What to do if you're caught in a house fire

- House fires aren’t a rare occurrence in the D.C. area—but would you know what to do if you were trapped in one?

Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Chief Ben Barksdale shared some important tips to remember in case it ever happens to you.

In the event of a fire, you’re urged to stay calm and call 911 immediately. Be sure to give specific details of your location. You should attempt to get out of the home and stay outside. If you can’t escape the home, officials urge you to close the door of the room you’re in and to breathe through a towel or piece of clothing. If there is a window in the room, you should open it and wave your arm out it so firefighters can see you.

Have what it takes to be a first responder? Test your 911 knowledge with this quiz

Barksdale said being prepared for a fire is the most important step you can take. Make sure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, primarily just outside of sleeping areas and inside every bedroom. Barksdale reminded residents that a new law in Maryland requires homeowners to use 10-year, sealed battery smoke alarms. The fire chief also recommends checking all the alarms in your home on the first day of every month.

Barksdale said sleeping with the bedroom door closed helps to prevent the rapid spread of heat and toxic smoke from entering the bedroom. If you live in a home more than one-story tall, you may consider adding window ladders in case of a fire.

Lastly, Barksdale said to make sure your family has an escape plan. Everyone in the home should know at least two ways to get out of every room and your family should establish a safe meeting place outside where you can call 911.

MORE: Here's what to do when delivering a baby during an emergency

Firefighters are called into action every day to protect and save lives during a fire. FOX’s new hit show “9-1-1” brings us the exciting and fast-paced lives of police officers, paramedics and firefighters.

Angela Bassett, Peter Krause and Connie Britton lead a star-studded cast that explores the heroes who rush to save lives.

“9-1-1” airs on FOX 5 on Wednesdays at 9 p.m.

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