WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 08, 2013, 05:29 PM

Be prepared with a fire escape plan

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- New information about a fatal apartment fire in Fargo over the weekend.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- New information about a fatal apartment fire in Fargo over the weekend.

Investigators say smoking materials caused the fire, that killed 1-man, and seriously injured a woman. With more than 25 thousand apartment units in Fargo, it could happen to anyone. So, it might be a good idea to be prepared for the worst.

In times of emergency, being prepared is one of the best things you can do. The first, and most important thing you should do, is call 911 right away and not assume someone else already has.

It's the middle of the night, you're half asleep, and your buildings on fire. What would you do?

Sam Jacobs/Fargo: "Id probably try to get as low as I could and crawl to a safe exit."

Mathew Ellingson/Fargo: "Honestly I'd probably just freak out and try to grab as many things as I could and run outside."

Conner: "I'd run."

Fargo Fire Inspector Ryan Erickson says while it may be hard to imagine, it's best to know what you will do in a fire. The first thing you can do to protect yourself and neighbors is make sure your smoke detectors are working properly.

Ryan Erickson/Fargo Fire Dept.: "Those are what's monitoring the air for you when your sleeping, so they can wake you up and get you outside."

You should always have a fire escape plan with two escape routes. If there's smoke blocking your way, you'll have another plan to fall back on.

Ryan: "If possible don't even go through smoke to get out, if you have to go through the smoke to get outside, that's when you want to stay low and then you can crawl underneath that smoke and that way you are breathing the clean air that's down on the bottom on the ground."

If you open your door and the smoke is so heavy to where you can't crawl underneath it, you should shut the door and seal it with something like a towel. That way, smoke will stay out and buy you more time to escape.

Ryan: "An option could be just to go on the balcony and close the door behind you so you can be in clean air environment outside and then when you call 911 you can tell central dispatch that you are on your balcony."

If the only way to escape is by balcony or window, it's a good idea to have a rescue ladder. When buying one, you'll want to make sure it's the right length.

Ryan: "Is your second way out is it going to have to be a window, then you're going to want to look at how am I going to get out of that window?"

Most people don't want to leave the unit without their loved ones, but Erickson says it's best to make sure you're safe and leave the rescuing to the professionals.

Ryan: "Once you become a victim you're not going to do anyone else good either."

Every family should have a plan. The plan should be practiced during the day and night, two times a year.