In 2007, there were an estimated 399,000 reported home structure fires and 2,865 associated civilian deaths in the United States.
Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as two minutes to escape safely once the alarm sounds. Your ability to get out depends on advance warning from smoke alarms, and advance planning - a home fire escape plan that everyone in your family is familiar with and has practiced.
- DRAW a home escape plan and discuss it with everyone in your home.
- PRACTICE the plan at night & during the day, twice a year.
- OUTSIDE safe meeting place (pole, mailbox, etc.).
- PRACTICE using different ways out.
- TEACH children how to escape on their own.
- CLOSE doors behind you as you leave.
If the Alarm Sounds
- GET OUT AND STAY OUT. Never go back inside for people or pets.
- GET LOW & GO under the smoke to your exit.
- FEEL the knob and door before opening a door.
- CALL the fire department from outside your home.
If you cannot exit your home:
In some cases, smoke or fire may prevent you from exiting your home or apartment building. To prepare for an emergency like this, practice "sealing yourself in for safety" as part of your home fire escape plan. Close all doors between you and the fire. Use duct tape or towels to seal the door cracks and cover air vents to keep smoke from coming in. If possible, open your windows at the top and bottom so fresh air can get in. Call the fire department to report your exact location. Wave a flashlight or light-colored cloth at the window to let the fire department know where you are located.
Need Smoke Alarms?
The West Reading Fire Company can help! Free smoke alarms are being made available through a program coordinated by the Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner and WFMZ-TV, 69 News called Operation Save A Life.
In order to apply to receive free detectors, please contact the West Reading Fire Company at 610-372-9621 and leave a message at ext. 100. Our priority will be to households of the elderly, low-income, or families with children. The fire company will install smoke alarms at no charge to Borough residents.