What to Do If Your House is on Fire: 8 Steps to Safety

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: December 4, 2019

Before you assume that you’re prepared for a fire in your home, think about the numbers. According to the National Fire Prevention Association, a home fire was reported every 86 seconds in 2014.

Structural fires resulted in 13,425 injuries, 2,860 deaths and $9.8 billion in property damage.

Just to put these numbers in perspective: in the US alone every day almost 8 people lose the lives as a result of structure fires. To make matters even worse: most house fires occur during cold months, peaking in January!

While the statistics are unsettling, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba is committed to making sure that you have as much information as possible to keep your family safe. As Chicago’s leading fire restoration company, we help individuals and families deal with the aftermath of home fires every day.

Diana Rodriguez Zaba“Over the course of many years in business, we’ve seen it all when it comes to house fires,” says Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, Owner and Director of Operations at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.“The unfortunate truth is, while every situation is different, there is a serious pattern: People are basically unprepared to prevent or manage the aftermath of a fire.”

This is why we’ve put together 8 lifesaving steps as a reference outlining what you should do in case of a fire in your home.

1. Take the Fire Alarm Seriously

Always assume that a fire alarm is serious. Even if the smoke detectors in your home are sensitive, determine why they’re sounding the alarm, and be prepared to quickly evacuate.

2. Assess the Situation

Unless contained in a very small area, never try to put out a fire. Home fire extinguishers are designed for use in very small areas. Age and storage conditions can compromise an extinguisher’s performance, so you can’t be sure of its effectiveness.

3. Put Safety First

It’s very important to determine if evacuation is your safest option. Stay calm, and get a good sense of everyone’s location in the house.

If your clothes catch fire, remember the rules: “Stop, Drop and Roll.” Once outside, seek immediate medical attention for burns.

Don’t waste time and risk injury by trying to save your possessions. Many things can be salvaged later by a professional fire damage restoration service.

4. Touch Door Handles

Hand on door handle
If a door handle is warm, don’t open the door!

Touch door handles before leaving a room. If they’re warm, don’t open the door. Instead, determine if you have a safer exit available through another door or window.

5. Take the Stairs

Always use stairways to evacuate from upper floors. Never try to take the elevator. Its mechanical system can short out leaving you trapped inside and stranded between floors.

6. Evacuate Immediately

Once you’re certain of a safe route out of the house, evacuate immediately. If you’re unable to exit safely, signal to others for help so that they can identify your location.

7. Call 911

Call the fire department once you’re in a safe location immediately. If you’re unable to reach emergency responders, wait until you’ve evacuated to a location outside your home, and then try again.

8. Stay Outside

Once you’ve safely evacuated, don’t try to reenter your home. They have to secure the scene before you begin any fire damage cleanup.

Always by Your Side

It’s our sincere hope that you never have to deal with a house fire, but we also hope that our guide gives you a clear picture of how to react quickly and safely under frightening circumstances.

If the worst should happen, ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba is here for you with 24/7 professional fire damage restoration services in Chicago & suburbs. Our dedicated teams are always standing by, and we’re ready for your call.