Can you imagine what life must have been like for the first human beings on Earth? Just think about that fateful day when ancient man — or woman! — discovered fire for the first time. Instead of cold cereal for breakfast, they could now eat warm bacon, eggs and waffles!

OK…so we’re just joking about ancient breakfasts. We’re sure waffle irons didn’t come along until much, much later. But still, fire was a big deal. And it still is.

Fire allows us to cook food. It heats our homes. It has all sorts of important uses in manufacturing and industry. If you think about it, you wouldn’t want to live in a world without fire.

Despite all its good uses, though, fire can also be very dangerous. Its very nature is to destroy. Fire in a fireplace can warm your home. Fire on the walls of your home can destroy it. The power of fire must be kept harnessed and not allowed to wreak havoc on the world around you.

Do you know what to do in case of a fire? Fire safety is very important, and it’s critical that everyone know some basic rules about what to do if they see a fire.

Whether you’re at school or at home, it’s important to know how to get out of a building in case it catches on fire. Getting outside quickly and safely is your top priority. Knowing where exits are and how to get to them is important, since fire and smoke can easily block some exits you might think to take.

If you’re in a room with a closed door when a fire breaks out, you must be very careful before opening the door. If you see smoke coming under the door or if the door itself or the doorknob is hot or very warm, don’t open the door.

If there’s no smoke and the door itself and the doorknob is cool, open the door slowly. If there’s no smoke or heat nearby, move quickly and safely to the nearest exit. As you move, stay low to the ground, so that you’ll avoid smoke that may be in the air along the way.

It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t stay in a burning building any longer than necessary. Although it can be hard to do, you need to leave pets and favorite toys behind to make sure you get outside as safely and quickly as possible.

Don’t even stop to call 9-1-1. You or someone else can make that call once you’re safely outside and away from danger. Rely on emergency professionals, including police and firefighters, to rescue any pets or belongings you may worry about. Never go back into a burning building for any reason!

If you can’t get out quickly because fire or smoke is blocking your exit, yell for help. Shout out of an open window for help. If you are near a phone, go ahead and call 9-1-1. Make sure you’re easy to find. Never hide under a bed or in a closet, because emergency professionals will have a hard time locating you.

It’s good to know what to do in case of a fire, but it’s also important to practice. That’s why schools have fire drills regularly. You should also practice what to do in case your clothes catch on fire: stop, drop and roll!

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    • Hey Evan! We are glad you were able to visit Wonderopolis again and that you really liked the Did You Know section! What was your favorite part? Practicing fire drills is a good way to stay safe. Fire can be dangerous but is important for us. Can you imagine what life was like before fire back in ancient times? You can learn more about ancient civilization in one of our other Wonders: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/where-is-the-fertile-crescent/ :)

  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Hi, I think that I will be first to respond!
    I learned some things that I didn’t know.
    I think that tomorrow’s wonder is gold.
    What is your name?

    • Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis, Pablo! What are some of the things you learned that you didn’t know? It is exciting to guess about tomorrow’s Wonder, isn’t it? Check back and see! :)

    • Hey Crystal! That is great that you knew how to keep your fire alarms working well! It is important to stay safe. Thanks for the comment! :)

  2. Dear WONDEROPOLIS,
    The first thing you should do way before is think of the two places to get out of a fire. I remembered these two – fall and roll. I don’t remember the last one. My first idea of getting out the house is the window and I thought if you had a door in your room you’d go out of it. I think you’d be a hero if you saved your dog and cat. If you didn’t, it would be so sad. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    • Hey Gina! Making a plan for how to get out of the house is a great first step to be safe! It may be hard to leave anything behind and get out safely, but that is what the emergency professionals are for. Thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

  3. I love Wonderopolis!! :) And thank you for reminding me to check my smoke alarm because my smoke alarm’s batteries were out and I got new ones!!!! :0 :)

    • Awesome, Brad! Now your smoke alarm will be ready to let you know when there is danger. Can you think of any ways to help you remember to check it regularly? Maybe you could make a fire safety calendar? Thanks for coming to Wonderopolis! :)

  4. Dear Wonderopolis, I like today’s video and I think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about mining or jewelry. Have a great weekend, bye. ;)

  5. In case of a fire you should stop, drop and roll. You should also do a routine like a fire drill and remember to not bring any pets or toys. A fire fighter will find the toy or pet and return it to you.

    • Hey Robert! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! That sounds like a great summary of the Wonder. You definitely learned a lot! :)

  6. I love Wonderopolis!!!!! :) How do you think of things to Wonder about? I am one of the students of Miss Klish’s 5th grade class!!! We go on this website every day and I chose to go on it on the weekends too!! :)

    • Hey Brad! We love WONDERing with you and the rest of Miss Klish’s 5th grade class too! We are glad to hear you visit Wonderopolis every day. We are inspired to Wonder by the exciting things in the world around us. What do you Wonder about in the world around you? Thanks! :)

  7. I like Wonderopolis :) I am part of Miss klish’s class. We go on Wonderopolis every morning and leave comments. We all love Wonderopolis!!!!!! :)

    • Hey Bradly! Thanks so much for your great comment. We love to hear about you WONDERing with the rest of Miss Klish’s class. Do you all practice the Wonder Words together? Thanks! :)

    • Hey Gabrianna! We understand how that thought can be scary, so we are glad you learned about what you should do in case of a fire! Now you can be prepared and help prevent a house fire from ever starting! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis! :)

  8. I always do fire drills in my school to practice in case of a real fire and we have to always be quiet because it isn’t actually a laughing matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I LOVE WONDEROPOLIS, LOVE MOMO

    • Hey Monique! No, fire drills aren’t a laughing matter. It is good that you and your class takes it seriously so you can be well prepared. We are glad you love Wonderopolis and we love WONDERing with you! :)

  9. I really liked this passage because it explained to us about what to do when you are in a fire. It also helped students and teachers if they didn’t know what to do in a fire.

  10. First of all We think it is very important that everybody know how to be safe in a fire situation. Our school is very serious about fire, we have constant fire drills and we are always wondering what to do next but now that we have read this we have got it down.

    Thanks!

    • Thanks for sharing your comments, Skyler and Sofia! We think it’s WONDERful that your school has fire drills throughout the year- it’s a good thing to be prepared! HOORAY for you, thanks for WONDERing with us today! :)

    • HOORAY, that’s super news, Hamad! We’re glad that this Wonder has you prepared for a fire drill! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What should you do in case of a fire?
  • What are some things not to do in case of a fire?
  • Do you have a fire safety plan at home?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

If you thought the fun you could have with today’s Wonder of the Day was over, you’re wrong! Things are just getting heated up! Grab a friend or family member and explore one or more of the following activities together:

  • Jump online and check out the many resources at the U.S. Fire Administration for Kids’ Home Fire Safety page. There you’ll find lots of important information about how to prevent fires and what to do in case of a fire. There are also fun games, puzzles, word searches and coloring pages!
  • Do you have a fire safety plan at home? We’re sure your school has one in place, but many times people don’t think about creating a fire safety plan for home. Sit down and talk with the other members of your household. Figure out what the plan should be in case of a fire. Where are the nearest exits? What’s the quickest way to escape danger? Do you know who to call in case you see a fire? You can even draw a map of your house, marking the exits and noting the quickest escape routes. You can post it on your refrigerator as a reminder for all to see!
  • Up for a challenge? Do a thorough home inspection to determine if there are fire hazards in your home that can be corrected now to prevent fires in the future. Are any exits blocked or obstructed? How about your windows? Do they all open and allow easy access to the outside? Search each room in your house for things that use electricity. Do you see any frayed wires? Are there any outlets that are overloaded with extension cords or too many appliances? How about your dryer? Has the dryer vent been cleaned out recently? Do a thorough, room-by-room search and point out to your other family members any problems you find. You never know when your efforts might prevent a fire in the future!

Still Wondering

Illuminations’ On Fire lesson introduces the use of calculations and measurement to create a fire-safe and fire-wise environment.

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