What to do when you smell smoke from a fire
You’re lying down, scrolling your bedtime Facebook feed like usual when your nose detects the distinct charred smoke effervescing from the seams of your bedroom door. What do you do? What do your instincts tell you? In dire moments in between life and death, panic and fear set in, impairing your judgment to make the right call on the spot.
We’ve all probably been briefed in safety training at some point of our lives and told not to panic in case of emergencies. Once something in your house catches fire, it can grow into a blazing white hot mess consuming everything inside in no time. And, if you’re a hoarder or collector who accumulates newspapers, boxes and other flammable materials, those possessions can add fuel to the fire.
Smokey Bear shouldn’t be the only one prepared for such circumstance. One must always be prepared in case of an emergency and you need pre set instructions to kick in during these pivotal moments. Let’s go through a couple of important things you should do in case of a fire.
- Know your way out: Smoke from the fire can fill up rooms almost instantaneously. Thereby, decreasing your vision clarity every passing second. If you need to feel your way through to the exit, it might be too late. You must be well aware of all the emergency exits, windows and main exits in order to safely evacuate the building with all your family members. Since, the thick black smoke will be filling up the place, it might block some of the exits. You must be familiar with all the possible escape routes to go for an alternate exit if one is blocked from collapsing debris or black smoke.
- Call 911 immediately and sound the alarm: You might be one of the first people in the vicinity to know of the fire. You can save many other unsuspecting victims by sounding the fire alarm on your way out. This will allow others to start evacuating simultaneously, preventing further damage. The first thing you should do once you establish your safety is to call 911 for disaster control.
Now, here’s what you should NOT do in case of a fire emergency and pay attention:
- Using the elevator: If you’re a resident of a building, you must use the fire exit or regular stairs because when the fire alarms are rung, most elevators are automatically sent to the lobby level and restricted for the Fire Department’s use only.
- Opening doors better left closed: Oftentimes when a fire starts in one part of the room isolated by a closed door, it’s not recognized until the fire eats through the door or smoke seeps in. If you see smoke coming out from beneath the door, through the hinges or seams, then touch the door or the door knob to feel if it’s hot. If it is, do NOT open the door, keep it confined within the room.
For yours’s and everyone’s safety, please call 911 immediately to get the fire extinguished. Damage control can be done after. Remain calm, exit the building, then call for help.
(SERVPRO of Torrance specialized in fire and smoke remediation)