Helpful Tips For Keeping Your Family Safe In The Event Of Fire

By Jeff Neumeyer

January 7, 2011 Updated Jan 7, 2011 at 7:34 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, IN (Indiana's NewsCenter) --- A recent fatal fire in Fort Wayne points out the importance of families doing what they can to prepare for the nightmare of being trapped in a burning home.

16-year old Spencer Tomasi rescued his 10-year old sister Zoe from their Wells Street home that caught fire on New Year’s Eve.

But the boy was unable to pull his mother Kelly Tomasi out of the home, because the intense heat drove him back.

Kelly Tomasi died in the incident.

As Jeff Neumeyer reports, there is advice you can follow to minimize dangers.

Jeff Neumeyer: " The best way to avoid tragedy in a fire, obviously, is to get out before things get out of control.

One of the keys involves maintaining working smoke detectors, to give residents plenty of warning that something has gone wrong.

Fire officials say you really need one in every single room, so you're always close enough to hear the alarm go off.

They also tell you in case of a blaze, get out quickly, and stay out.

But what if your house catches on fire, and it gets rolling before you become aware.

A Survive Alive house at Safety Village in south Fort Wayne is a facility that the Fort Wayne Fire Department uses to simulate flames and smoke filling up in a room, as a teaching tool for children.

Amy Biggs, an assistant chief with the fire department, says people caught in a blaze need, if possible, to get low and crawl to safety, to avoid the perils of smoke.

Assistant Chief Amy Biggs/Fort Wayne Fire Department: " If they can get down on the lowest part of the floor and then work their way towards the door. The smoke is going to continue to sink, so as they feel their way they are unable to see. They need to move steadily to the exit before the smoke can cause confusion or lead to unconsciousness."

Neumeyer: " Children often sleep more soundly than adults, and don't hear the alarm on a smoke detector.

You can actually now buy detectors where you can pre-record a message sporting the parent’s voice, which instructs kids that there's a fire, “You need to get up and get out.”

Research shows kids tend to respond best to mom's voice.

A couple of extra moments could make a world of difference.

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