MILLCREEK, Utah (ABC 4 News) – With winter here more Utahns will be plugging in the heater to keep warm, and that means the chances of a house fire going up. If a house fire happens to you, Friday ABC 4 is showing you how to stop it or how to survive it.
When you see a house going up in flames, it's always happening to someone else - right?
"Most folks don't think about having a fire in their house, it’s really that thing that happens to other people," said Capt. Cliff Burningham, Unified Fire Authority.
But what if a house fire does happen to you?
"Do you think you'd know what to do?” asked Reporter Brian Carlson.
“I think so, kind of," said Steven Beckstrand, Millcreek homeowner.
Steven and Jolee Beckstrand live in a modest townhouse in Millcreek, and haven't really given a house fire too much thought. They have smoke detectors in the house, but that's about it.
"It just hasn't been something we've put a lot of stock into," said Beckstrand.
Now with their addition of their son Noah, surviving a fire is suddenly bigger a priority.
"She wouldn't let me bring him home until we had smoke detectors in his bedroom," Beckstrand said.
So to help the Beckstrands prepare, ABC 4 introduced them to fire fighters from Unified's Millcreek station #106. They told the Beckstrands a must to staying alive, is have an escape plan.
"You could draw a bird's eye view of your house, that's what we have little kids do, and tell them there are two ways to get out of your house," said Burningham.
"Firefighters say every room should have two exits - like a door or a window,” said Carlson.
"You're first choice is always is?” asked Burningham to the Beckstrands.
“The door?” said Steven Beckstrand.
“The door, to get out, because that's the easiest, quickest and the safest," said Burningham.
After crews told them what to do, they put the Beckstrands to the test.
"We're going to pretend this is the middle of the night, you guys are sleep, Noah's downstairs in his room," Burningham said.
With everyone in bed, ABC 4 turned on the alarm. The Beckstrands got up, crawled under a blanket of smoke, raced to grab Noah, and finally ended up outside. They got out safe and sound.
Fire fighters recommend its good practice for everyone.
"Don't make the first time you think about escaping from your house when you have a fire, sit down with your family talk to the kids, talk to your family," Burningham said.
But what if you had put out a fire yourself, could you do it?
ABC 4 took the Beckstrands to the fire station, for a live fire test. With no training, fire fighters gave Jolee a fire extinguisher, lit a fire, and said here you go. She actually knocked it out flat.
"It was easier than I thought, it was hard to pull the pin out with the little tie on it," said Jolee Beckstrand.
Without knowing it, Jolee did all the right things.
"What we use is an acronym to make it easier, called pass, P-A-S-S," said a fire fighter.
It means, pull the pin, aim, squeeze the handle, and spray with a sweeping motion.
Armed with the right technique, it was Steven's turn.
"It was interesting to find the right distance, I guess and how fast it comes out," said Steven Beckstrand.
Fire fighters said they were impressed.
"They did relatively well," said Burningham. “They had their house in order; it’s a good reminder today to have a fire extinguisher."
And if the Beckstrands were forced to face a real fire, they feel better about their chances.
"I learned that we are not as far away from being prepared as I thought we were," said Beckstrand. "I'm a little more comfortable now than before; I would say we did fairly well."
And if a house fire ever does happen to you, hopefully you can say the same thing.
It’s important to note firefighters do not recommend putting out all fires by yourself. If the fire is small enough they encourage you to use a fire extinguisher, but if the fire is too much for you to handle they recommend you should always call 911.
Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @tv_briancarlson