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From the Fire Department: Escaping fire in the home

The West Fargo Fire Department, seen Friday, July 20, 2018, recently completed renovations for new sleeping quarters in its upper level. Erin Bormett / The Forum

Have you ever considered how fast a fire can start and travel throughout your home?

Many people do not realize the devastation that fire creates.

In the majority of households today, furnishings and finishes are made from petroleum products.

From carpet, furniture, mattresses, fixtures, etc.,that burn very hot and at an extremely fast rate.

Compare to 20-30 years ago; wool, wood and other natural materials were very common in the

majority of households, and would burn at a slower rate and with less heat release.

Your typical room and contents fire time lapse is listed below to give you an idea how much time you will have to leave your home.

Average time frame of a typical house fire:

- 1 a.m. fire starts

- 1:02 a.m. "Working" smoke detector activates

- You should be leaving the house with your fire escape plan

and call fire 911

- 1:05 a.m. thick black smoke begins to fill rooms.

- 1:07 a.m. everything in fire room ignites (flashover), if you are not out this will kill you.

- Fire department arrives (depending on location this could be 3-5 minutes from the time of the

call)

In seven minutes your home, and your life could be lost without smoke detectors and a fire escape plan in your home.

It becomes so important to have a fire escape plan since fire travels so fast. The quicker you can react to your smoke detector, the faster you can move to safety.

Without notification, you would have been overcome by poisonous gas from the smoke.

In school programs we teach children using the acronym "EDITH" (Exit Drills in the Home).

With this, we hope children bring the message home to parents so they may take part in making a fire escape plan and practicing it.

There is no reason for an escape plan if it is not practiced. So please, practice, practice, practice until you and your family can get out of your home fast and without hesitation.

Knowing how to get out of one exit is just as important as having a second exit in case one is blocked by fire or smoke. This could be a bedroom window or a back door.

Once your smoke detectors go off you have little time to react. We teach children to sleep with our door closed. It is amazing how much fire and smoke a simple closed

door can keep out.

When the smoke detector goes off, children are taught to roll out of bed in case of smoke in their

Bedrooms. Crawl to the door and feel it with their hand; if the door is hot, do not open it and go to your second exit. Which may be a window, but never hide; go outside. If the door is cool, they can open it slowly and see if it is safe to follow their exit plan. But if there is smoke to shut the door, since smoke is the number one killer in house fires.

Once outside it just as important to have a "meeting place" for the family to meet. Such as a mail box, tree in the front yard, etc. to make sure all family members are safe.

If someone is missing, never go back inside of a fire, leave this to the fireman who wear protective clothing and have special breathing equipment to see and breathe with.

Next step is to call 911; go to your neighbors if you do not have your cel phone and tell them you have a fire and your address.

Not having a fire escape plan can be the difference between life and death.

So please, keep all smoke detectors in working order, and know how to get out in case your house is filling with smoke.

Have a fire safe April.

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