Firefighter offers tips on escaping a house fire - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Firefighter offers tips on escaping a house fire

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CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Furnace season is here and experts say heating and electrical issues are the second leading cause of house fires. Firefighter Matt Wozniak offered tips on how to get out alive if your home does catch fire.

Most house fires happen in the dark of night and the thick smoke inside can make it impossible to see, even with a flashlight.

"A lot of fatalities that are found, they are found right behind the door, or within several feet of the door, because they almost got out," said Wozniak. 

Carbondale Firefighter Matt Wozniak recently helped organize a Fire Ops 101 program, giving News 3's Roni LeForge the opportunity to gear up and see what it's like inside a burning building. The firefighter that followed her in, explained the importance of staying low, by having her remove her glove to feel the difference in temperature. The temperature just two feet off the ground was 125 degrees, but at eye level, the temperature was in excess of 450 degrees. 

Wozniak explained standing up in the heat and smoke can turn deadly in a second. 

"There are plastics burning, there are synthetics burning. It's not just campfire smoke. It's toxic smoke that you're going to get one breath of air and you're going to fall over," said Wozniak. 

Wozniak says that's another example of why you should keep the door closed while you sleep. He adds every family needs to prepare and practice a fire safety plan.

"If you don't have one, get one right now. I mean, you should have done it yesterday," said Wozniak. 

He says families need to know the nearest exits, know how to escape from a window and decide on a meeting spot away from the fire. Wozniak says if you didn't change the batteries in your smoke detector when daylight saving time ended, you should immediately.

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