THE ULTIMATE FIRE SURVIVAL GUIDE .
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM FIRE IN WISCONSIN
BEFORE THE FIRE
1. Set Up Smoke Alarms
Since fires spread quickly, any warning is the difference between a fully destroyed home and a close call. Smoke alarms should be located on each floor of your home and have their batteries tested once a month.
If you own a business, make sure there are enough smoke alarms for all employees and visitors to hear no matter where they are in the building.
2. Create an Emergency Supply Kit
Preparing an emergency kit for any disaster will give you some peace of mind during an actual emergency. Take the time to put together a kit before it’s too late. An emergency fire kit should be small enough to quickly carry out and located near an exit for easy recovery.
Gather the following items for your very own fire emergency kit:
- Bottled water
- Battery-powered radio or cell phone with battery charger
- All-purpose knife/tool
- First Aid kit
- Copies of important documents
- Extra clothes
Feel free to add more items on the list based on your family’s needs. If you have young children, include a few days’ worth of diapers and baby food. These items should only be needed for a short time as you wait for insurance or stay at a shelter.
Your business should have a fire-proof safe or storage cabinet containing important papers such as building deeds, employee records, and other documents. Many companies now store this information on a hard drive which is then placed in the fire-proof container.
3. Practice a Safety Plan
Since fire can quickly block traditional exits, make sure your family members know at least 2 different routes to get out of the house. Designate a meeting area located a safe distance away from your house. This way, you can be sure everyone got out safely. Practice escaping and meeting with your kids once or twice a year, depending on their age.
For a fire at a commercial property, there should be signs directing people to emergency fire exits. Go over these exit locations with employees every few months for efficient and quick evacuation.
WHEN A FIRE IS IN AREA
1. Stay Informed with News Alerts
If your home or business is close to an active fire, pay attention to radio and TV news reports to know if and when you need to evacuate. It is better to be prepared than become trapped. If there’s a chance you will be evacuated, gather your important documents and valuables.
Take photos of the building for insurance purposes during this time. Remember to remain calm, as there is a chance the fire will not reach your home or business.
If you own a business which is in the path of a fire, you may want to send your employees home or to another location until the situation is resolved.
DURING A FIRE
1. Evacuate the Building
If you have to evacuate, do NOT try to save your possessions. Focus on getting people out first by following your safety plan.
- Stay low to avoid breathing in smoke.
- Feel doors with the back of your hand before opening. If it is warm, find another exit; fire is likely on the other side.
- Open doors slowly, even if it is not warm to the touch.
Make sure everyone has made it safely to your meeting point. If your business is on fire and you cannot account for all employees or visitors, inform the firefighters there might still be people trapped inside.
If all exits are blocked and you cannot get out:
Find a room far from the fire with a window. Close the door behind you and seal the frame with damp towels to stop smoke from entering. Stay by the window to signal for help. Call the fire department and tell them your location. Most importantly, remain calm.
2. Stay Outside
Move out of the way of firefighters and first-responders. Stay near in case they have any questions about the layout of the building and where people or pets might be.
Do NOT go inside for possessions
Wait outside until the building has been declared safe by firefighters. Fire and water can damage the foundation of your home, possibly collapsing the structure even if the fire is out.
AFTER A FIRE
1. Find a Place to Stay/Operate
Unless your home only sustained minor fire damage, you will need a safe place to stay temporarily. You may be able to stay at a local shelter or hotel for free, or family and friends might be willing to take you in.
- Gather important documents from your emergency kit and begin going through insurance claims, et c…
- Contact friends & family to inform them of the situation
- Locate the nearest emergency shelter further assistance
If your business was burned down, you will want to establish a temporary base of operations for the time being. You will need to gather salvageable supplies and documents from your damaged office. Your insurance or corporate offices should be able to help you get up and running again while you wait for repairs. Contact all your employees and business partners to let them know how work will continue in the future.
2. Wisconsin’s Emergency Fire Damage Restoration Specialists
The idea of cleaning up your home or business after a fire is daunting. There’s the obvious damage from the flames and smoke, but also damage from water and fire extinguishers.
The fire remediation experts of ERS have years of experience restoring buildings after emergencies. We will arrive at your building within 1 hour to begin assessing the damage and start cleaning. We cover everything from removing smoke damage to drying wet areas from firefighters. Before you know it, your home or business will be good as new.
Picking up and putting back the pieces of your life is difficult enough; let ERS take it from here.