The horrific and heart-breaking Bronx fire which claimed the lives of 17 children and adults and dozens of injuries is a sadly opportune time to remind us all of fire prevention and safety practices.
These tips are from the FDNY, also known a NYC’s Bravest, who continued to rescue victims even after their own oxygen tanks were empty, alongside NYPD, also known as NYC’s Finest, and EMS units who are the best of both the Bravest and the Finest.
And thanks also to the hero nurses and doctors of the NYC hospitals fighting to save the lives of those critically injured, including by smoke inhalation.
The top fire safety tips from the FDNY are –
- have a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm in your home, and change the battery every time you change the clocks in spring and fall
- if you use portable electric space heater, be sure it is at least three feet from bedding or curtains
- plug a portable electric space heater directly into an outlet, never use a power strip or extension cord
- if there is a fire, close the door when you leave to prevent the fire and/or smoke from spreading uncontrolled through hallways
This devastating apartment building fire is believed to have started by an electric space heater, and spread through an 18-story building when the family ran out and left their apartment door open, creating a draft of killer flames and smoke.
Here is more from the FDNY Smart fire prevention program
How to Help Victims of Bronx Fire
Donate to legitimate known charities such as Red Cross
Avoid donating to unknown charities which might be scams
Beyond having smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, it’s also essential to have an escape plan in case of an emergency.
Everyone in your household should help make the plan and practice it regularly.
As part of your escape planning process, be sure to know if you live in a fire proof or non-fire proof building.
Knowing if a structure is fire proof or non-fire proof will help you determine if you should stay or go depending on the circumstances of the fire in your building. Always listen to instructions from the Fire Department in emergencies.
See our article on Grab & Go Emergency Kit –
every family should have one,
and hopefully never need to use it.
Fire safety and escape plan:
Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits. Be sure all escape routes and hallways are clear of clutter and storage. Consider drawing a floor plan of your home and mapping two ways out for each sleeping area. If you live in an apartment building with three or more units, review its fire safety plan.
- Teach everyone in your home how to unlock and open windows, doors and all security devices.
- Remind everyone to close doors behind them as they exit.
- Designate family members responsible for waking children or older adults.
- Agree on a meeting place outside your home.
- Stress the importance of calling 911 once in a safe location.
Make household drills realistic. Since most fires happen overnight, start drills in sleeping areas and darken your home as if it is smoke filled.
- Begin the drill with the sound of the smoke alarm.
- Practice escaping through smoke by crawling low on hands and knees.
- Follow your escape plan from the beginning all the way through to a your assigned meeting place outside your home.
Escape Planning Exercise
Using graph paper (download below) draw a floor plan for each level of your home. Your drawing should include all windows, doors, fire escapes and stairwells. Label all sleeping areas and draw arrows showing escape optionsDownload the FDNY escape plan tip sheet
It includes a blank graph is for drawing your home’s escape plan.
See our article on Grab and Go Emergency Kit – every family should have one, and hopefully never need to use it.