House Fire Survival Tips (What You Need to Know)

Fire is one of those things you hope you’ll never have to deal with in your lifetime. 

Still, isn’t it much better to know what to do if you ever find yourself in such an unfortunate situation? That’s why we made this article on house fire survival tips.

Knowing exactly what to do in case of a fire is one of those life skills that will prove life-saving for you and others around you. 

This article looks at how you can survive a fire, whether in your home or the wilderness.

Let’s dive right in.

how fast can a fire spread house on fire wilderness fire wildfire

Fires are known to spread fast due largely to the oxygen that feeds them. This oxygen is given off by all combustible materials, as well as anything that’s pumping out heat. 

Thus, you should take steps to stop the spread of any fire immediately.

1. Evacuate

It’s crucial to know that fires can spread very quickly, and if you don’t take action immediately, it will be too late. If you see smoke billowing from a building or a house, evacuate immediately. 

By doing so, you will avoid many different types of health problems, including breathing in smoke and carbon monoxide poisoning, for example. 

In addition to this, the number one cause of fire deaths is being burnt by smoke inhalation resulting from not evacuating in time.

1a. What if You're on Fire

Fire on your clothing is always a concern, but it is also very avoidable. 

The first way to avoid getting burned is by not wearing anything with a loose weave (wool, cotton, or nylon). This will help prevent the heat from escaping and making your garment react more quickly. 

The fabric weave should be tight enough to retain heat, but not so tight that it blocks any airflow through the garment. Next, make sure you don’t wear anything made of an extreme material such as flammable silk or polyester, unless you are in a fire-safe area.

If you happen to get on fire, make sure that you stop, drop, and roll or dive to the ground. If there is any possibility of spreading the fire, you should try to smother it with a pillow or blanket. 

If you cannot do so, then make sure that your clothing is wet to help stop the spread of fire. If you cannot put out the flame yourself, try yelling for help, and if no one responds, then jump into a body of water.

2. Extinguish

If the fire is manageable, you should take steps to extinguish a fire as soon as possible. Preferably, you should do it with the right fire extinguisher, otherwise it might become further aggravated.

Note that contrary to popular belief, not all fires should be simply put out with water. 

Grease fires, for example, will become larger all the more if water is poured on it. Instead, check that you’re using a Class B fire extinguisher to put it out.

In case of smaller grease fires, however, pouring baking soda on it should do the trick. Don’t immediately resort to using the fire extinguisher unless absolutely necessary, because it will contaminate the entire kitchen.

In other cases of fire, water should be fine, but also keep in mind that doing so also creates potential water damage. The added weight and pressure from the water could also further lead to structural weakening or collapse.

In such instances, and where possible, sand or dirt may be used instead to put out the fire.

Learn more about the best fire extinguisher and essential tips.

3. Call 911

calling 911 to prevent and douse house fire

If the fire gets beyond your control, and you and other people’s safety are certainly compromised, call 911 immediately. However, in this case, you still should try finding a way out, or at the very least, a safe space for you. 

In case you did get out of the building before the fire worsened, you should also call for help immediately so that those left inside can be rescued safely. 

Do not attempt to go back inside by yourself, or else you might end up getting yourself in trouble, and for the responders too.

How Quickly a Fire Spreads

How quickly can fires spread, exactly? According to Fire Research Laboratory findings, it only takes .25 seconds for the flames from a candle to spread one foot. 

In contrast to this, it takes 30 minutes for a flammable liquid to catch on fire. That’s why fires are capable of spreading very quickly regardless of characteristics and size.

If you’re caught in a fire breakout, get out of there as soon as you can. That’s why you should know for yourself where the fire exits are. 

How do I avoid fires from spreading?

In addition to knowing how to handle a raging fire, it’s essential to know some steps that can be taken to prevent it from spreading. 

Have a Fire Safety Plan

By having a plan in place, you can easily prepare for the worst when it comes to fires. Your children, or even your pets, would know how to get to safety at the soonest possible instance, away from harm. 

If you work different shifts or have someone at home alone at night, they should have an escape plan. 

This could include checking in with the neighbors regarding the situation on the ground, or simply making sure that everyone is aware of the quickest ways to the fire exit in case a fire were to start.

You should also practice this escape plan with everyone who lives in your house and check for any potential issues.

Have a Fire Extinguisher Ready

Fires can cause serious problems in homes, in addition to buildings or large public spaces. In the event of a fire, you should make sure that you have a fire extinguisher on standby. 

These are available at most hardware stores or all-purpose stores, and they’re fairly inexpensive. 

If you lose the power before you exit, fire extinguishers can create enough heat and pressure to put out fires safely before they can spread too far. 

In our Best Fire Extinguisher for Home Use article, we go over the absolute best fire extinguisher you should have in your home to quickly stop a fire.

Keep Fire Exits Available

Make sure that the path to your designated fire exits are clear of obstructions at all times. This should make your exit much faster and easier, even when the power is out, or in case you’re overwhelmed by the smoke.

If the fire forces you to move away from the direction of your planned escape route, always look for the stairs and make your way out from there. 

Do not take elevators, because the heat could melt cables or cause them to break and create a risk of falling. And most especially, do not jump out the windows.

Doing so may result in injury since most windows are around 4 feet above the ground. By using stairs instead, you can avoid getting injured and still have time to get out safely.

By the way, if you want to learn how to build a fire, click here.

Shut Off Power


Ideally, you should be able to turn shut off the power in the building to avoid  live electricity to cause sparks, and thus worsen the spread of the fire. 

This requires swift action, however, which is why you should know beforehand how to do it. Therefore, this information should be included in your evacuation plan.

Everyone at home, or in your office building, should at least have an idea of where the main power is, and how to shut it down if it ever becomes necessary. 

Look Out for Roof Fires

second story roof fire safety prevention wildfire house fire

If you have a second-story terrace or deck area in your home or apartment with an attic space above it, then you should make sure that there are no fires on the roof of your house or building. 

If you see smoke coming from any of those areas, then you should quickly call 911 and use an extinguisher on the fire. By doing this, you can prevent it from spreading to the rest of the property.

Remember that even though most fires can be put out within minutes with proper handling and prevention, it should still be considered a serious threat to everyone’s safety.

Keep in mind, as mentioned earlier, that fire can spread in a mere matter of seconds, literally. Therefore, every second definitely counts!

However, the  most important thing is that you know how to react in those crucial moments. Your response to the situation makes all the difference in being able to put out a fire with basic emergency measures as opposed to requiring serious help. 

Tips to Prepare

Where to Place Fire Alarms

Fire alarms should be installed in key locations throughout your house such as near bedrooms and exits. 

These are the areas that you will most likely have to stop a fire and get out as quickly as possible. You should also have smoke alarms on every level of your home, your kitchen, and every bedroom.

Prevent Children and Pets from Getting Hurt from A Fire

Some children often do not understand the risks of a fire or the real danger they put themselves into by playing with small fires or matches. Teach them early how to avoid dangerous areas and how to never play with matches.

As for your pets, it’s important to pick up your pets quickly and get them out of the house as quickly as possible. Most pets will know how to crawl under furniture or furniture that reaches chest-level high, which could help them avoid the smoke.

It would help if you got proper identification tags for your pet in case they break loose from your grasps, and they run out into the neighborhood.

Both children and pets can be trained on proper safety and evacuation procedures in case of fire. The sooner you make them undergo this training, the better their chances will be of staying safe and unharmed in case of a fire.

First Things to Do In the Case of a Fire

If your home catches on fire, it’s important to get yourself and your family members together before heading to an exit that is properly marked, or extinguish it immediately, while still possible. 

If you have pets, it is best to let them out or find them a safe place to stay. If there is an exit on your property, then make sure that everyone makes their way there as quickly as possible. The last thing you want to do is run into traffic trying to reach an exit that could otherwise be avoided entirely.

If you cannot safely make your way outside of a burning building, it’s better not to jump out of the windows or doors that are blocked by any smoke or fire. 

Instead, move higher up in the building and find a room with no smoke or fire at all. 

If you are a high-risk occupant of the building, then your landlord should help be able to help you with the evacuation plans that will get you and your family to safety.

By the way, if you want to learn how to build a DIY storm shelter, click here.

How to Put Out a Kitchen Fire

Kitchen fires are the most common type of fire, but the methods on how to put it out is often riddled with confusion.

If you have started a grease fire, the absolute worst thing you can do is throw water on it, and the same with many other cooking products. Throwing water on a grease fire will cause the fire to become massive, as shown in the video above. 

The easiest way to stop a grease fire is to put a lid on the pan or pour heaps baking soda on it. You can also use a fire extinguisher to stop a grease fire. Most kitchen fires can be prevented with a fire extinguisher.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these home fire survival tips will help you handle a fire if it happens in your home. If you follow the above-mentioned steps, then you should be able to minimize damage when a fire starts. 

If you ever find yourself having trouble putting out an electrical fire, then use a dry chemical fire extinguisher instead of an ordinary one.

No matter what kind of fire extinguisher you have on hand, it’s important to make sure that everyone understands how to properly use them in case of emergencies. 

Knowing what each type of extinguisher does can help save lives and property from fires that occur outside of your home or building as well.

Also be sure to check out some of our other articles, if you liked this one:


2 thoughts on “House Fire Survival Tips (What You Need to Know)”

  1. The blog taught me that there are many things I can do as a parent to be prepared for fire survival. It’s simple to comprehend, helpful, and thought-provoking. This post is something that everyone should read.


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