The Catasauqua Emergency Management Agency partners with the Catasauqua Fire Department in providing assistance at fire scenes and coordination of fire prevention information.
To protect yourself, it is important to understand the basic characteristics of fire. Fire spreads quickly; there is no time to gather valuables or make a phone call. In just two minutes, a fire can become life- threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.
Heat and smoke from fire can be more dangerous than the flames. Inhaling the super-hot air can sear your lungs. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Instead of being awakened by a fire, you may fall into a deeper sleep. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio.
In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly.
Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan. Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:
Find two ways to get out of each room.
If the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke, you will need a second way out. A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.
Only purchase collapsible ladders evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.
Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
Windows and doors with security bars must have quick release devices to allow them to be opened immediately in an emergency. Make sure everyone in the family understands and practices how to properly operate and open locked or barred doors and windows.
Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
One of the best defenses against fire is a properly installed and working smoke detector in your home.
- A properly installed and maintained smoke alarm is the only thing in your home that can alert you and your family to a fire 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.
- Install both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors
- Test batteries monthly.
- Replace batteries in battery-powered and hard-wired smoke alarms at least once a year (except non- replaceable 10-year lithium batteries)
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. The Catasauqua Fire Department recommends installing smoke alarms both inside and outside of sleeping areas.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for installing smoke alarms.
- Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 8-10 years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking – it can be a deadly mistake. Open a window or door and press the hush button, wave a towel at the alarm to clear the air, or move the entire alarm several feet away from the location.
If you have a fire in your home or are not sure, always dial 911.
Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
When the smoke alarm sounds, get out fast. You may have only seconds to escape safely.
If there is smoke blocking your door or first way out, use your second way out.
Smoke is toxic. If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your way out.
Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
If there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out. If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.
If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with a cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Stay where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for 3 to 5 minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.
Once you escape a building in which there is a fire, stay out. Immediately dial 911 from a safe location. Direct incoming fire units to anyone who may still be inside or unaccounted for.