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Fairbanks Fire Department discusses having evacuation plans in case of a home fire

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 4:10 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With fire season going strong in the Interior, the Fairbanks Fire Department has advice to offer on creating a evacuation plan in the event of a home fire.

According to Moira Townsend, Deputy Fire Marshal For the City of Fairbanks Fire Department, the most important first step to home fire safety is having well placed smoke detectors. “The most important thing you can have in your house in the event of a fire is working smoke alarms. You want to have them in every bedroom and one on at least every floor of the house, and as soon as you hear the alarm go off and you are made aware that there’s a fire, it’s important to evacuate.”

Along with having a evacuation plan in place, Townsend says residents should also practice that plan a few times a year with their household to ensure everyone is up to date on what to do in the event of an emergency. “You should practice your emergency evacuation plan with your family multiple times a year during different times of the day - at nighttime, in the morning, in the afternoon - so that everyone’s familiar with it. It’s important that you know two ways out of each room, whether that’s a window or a door, and that everybody knows where the designated meeting place is outside of the house. Some people do across the street, at a mailbox, a street corner, a stop sign, just somewhere that everybody can get to and that’s a safe distance from the fire and out of the way of first responders.”

Another good idea, according to Townsend, is to have a “go bag”, which is a bag pre-packed with necessities to limit time spent evacuating the home. “It’s really important once you evacuate that you don’t go back inside the house when there’s a fire. Some things that you can put in a go bag are important documents like birth certificates, social security cards, any medications that you need, [and] clothing. In the event of a wildfire when you have to evacuate for a long period of time, you want to make sure you have clothing and enough food and water a week, supplies for your pets, and any important documents that you need. When you are evacuating if your house is on fire, it’s important to stay low to the ground because heat and smoke can rise, and then shut doors behind you.”

And in the event you aren’t able to escape, Townsend says there actions one can take. “Sometimes you might not be able to escape in the event of a fire. So when that happens, it’s important that you shut the door of the room that you’re in. Then you can take towels or sheets, make them wet, and stuff them along the bottom of the door. That will keep you safe from smoke coming into the room. Then open the window and find a bright colored fabric, a pillow case, anything you can to wave outside the window so first responders will be able to see you and know that you’re there and need to be rescued.”

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