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History   |   Fire Protection in Undeveloped Areas   |   Fuels
The Existing Home   |   Fire Safety Checkist   |   As A Last Resort


As a Last Resort

If you find, despite your best efforts, the fire is still overtaking you, the following steps could protect you from injury or death.

  1. Enter the burned area. If escape means passing through the flame front into the burned area, do so when the flames are less than three feet deep and you can see clearly through them. Do not delay. Cover exposed skin, take several breaths, and move through the flame front quickly.
  2. Burnout. If unable to enter the burned area, ignite grass and other fine fuels between you and the fire edge. Step into this burned area and cover exposed skin with clothing or dirt. This will not be effective in heavier fuels that burn for a long time.
  3. Protect against radiation. Shield yourself from heat rays by seeking a shallow trench, crevice, large rock, large pond, lake, stream, vehicle, or building. Don't shelter in elevated water tanks. Cover exposed skin.
  4. Lie prone. In an emergency, lie flat with head down on an area that will not burn. The chance of survival is greater in this position than if overtaken by fire when standing upright or kneeling.
  5. Regulate breathing. To avoid inhaling dense smoke, take shallow, slow breaths close to the ground.

Do not Panic:  If fear becomes overwhelming, judgment is impaired and survival becomes a matter of chance.

Do Not Run Blindly:  Unless a path of escape is clearly indicated, do not run. Move away from the direction of the fire. Save your strength.

The information found on this page is from the booklet "Save Your Home from Florida Wildfires". This booklet was adapted for the State of Florida in cooperation with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Copies of this booklet may be obtained from the State of Florida at the address below:

State Of Florida
Department of Community Affairs
Bureau of Recovery & Mitigation
2555 Shumard Oak Boulevard
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2100
Phone:  850-413-9884