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Health / Safety

Faculty and Staff tip: Escape planning for home fires

November 13, 2013

In just minutes, a small flame can turn into a major fire.

fire extinguisherThe results can be tragic; more than 3,400 Americans die annually in fires, and 17,500 are injured.

Have a Plan

  • A sound escape plan greatly reduces fire deaths and protects a family’s safety if a fire occurs.

Practice Two Escape Routes From Every Room in the House

  • If the main exit from a room is blocked by fire or smoke, a second way out is necessary. This might be a window or a collapsible ladder, which should have been tested by a nationally recognized laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratories.
  • Be aware of and remove obstacles that may prevent a safe evacuation such as blocked exits or jammed or barred windows. Practice exiting in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Keep bedroom doors closed to help prevent smoke from entering the room if there is a fire.
  • Hold family fire drills during the night to assess your children’s ability to awaken and respond. If anyone cannot awaken to or hear the smoke alarm, adjust your plan.

Security Bars Require Special Precautions

  • Windows/doors with security bars need quick-release devices to allow immediate exit.

Immediately Exit the Home

  • Leave property behind.
  • Take the safest exit.
  • If you must escape through smoke, crawl under the smoke and keep your mouth covered from the toxic gases.

Never Open Doors that are Hot to the Touch

  • Feel the top of the door, the doorknob, and the crack between the door and doorframe to make sure that fire is not on the other side. If it’s hot, use the secondary escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open slowly while bracing a shoulder against the door. If heat and smoke enter, slam the door and use an alternate escape route.

Designate a Meeting Place Outside and Take Attendance

  • Ensure everyone’s safety and that no one is looking for those who are already out.

Once Out, Stay Out

  • Call 911 or an emergency number. If someone is missing, report it immediately.


U.S. Fire Administration:

This information is brought to you by Colorado State University's Employee Assistance Program, through ComPsych GuidanceResources. The university partners with ComPsych, a no-cost, confidential assistance program to help address the personal issues faced by employees and their dependents. The program connects employees to local resources including legal and financial counseling, and mental health counseling (marriage, family, stress, grief, loss, etc.) This service is available by phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

More information is available online at the Employee Assistance Program website or by contacting ComPsych directly at 800-688-6330 or visiting and logging into CSU's services.
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