19 Things Firefighters Wish You Knew
Firefighters are a vast source of knowledge when it comes to preventing and surviving house fires. Here’s what America’s Bravest want you to know.
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But do prevent and stop kitchen flare-ups
Most fires start in the kitchen, according to the Red Cross, so preventing and reacting quickly to kitchen flareups is crucial. Having a fire extinguisher handy in the kitchen is your best defense, according to Wey, who says it’s easy to remember how to use one if you remember, “PASS”:
P – Pull the pin
A – Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire
S – Squeeze the trigger
S – Sweep the nozzle from side to side.
If that seems too complicated, First Alert’s Tundra Fire Extinguishing Spray is an easier-to-use alternative.
Your house number should be clearly visible
House numbers are so much more important than homeowners might think, points out Mike Gnitecki, a firefighter and paramedic with the Gladewater Fire Department in Texas. “Please make sure your house number is easily visible from the road. If you have a mailbox on the street, put your house number on that, and preferably in white lettering with a green background, which Gnitecki says is the easiest to read. Learn about an artist who’s painting homes affected by wildfire in California.
“Wave us down!”
Even if you have a clearly visible house number, another reason you want to remain outside after escaping a fire is to wave down the firetrucks. “When we arrive we don’t want to be guessing which house we are going to,” Captain Stack says. “Trust me when I say it is one of the worst feelings to think you are at the correct address and not be.”
Have an escape plan and practice it!
Less than half of all households have a fire-escape plan, according to the NFPA, but having one can mean the difference between life and death. Here’s everything you need to know about creating an escape plan for your family and home fire drills.
If only more people slept with their bedroom doors closed…
Fires spread more quickly the more oxygen they have, but you can slow the spread of a house fire, as well as reduce toxic smoke levels if you keep your bedroom doors closed while you’re sleeping. “Closing your door can dramatically increase your chances of survival,” according to Kerber. It’s so important, his organization (the ULFSRI) has launched Close Your Door, a mission aimed at educating the public about how “closing before dozing” can save lives by slowing the spread of fire and smoke.
Please, please, please, when you hear sirens, pull over to the right as much as possible and come to a complete stop, begs Jared Wolff, a longtime firefighter and EMT. Lots of people don’t seem to know that coming to a full stop is really helpful and can save lives. This is especially true on long, rural roads with twists and turns. This is why wildfire smoke is way more dangerous than you realized.
Talk reassuringly to your children about fire safety
While it’s important to talk to your kids about fire safety and what to do in the event of a fire (including NOT hiding), it’s equally important to reassure them that firefighters will help them and that they needn’t be afraid of them. “Young children can be frightened by fully geared firefighters,” Wey points out. Here’s a fun firefighter fact for your kids: the reason firehouse dogs are usually Dalmatians!
Our experts tell us that the biggest cause of house fires include:
- Unattended cooking
- Unattended candles
- Faulty circuits
- Overloaded circuits
- Overloaded power strips and other incorrect use of power strips
- Children playing with matches and lighters
- Space heaters
- Burning garbage
Next, read on for the 45 things police officers want you to know.