inside your walls and between floors, firefighters may have made inspection holes. This ensures that the fire is truly out.
You must first protect yourself from additional losses. Some insurance policies (mostly commercial ones) demand that insured individuals prevent further damage to the property however possible. For example, they should make sure that the fire area is inspected thoroughly and should confirm any cleaning or repairs with their insurance agent. Contact your insurance agent if you lost your insurance policy in the fire.
Ottawa Fire Services does its utmost to secure your property after a fire. It removes as much water and debris as possible and tries to protect lightly damaged and undamaged property. It also uses plastic to cover broken windows and ventilation openings in the roof.
If you rent your property, contact the owners of the building. They should then notify their insurance agent. You should also contact the City office regarding possible tax reductions.
Do not use wet or damaged appliances until they have been properly serviced. If the Fire Department or another agency turned off the power during the fire, call Hydro to have the services restored. Do not do it yourself.
If your gas supply has been turned off, do not try to restore the service yourself. Call your local gas company and have them do it for you free of charge. They can also test your supply line and appliances.
Restaurants and other food establishments must cease all operations until they have been inspected by the City Health Unit.
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