PRR – Families – Household Emergencies


Household Fires

Families must always prepare for the worst. Even if you don’t think a fire would happen, take the following precautions

  1. Install inter-connected smoke alarms on every level of the home, in each bedroom, and outside each sleeping area.
  2. Test the smoke alarms every month
  3. Teach children what smoke alarms sound like
  4. Ensure each family member knows two escape routes in every room of the house
  5. Determine a safe family meeting spot outside
  6. Have working fire extinguishers in the house
  7. Have working flashlights
Household Chemicals

When working with dangerous chemicals in a household environment, one must take extreme care. The following are precautions to prevent chemical hazards:

  1. When choosing household chemicals, always choose the one that is least poisonous
  2. Always read the warning labels before using chemicals
  3. Use chemicals EXACTLY as directed on the label
  4. Avoid breathing in vapors when spraying, for instance, a pesticide or sealant
  5. Wear rubber gloves and goggles to prevent contact with your eyes and skin, ESPECIALLY when handling corrosive chemicals such as bleach.
  6. Keep all chemicals out of reach of children

While handling chemicals:

  1. DO NOT eat, drink, or smoke
  2. DO NOT mix chemicals or products unless specified
  3. DO NOT add water to a chemical. Add chemical to water
  4. DO NOT use hot water; there may be a risk of explosion
  5. DO NOT store any chemical in an unlabeled container
  6. DO wash your hands with soap and water after handling chemicals
  7. DO read the instructions before using a chemical




Household Fires & Chemicals

Open fires and lethal chemicals are present in virtually every household. Even though one might have taken all the precautions, accidents can happen. In 2016, 93 percent of the 2.2 million poison exposures reported to poison control centers occurred in a common household. When there is a household emergency like fire or chemical poisoning, one must know how to respond to minimize casualties and property damage.



  • Get the fire extinguisher. However, if your efforts prove to be in vain, leave the scene immediately
  • Raise an alarm by screaming out loud
  • Inform others in the household, especially children, of the situation
  • Call 911
  • Leave valuables behind. Things are replaceable; your life is not
  • If you catch fire: stop, drop, and roll
  • Cover your nose with a damp towel to minimize smoke going into your lungs
  • Cover as much of the face as possible for children
  • Close doors once you crawl out of a room
  • Once you are out of the house, do not try and go back in. Inform emergency responders that there are people or pets inside

Chemical poisoning if the person is concious

  • Swallowed poisons: If the product swallowed is burning, irritating, or caustic AND the person is conscious, not having convulsions, and able to swallow, drink a small amount of water or milk immediately. 
  • Poison in the eye: Rinse (irrigate) the eye immediately. Every second matters. A delay could result in loss of sight. Remove contact lenses. Use lots of room temperature water and irrigate for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Adults and older children may find it easiest to hop in the shower. Wrap young children in a towel and let water from the faucet in the kitchen sink run over the eye – or slowly pour water from a pitcher. Let the water hit the bridge of the nose and gently run into the eyes rather than pouring the water directly into the eye. Important: Irrigate for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Encourage blinking
  • Poison on the skin: Rinse the skin immediately. Remove contaminated clothing first (that’s clothing with a spill). Don’t delay. Every second matters. Use lots of room temperature running water. For large spills, adults and older children may find it easiest to hop in the shower. Use mild soap to remove material that sticks to the skin. 
  • Inhaled poison: Move to fresh air immediately. Stay away from toxic fumes and gases.
  • Call poison control for more detailed instructions 1-800-222-1222

If the individual collapses, has a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can’t be awakened, call 911





  • Fires
    • Call 911
    • Give first aid where needed: cool and cover burns to reduce chance of further injury or infection
    • Let friends and family know you’re safe
    • People and animals that are seriously injured or burned should be transported to professional medical or veterinary help immediately
    • Stay out of fire-damaged homes until local fire authorities say it is safe to re-enter
    • Once you are physically safe, take time to ensure your family’s emotional and financial well-being
    • Chemicals
      • If there is a chemical spill, clean it up immediately with rags. Make sure to let the fumes in the rags evaporate outside, and then wrap in newspaper and place in a sealed plastic bag
      • Discard clothing that may have been contaminated. Some chemicals may not wash out completely
      • Conduct another household inventory and properly dispose of any materials you do not use to prevent another emergency


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