Following a tragic fire in Sunland Park Thursday morning, the El Paso Fire Department wants to remind the public how to prevent house fires, and what to do if your home does catch on fire.
The El Paso Fire Prevention Division wants to remind the public the importance of an evacuation plan.
Wyatt Schmidt, El Paso Fire Paramedic, said the first step is to make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are up to date with charged batteries.
If you don’t have a smoke detector, Schmidt says El Paso Fire offers free detectors to the public.
Next, Schmidt says its important to establish an escape plan by inspecting all exits on the property, and windows and doors should be easy to open.
El Paso Fire says if there are children, infants or anyone who may have limited mobility, to make sure someone is assigned to help them evacuate the home.
“If you have any children in the home that number one they know the fire escape plan, they know the number 9-1-1 and if whether it’s young children, elderly or anyone that has special needs that someone is assigned to help them out if necessary,” Schmidt said.
Once you evacuate the residence, Schmidt says it’s important to establish a meeting place outside at a safe distance away from the fire and under no circumstances should you reenter the house on fire.
Officials say some of the biggest mistakes people make is try to fight fires rather than evacuate. Schmidt says some people may not be prepared with the proper equipment such as a fire extinguisher and the best strategy is to just evacuate as quickly and safely as possible.
If you find yourself trapped by the fire, Schmidt offers tips to help you make yourself seen by firefighters.
“If you are stuck in a room and you can’t get out, make sure you put something by the cracks of the door, keep the door closed that way we’ll look for you and it gives you an additional 15 minutes of time before the smoke or fire enters that room,” Schmidt says.
If you’re trapped in a two-story home, EPFD says you can wave a bright object from a window to make yourself visible to firefighters to be seen and rescued.