Monica Colby

Monica Colby is our Fire and Life Safety Specialist, working in the Fire and Life Safety Division of the Rapid City Fire Department.

[email protected]  605-394-5233 x6108

Win a one-night hotel stay!

To celebrate National Fire Sprinkler Awareness Day May 19, 2018, the Rapid City Fire Department is giving away 2 one-night hotel stays for Sprinkler Selfies.Post a selfie of you and your fire sprinkler with “#sprinklerselfie” and comment “I’m protected at [location]” to our Facebook or Twitter post.

Friday, May 18 at 4:00 P.M. we will randomly select two Sprinkler Selfies for a stay at Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort in Deadwood or Fairfield Inn & Suites in Rapid City. 

You may post multiple selfies as long as the person and location combination are unique for each photo. For example, if you have fire sprinkles at your work, at your two children’s school, and at home, you could submit up to six entries: 1 of you and your work fire sprinkler, 1 of each of your children in their classrooms, and one of you at home, one of the older child at home, and one of the younger child at home. You would need to post each of the six photos on your page with #sprinklerselfie and reply to our Facebook or Twitter post 6 separate times with I’m protected at work, I’m protected at school, I’m protected at school, I’m protected at home, I’m protected at home, and I’m protected at home.

Learn more about Home Fire Sprinklers and how they will save your life.

FLSE Family Toast

 

A big thank you goes out to LIV Hospitality for the one-night stay Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort and the one-night stay at Fairfield Inn & Suites gift certificates!

Gift certificates must be used before March 31, 2019 and there are some blackout dates. 

April 19, 2017 - 12:01 pm

Before Your Family Is Toast

Install home sprinklers before your family is toast

Fire Is Faster than a Speeding Firefighter

From the time you call 911 until the first firefighters are leaving their station, three minutes have passed. In most home fires, the hallways are blocked by deadly smoke and poisons in one or two minutes after a fire has started. Everything in the room where the fire started can be on fire in less than three minutes.

 

 

Home Fire Sprinklers Are Faster than a Speeding Fire

Home fire sprinklers are the single most effective way to protect everyone in your home. One sprinkler will control most fires in the first minute, giving everyone more time to escape or keeping them safe from fire and heat until firefighters arrive.

Did you know? Rapid City allows DIY installation of home fire sprinklers? email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at 605-394-5233 and ask how to get materials and designs.

Did you know? There are several fire sprinkler companies in town that will install fire sprinklers in your existing home. 

Rapid City has declared May 19 - 25, 2019 Home Fire Sprinkler Week and asks residents to install fire sprinklers in their homes. Learn more about Home Fire Sprinklers here.

Fire sprinklers are like having a firefighter in your home. 

 

 

Learn more about the speed of fire here.

Home Fire Sprinklers can be installed in any home, including existing homes, mobile homes, and historical homes. Contact a residential fire sprinkler installer today to discuss your needs. In Rapid City, you can install the system yourself with a free permit and professional plans. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 605-394-5233 to learn more.

Learn more about installing home fire sprinklers at Home Fire Sprinkler Guide

Learn more about Home Fire Sprinklers here.

 

September 16, 2016 - 11:02 am

School Safety Lessons

The Rapid City Fire Department teaches age-appropriate safety lessons in each elementary class. Below are disucssion ideas and videos to enhance our lessons. Learn more about fire safety here.

Preschool

We learned:

  • Some things are hot, some things are sometimes hot, and some things are cold. 
  • Ask an adult before touching things that are sometimes hot, like bath water or food.
  • Tell an adult if you find something that is hot and dangerous, like a lighter or matches.
  • Adults should keep fire tools out of reach and out of sight, preferably in a cabinet with a child lock. 

For more, check out videos about things that are hot, cold, and sometimes hot as well as story apps and games at http://sparkyschoolhouse.org/#music-section

Parent Letter

 

Kindergarten

We learned:

  • Different alarms make different sounds but most home smoke alarm go beep, beep, beep, pause, beep, beep, beep, pause. What sound does your smoke alarm make?
  • When the alarm sounds: 1) Get up and walk, don't run, but you should walk briskly, 2) remember to know two ways out of every room, 3) get yourself outside quickly, and 4) go to your Outside Meeting Place with your family.
  • A good Outside Meeting Place is one place that everyone can find in an emergency. It is best in front of your house, a little away from the house but doesn't need to be further than the sidewalk. A mailbox, tree, sidewalk, driveway, or sign can all be good meeting places.

We watched:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OVHhkqpZf8

Parent Letter

For more, check out videos, story apps, and games at: http://sparkyschoolhouse.org/#music-section and a fire escape social story at http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/safety-in-the-home/escape-planning/i-know-my-fire-safety-plan-story

 

First Grade

We learned:

  • Seatbelts should fit across our shoulder, chest, and hips the entire ride. Our knees should bend over the end of the seat.
  • We can use a booster seat to make the seatbelt fit right. We need a booster seat until we are 4' 9" or the belt fits right the entire ride.
  • We need to be alert when we are walking in a parking lot, sidewalk, or on the side of the road.

We watched:  "Walk This Way": Pedestrian Safety for Young Children at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t2oX6zQEyU 

For more, check out: Safe Kids USA Ultimate Car Seat Guide at https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/ 

 

Second Grade

We learned:

  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, roller blades or on similar wheels. 
  • Ride with an adult or older sibling when possible and ride on the side of the street.
  • Check for cars and people before crossing an intersection, alley, driveway, or road. 

We watched https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkoVxBnnGko

For more, check out: Johns Hopkins video comparing helmet to phone cases https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8qp8KZbqrM and Safe Kids USA bicycle safety at https://www.safekids.org/safetytips/field_risks/bike?gclid=Cj0KCQjwl9zdBRDgARIsAL5Nyn2kDHIS9RYpmXlJxgsV1jkCvACQApthBxTfWROMAkD70A-fIHcpq5EaAhqaEALw_wcB

 

Third Grade

We learned:

  • Fire is very fast. It is deadly in only two minutes and the entire room can be on fire in three to four minutes. It can take three minutes for fire fighters to leave the fire station from the time the 9-1-1 call begins.
  • When the alarm sounds, get up and get outside right away, and wait at our Outside Meeting Place. If you cannot get out immediately, wait in a room with the door shut. Use a window to escape if it is safe. If you decide to wait in a room, keep the door closed at all times. 
  • A good Outside Meeting Place is one place that everyone can find in an emergency. It is best in front of your house, a little away from the house but doesn't need to be further than the sidewalk. A mailbox, tree, sidewalk, driveway, or sign can all be good meeting places.
  • Fire sprinklers, interconnected smoke alarms, and a plan to escape can help when there is a fire.

We watched:House fire story on KDKA at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-cQKlT1SlI (we skip the introduction) and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RumCPC4rSw

Parent Letter

For more, check out: NFPA escape planning at http://www.nfpa.org/escapeplan

 

Fourth Grade & Fifth Grade (2018)

We learned:

  • Wildland fire can be very fast.
  • Youth age ten and older can be held legally responsible for starting a fire, even if they didn't mean to damage property or endanger lives.
  • Youth can prevent the majority of grass fires in Rapid City by helping friends to not start grass fires. 

We watched: *Turn OFF sound* https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7nprYdLM9E

Parent Letter

For more, check out: NFPA Wildfire videos for Middlle School at http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/campaigns/takeaction/wildfire-virtual-field-trips

 

Fifth Grade (2019)

We learned:

  • Fire sprinklers protect us from fire and give us more time to escape.
  • Alarms make different sounds to warn us of a fire, a carbon monoxide leak, low battery power, and when the alarm needs to be replaced.
  • How fire sprinklers and smoke alarms work and how to keep them working.

We watched: Fire sprinklers and speed of fire at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNfQFL96H9c, Fire sprinkler animation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMNv7EOcFg4

Parent Letter

For more, check out: Chicago Fire of 1871 at http://sparkyschoolhouse.org/#music-section, NFPA on home smoke alarms at http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/smoke-alarms/safety-messages-about-smoke-alarms, and Home Fire Sprinklers at http://homefiresprinkler.org/.

Sprinkler Smarts games and videos http://www.sprinklersmarts.org/grade_6-8/

People with Special Needs

We learned:

  • Fire is fast. When the alarm sounds, get up and get outside right away, and wait at our Outside Meeting Place. If you cannot get out immediately, wait in a room with the door closed. Use a window to escape if it is safe.
  • A good Outside Meeting Place is one place that everyone can find in an emergency and wait for help.
  • Fire sprinklers protect us from fire and give us more time to escape. They are important to protect people who cannot quickly escape alone.
  • Different alarms make different sounds to warn us of a fire; some even talk. If the sound of an alarm will not warn of us a fire, there are alarms with flahing lights when we are awake and alarms that vibrate the bed when we are alseep.
  • If there is fire in a pan on the stove, slide a lid or cookie sheet over the top and turn off the heat.
  • A fire extinguisher can put out small fires. Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side (PASS).

We watched: Fire sprinklers and speed of fire at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNfQFL96H9c and a cooking fire story on WMAR at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0RgdYkc_Po

For more, check out: NFPA fire safety for people with disabilities: http://www.nfpa.org/public-education/by-topic/people-at-risk/people-with-disabilities

 

College and Other Adults

We learned:

  • Fire is fast. When the alarm sounds, get up and get outside right away, and wait at our Outside Meeting Place. If you cannot get out immediately, wait in a room with the door closed. Use a window to escape if it is safe.
  • A good Outside Meeting Place is one place that everyone can find in an emergency and wait for help.
  • Fire sprinklers protect us from fire and give us more time to escape. They are important to protect people who cannot quickly escape alone.
  • Different alarms make different sounds to warn us of a fire; some even talk. If the sound of an alarm will not warn of us a fire, there are alarms with flahing lights when we are awake and alarms that vibrate the bed when we are alseep.
  • If there is fire in a pan on the stove, slide a lid or cookie sheet over the top and turn off the heat.
  • A fire extinguisher can put out small fires. Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the fire, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side (PASS).

We watched: Speed of fire and sprinklers at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNfQFL96H9c, Fire sprinkler animation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMNv7EOcFg4, Fire Extinguishers on ABC News at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw4uIiXUCY4, Cooking fire story on WMAR at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0RgdYkc_Po

For more, check out: NFPA safety information http://www.nfpa.org/public-education and select topic of interest.

 

Check out our workplace and other lessons here

August 04, 2016 - 12:56 pm

Prepare - Youth-set Fires

Part of preparation is knowing who may be a potential youth firesetter.

Because there are so many different variables, trying to describe one specific ‘who’ is impossible. These variables include age, motivation, the type and number of previous fires set, the ignition material used to set the fire, and if he set the fire alone or as part of a group. What is known is that the impact of youth firesetting is significant to everyone -- the youth, her family, and the entire community.

There are two generally used types of classifications when evaluating a youth firesetter: WHY the fire was set and how much RISK there is of more and larger fires being set by that youth.

WHY:

  • Curiosity (fire interest or experimental):  The compulsive firesetters. Statistics show these are the most common type of youth firesetters. They are generally between the ages of 3 and 10, so they often do not understand the consequences of fire-play. Interventions may include fire-safety education, evaluation for ADHD, and parent training.

  • Cry-for-help (troubled or crisis):  Consciously or subconsciously they use fire to draw attention to a stress in their lives and can be any age. Common problems underlying this type of firesetting are depression, ADHD, or family stress. Interventions may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, treatment for depression, medication consultation, and family therapy.

  • Delinquent (criminal):  They youth often shows little empathy for others but also tends to avoid harming others. Typically 11-15 years old, they may cause significant property damage, and often show other common aggression and conduct problems. Interventions may include behavior management, empathy training, relaxation techniques, and treatment for depression.

  • Severely Disturbed (psychologically or emotionally disturbed):   They have a fixation on fire, including youth who may want to harm or kill themselves. Interventions may include intensive inpatient or outpatient cognitive-behavioral therapy and social skills training.

  • Cognitively Impaired:  Developmentally disabled or impaired youth who tend to lack good judgment but do not do intentional harm; however, significant property damage is common. Interventions may include special education, intensive fire education, and behavior management.

  • Sociocultural:  Set fires primarily for support from peers or community groups, such as those fires set during riots or in religious fervor. Interventions may include fire-safety education, traditional psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and family therapy.

RISK:    

  • Some Risk: Fires set by these youth are often their first, are totally unintentional, and happen because the youth are curious and enjoy experimentation. Both the adults and youth in the family may not have a good awareness of what could happen, and there is often easy access to ignition tools and minor lapses in supervision.  

  • Definite Risk:  For the youth, firesetting is recurrent, purposeful, and intentional, although resulting damage may or may not be intentional. Often the number and riskiness of the fires increases; the firesetter begins using accelerants, or endangers people. The youth may have poor social skills, poor peer relationships, or neurological limitations. Quite often the firesetting behavior can be related to a family, school, or personal stress/crisis. A lack of supervision and a lack of family understanding of the danger of fire are common.

  • Extreme Risk: Not only is the firesetting recurrent, purposeful, and intentional, but other behaviors of the youth may also seem extreme. Often fires are set with criminal implications. During the incident (or as its purpose) one or more items burned may be symbolic, and injury potential and property loss is high. Because of many issues, ongoing stress/crisis may overwhelm the family; complex solutions are needed for both the child and the family.

KEY TO REMEMBER IS THAT FIRE INTEREST, MOTIVATION, AND LEVEL OF INVOLVEMENT MAY VARY. NO MATTER WHAT, THOUGH, ALL BIG FIRES START SMALL!

A single, unintentional spark can become a devastating fire.

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August 04, 2016 - 12:51 pm

Prevent - Youth-set Fires

Being aware of risk factors of potential youth firesetters and mitigating possible opportunities can help prevent fires being set.

Parents or guardians, teachers, and even friends are on the front line of recognizing current or potential youth firesetters and prevent opportunities for a youth to set a fire.

The following are signs and characteristics common to youth firesetters. Having one or two characteristics does not automatically mean a youth is going to set a fire or has been setting fires. However, numerous studies have found that they are characteristics frequently shared by youth firesetters.

Known risk factors for potential firesetters include:

  • Sudden learning or behavioral problems in class or at home

  • Extreme mood swings and emotional outbursts

  • Evidence of cigarette, drug, or alcohol use

  • Hyperactive and impulsive behavior, have learning disabilities, thrill-seeking, have difficulty communicating verbally, socially awkward and isolated

  • Regular/constant sad, depressed, hostile, or even aggressive or violent behavior

  • Symptoms of having been or being physically, mentally, or sexually abused

  • Close friendships with known firesetters

Signs that a youth has already been setting fires include:

  • Burn or scorch marks around the home

  • Has or has hidden a lighter or matches

  • Burns, particularly to fingers or hair

  • A high interest in or curiosity of fire

  • Spending time with friends who start fires 

  • Fires in grass or trash around the home and neighborhood

Adults have a responsibility to help keep firesetting opportunities from occurring. Some of the ways to do this are:

  • Keep all fire-setting materials out of reach and sight, preferably in a cabinet  with a child-proof lock

  • Understand and teach how fast fire can spread and become dangerous

  • Have your children help check the smoke alarms

  • Supervise all children well enough to know there isn’t a problem

  • Plan and practice a fire drills at home, including how to contact 911 (DO NOT actually contact 911 unless there actually is an emergency)

  • Do not believe the myths that a child can control a small fire, or that it is normal for children to play with fire and they will outgrow it, or that punishing a child for setting a small fire will stop him from doing it again

  • Have a Fire and Life Safety person talk to your child if you notice several of the risk factors or clues, even if you think no fire has been set

If you want more detailed information, the Rapid City Fire Department Fire and Life Safety Division (FLSD) is happy to present to your group about how to prevent firesetting in the community, signs of possible firesetting, and what to do if you believe a youth is setting fires. We can tailor our presentation to the audience from a 20-minute classroom presentation to a Parent-Teacher Organization meeting to youth ministry training.

Please contact Monica Colby for more information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 605-858-0459.

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August 04, 2016 - 12:43 pm

Protect - Youth-set fires

The Rapid City Fire and Life Safety Division (FLSD) offers a free, education-based intervention for youth ages 3-17 and their parents or guardians.

The Youth Firesetter Prevention and Intervention (YFPI) Program is a nationally recognized process used for helping youth firesetters. It is particularly important for youth who have started a fire or been involved in a fire incident, but any child who is considered ‘at risk’ of starting fires will benefit. In fact, the best results can happen when a youth is seen the first time that his parent, guardian, or teacher has concerns about the youth possibly setting a fire.

The program uses a nationally recognized process with certified Youth Firesetter Specialists to gather pertinent information, evaluate the child and the situation, and educate and/or refer the youth to other professionals in youth services. The process includes:

  • Use of a consistent form to gather initial information from the youth and his or her parents or caregivers;

  • Separate interviews of the youth and the parents/guardians (60-90 minutes total) that are used to gather details on the youth and the family, including information on sudden stresses in the family, if the youth has had a history of setting fires, and how the youth is doing in school;

  • Evaluation of the results and discussion of what interventions are best for the youth;

  • Appropriate interventions that could include fire-behavior education, self-evaluation and accountability exercises, home safety education with assignments that take around 30 minutes in class plus follow-up at home, or they may need further evaluation by a mental health professional;

  • Follow-up visits with the youth and at least one guardian/parent to review assigned home tasks (15 minutes) and, if appropriate, complete further education (30 – 45 minutes). The majority of the interventions require these two meetings, though some situation may need additional in-person visits;

  • A 30-day No Fire Play contact between the youth and the interventionist, which helps put the youth in a position to earn back the trust of adults, to be a leader, and to complete positive actions for the family and community.

General information on the case is reported to a national database including age, gender, and our fire department. It does not include the youth’s name or address. We ask permission, in writing, at the beginning of the intervention to discuss the youth’s progress with involved organizations, such as those that required attendance or will conduct recommended interventions.

To schedule an intervention contact Monica Colby at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 605-394-5233.

Return to overview of youth-set fires

Visit Prepare - Youth-set Fires

Visit Prevent - Youth-set Fires

Return to Fire is Everyone's Fight over of Community Fire Risk Reduction

 

August 02, 2016 - 2:40 pm

Kids who set fires...

(Youth Firesetter Prevention and Intervention)

PREPARE:

Who is a Youth Firesetter? A ‘Youth Firesetter’ is a young person from ages 3 to 18, who has used some sort of fire-starting tool, regardless if a fire is actually started. Two primary means of classification – WHY and RISK – are used to determine whether a youth is or potentially may become a firesetter.

Click on the picture to learn more.

 

PREVENT:

Parent, teachers, fire fighters and friends can all help by knowing the characteristics and risk factors of potential and active firesetters. A youth showing several of the characteristics and/or risk factors is a cause for concern, especially if they are a radical or unexpected change from the normal behavior of that youth.

By spreading the knowledge and skills to help prevent youth firesetting, the RCFD gives educational presentations on fire uses and dangers to parents, adults in social service agencies, and children in schools.

Click on the picture to learn more.

 

PROTECT:

Rapid City Fire Department (RCFD) Fire and Life Safety Division (FLSD)uses a process based on national standards to identify, interview, educate, and find resources to help the youth and her family, including individually tailored education. Through this program, the entire community is being assisted, as well as those immediately impacted by a youth-set fire and the firesetter herself; the focus is to stop the youth from setting  fires and be a productive member of the community.

To schedule an intervention or get more information, contact the Fire and Life Safety Division at (605)394-5233 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Click on the picture to learn more.

 

Join us in protecting our children from fire because:FIEF horiz color

 

Visit Prepare - Youth-set Fires

Visit Prevent - Youth-set Fires

Visit Protect - Youth-set Fires

Return to Fire is Everyone's Fight, information on Community Fire Risk Reduction

August 02, 2016 - 1:49 pm

Teaching Fire Safety to Others

Volunteer – Volunteer to teach with the fire department as we visit classrooms, businesses, and community groups.

Children – Find fire safety lessons and resources for classrooms, homeschool, daycare, and preschool.

Businesses – Find fire safety lessons for your business safety class including evacuation and fire extinguisher use.

Fire Corps logo

Volunteer
We need volunteers to help us reach more people. We provide training. We need people to teach classes; update presentation materials including video, graphics, and Prezi; manage projects; write grants; and post on Facebook and other social media. Our volunteers are under the National Fire Corps umbrella. If interested, please contact Monica Colby at 605-394-5233 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Children & Youth
We recommend the lesson plans, videos, stories, apps, and games at http://sparkyschoolhouse.org/. Most of the lessons we use in schools can be found there plus much, much more. A fun and educational website for younger children is http://www.sparky.org/.

From September to December we offer fire safety and injury prevention classes to every elementary class, public and private, in Rapid City and the Rapid City Area School District. Learn more here

Workplace
We can teach a class at your businesses, hold a webinar for your employees, or you may prefer to use the online resources recommended below.

Our basic workplace presentation is embedded below.

You can also view the Prezi at http://prezi.com/07k7pfrmibsu/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share.

Fire Extinguisher 2 minute overview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BLjoWjCrDqg 

Fire Extinguisher news report: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw4uIiXUCY4

This YouTube video made by Austin Community College covers many evacuation concerns: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqwPyPlCOQkYour place of business may have different needs and evacuation capabilities. For example, few buildings have areas of refuge in Rapid City but some have elevators that are used for evacuation during fires.


Contact Monica Colby with questions or to schedule a presentation, 605-394-5233, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

August 02, 2016 - 1:32 pm

Prevent Cooking Fires

FLSD Cooking page Cooking infographic

Cooking is the leading cause of fire in Rapid City. The good news is it is easy to prevent and keep from spreading.

Keep an Eye on What You Fry

Unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you must leave, even for a second, turn off the stove.

Select a stove with temperature limiting control technology burners such as induction technology or SmartBurner ™. These keep a fire from starting on your stove. Learn more here. You can also install knobs that use timers and/or motion sensors to prevent many fires. Learn more here.

If a fire starts, leave your home and call 911. If you have fire sprinklers, they will put out the fire.

If you do not have fire sprinklers, the fire is small, and everyone is escaping, then put on an oven mitt and slide a lid or cookie sheet over the pan, and turn off the heat. A fire extinguisher may work. Do not move the pan or the lid until the pan is cool enough to touch with your bare hand. 

August 02, 2016 - 1:17 pm

Home Fire Drills

It is important that everyone know two ways out of the house. It is more important to have a plan on how you can help everyone be safe. Until about age ten, children will often need help during such a scary and stressful event as a fire. Plans need to be made to protect those who may not wake to the alarm or who cannot get out on their own.


pdf Download a family home escape plan here. (876 KB)

Learn more, including what to do if you live in a dorm or tall building.


1. When you hear the sound of the alarm, stop what you are doing and walk outside,
2. Know two ways out of every room,
3. Get outside quickly, and
4. Wait at your Outside Meeting Place.

A good meeting place is in front of the home, a little distance from the building. Sidewalks, trees, and mailboxes are common Outside Meeting Places. Have only ONE Outside Meeting Place that everyone can find. If you exit far from the meeting place, walk until you reach the meeting place.

If you are unable to get outside, stay away from the smoke and heat. Find a place with as many closed doors and walls between you and the fire. Once you have found a room without smoke or heat, close the door and always keep it closed. Call 9-1-1 if you can. Signal from a closed window if you can. Fire fighters will search the inside of every room when they arrive and move you to safety.

Fire is so fast we no longer teach the steps of staying low under the smoke or feeling the door. They are still good things to do but they don't work every time. A warm door indicates danger but opening a cool door can result death as the fire pulls oxygen out and pushes poisons in. The heat of the smoke forces most people to the floor. Near flashover, the flooring produces poisons. The process of feeling the door can make learning how to escape complicated. It is better to focus on preventing fires; install fire sprinklers; have interconnected, working smoke alarms; be able to make a quick escape; have a meeting place; and know how to create a safe place inside to wait for help.

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