EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — If your home caught fire, would you know what to do?
Jessi Pereira shared harrowing footage of her family bolting out the door and into the front yard as their Attleboro home went up in flames earlier this week.
East Providence Fire Lieutenant Thomas Salisbury said escaping immediately is exactly what you’re supposed to do.
“You can see when they left the house, they left with what they were wearing,” Salisbury said. “The family had already gone to bed for the night.”
“They go themselves out of the situation, which is what we want them to do,” he added.
In the footage, fire alarms can be heard blaring from the home as the family escapes. Salisbury said it should serve as a reminder to everyone to ensure their smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
“There is a campaign that says ‘Smoke Detectors Saves Lives.’ They do,” Salisbury said. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it over 26 years here. They do work.”
Salisbury said it’s important to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year, and if you don’t have them, to make the potentially life-saving investment.
He also recommended each household or family create an evacuation plan in case of an emergency.
“Get out of the house and have a place to gather,” he said. “It could be the front lawn, it could be the end of the driveway or a telephone pole. Somewhere the whole family knows – that is where to come together.”
He said having a designated meeting place is important because it helps residents determine whether everyone escaped safely or if anyone is missing.
Salisbury encourages families with young children to conduct fire drills to further enforce the evacuation plan.
“Have a drill that way they know what the alarm sounds like. That way when it sounds in a real situation, the children know they are going to want to get out,” he explained. “Doing a drill gives them the confidence they can escape in a real situation.”
Salisbury provided a list of best practices to follow while conducting a fire drill at home:
- Hit the button on the fire alarm and announce the fire drill.
- Teach them when you hear the alarm, you need to get out of the house.
- Always stay low to the floor, since heat and smoke rises.
- Make note of what doors to exit out of in the event of a fire. If those doors are blocked because of fire, designate a window to go to. If on a second floor that they will need to signal to someone for help.
- Once you are out of the house, designate a meet-up place.
Basic practice will go a long way according to Salisbury.
“The more you do it, the better you get at it,” he said. “If you have never done it when the real situation occurs there is going to be confusion and panic.”