If there’s a fire in your home, you may be able to prevent it from causing further damage by fighting it yourself. Naturally, you should always call 9-1-1 when you discover a fire; even if you are able to put out the fire yourself, it doesn’t hurt to have the fire department on the way, just in case. In the event that you end up fighting a house fire yourself, you can use these three basic guidelines to do so safely.
3 Basic Guidelines for Fighting a House Fire
First things first: You should only attempt to fight a house fire if it’s small and you can do so safely. With that said, here are three basic guidelines for fighting a house fire:
- Help anyone in immediate danger get to safety (including yourself)
- Call 9-1-1 immediately
- Use a fire extinguisher or another method of smothering flames
Here’s a closer look at each.
Home Fire-Fighting Guideline #1: Safety First
You need to prioritize safety. If you question your own safety or another person’s safety at all, leave the area and get away from the flames. Lives are worth more than whatever belongings may be damaged in a fire.
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Home Fire-Fighting Guideline #2: Call 9-1-1, No Matter What
Whether the fire is small and easy to contain or it’s large and unmanageable, you need to call 9-1-1. That’s true even if you believe the fire is small and you can put it out in a matter of moments. That’s because fires spread very rapidly, and you could find yourself embroiled in a massive disaster quickly.
Home Fire-Fighting Guideline #3: Extinguish the Flames
Use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames, but be careful to use the appropriate kind of fire extinguisher. You should never throw water on a fire that has a liquid fuel source, because doing so could actually cause the fire to spread.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, you may be able to extinguish the flames by other methods. Spreading baking soda or salt over a kitchen fire can work; So can placing a metal pot or lid, or even a cookie sheet, over the flames. If you are outdoors, shoveling dirt onto a fire can help smother the flames.
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Important Advice for Putting Out House Fires
You always need to know what’s burning before you attempt to put out a house fire. If you use the wrong extinguishing materials, you could end up spreading the fire. Additionally, you could be exposed to toxic smoke. And in some cases, fires can lead to explosions.
If you don’t know what is burning, leave the area immediately and call 9-1-1. Your life could depend on it.
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