Public Safety Message: Be Prepared, Conduct Home Fire Exit Drills

Emergency Home EvacuationBy Chief Wade Watkins

Hello Riverton! Let’s talk a little bit about fire safety. For most of you, a lot of this information won’t be new. My hope is that you’ll find some valuable information to keep your family and community safe.

Do you do practice Exit Drills in the Home (EDITH)? These drills are the most important if you have children. Draw a map and clearly label where the exits are in your house. Designate a meeting spot outside where your family will meet. The first question any firefighter asks when arriving on a house fire is, “Is everyone out of the house?”

For a firefighter, a “yes” gives us the best feeling, as our tactics become safer. If we get a “no” or “I don’t know” we take more risks, as we will risk our lives to save a life. Just a little while ago, a resident in another city told us there was someone trapped in a bedroom upstairs in a house that was on fire. There was enough fire that if everyone was out of the building, we would not have gone inside.

Thinking there was someone trapped, the firefighters went in looking for a rescue. In the end, there was no one trapped, and the house was empty, and no one was hurt which is always the best outcome. Just like anything, you must practice EDITH! Practice, practice, practice! Practice EDITH at different times of day and night.

Practice if the fire was downstairs, upstairs, in the kitchen or other areas of the home. Always using the front door during an EDITH is not totally realistic and can create bad habits. Know at least two ways out of every room, if possible.

Another fire safety tip that is relatively new is “close before you doze.” Closing bedroom doors before you sleep can reduce fire growth and even save a life. Here are some facts you should know:

  • A closed door can mean reducing 1,000 degrees down to 100 degrees.
  • A closed door can keep Carbon Monoxide levels at 1,000 PPM versus 10,000 PPM if the door is left open.
  • A closed door keeps more oxygen in the room and away from the fire.
  • 50% of house fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.
  • A closed door helps keep smoke and heat out of a bedroom.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to your local UFA Firefighters serving Riverton City. We always look forward to educating and supporting our local community.

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