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Burbank Fire Department

6530 W. 79th Street
Burbank, IL 60459(708) 599-7766 CO1(708) 424-3325

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Fire Escape Planning


A fire at home can be a scary thing but the best way to be safe is to have an emergency plan in advance. Work with your mom and dad to plan it out and practice an emergency escape. Hang the drawing of the emergency plan on the fridge or somewhere where everyone can easily see it. Below are some great ways to start your emergency fire escape plan.

1.    More Than One Exit: Go around to every room in your house to make sure that it has two or more ways to escape. Exits can be either a window or a door. This is very important because if the fire is behind one door, you can always escape through another door or window. If the room is on an upper floor, make sure everyone knows where the emergency ladder is kept. Practice going down the emergency ladder with your parents.

2.    Smoke Detectors and Alarms: It is very important for every room in the house to have a smoke alarm for every floor. There should also be an extra smoke alarm outside bedrooms because if there is a fire at night, you may not realize until it is too late. Make a chart to mark whether mom or dad has tested the alarms each month. If the alarm makes a small beeping sound, then the batteries need to be replaced.

3.    Gathering Area Outdoors: When everyone has escaped from the house, they should meet at a pre-planned area outside. The neighborís lawn or a lamp post on the street are good places to meet. Make sure that the meeting area is a bit far from the house so that everyone can stay safe. Also remember that the firemen will need space for their trucks and equipment, so donít block the area around the house. If you have a cat or dog, keep them on a leash so that they donít run away during the commotion.

4.    Practice, practice, practice: The best way to make sure that everyone is safe is to know every part of the emergency plan really well. Once every six months, gather the whole family and practice escaping from an imaginary fire. This way, if there ever is a fire in real life, it wonít be so scary since everyone will know exactly what to do. If there is a real fire, never go inside until the firemen have said that it is safe.

5.    Fires in Apartment Buildings: Escaping from an apartment building is a little different from escaping from a house. Most apartment buildings practice an emergency escape once or twice a year. When you practice, youíll notice that everyone has to take the stairs. Never take the elevators during a fire alarm because they could get stuck and stop. It is very dangerous to be trapped in an elevator during a fire. Before leaving the apartment, take the key and lock the door behind you if there is nobody else at home. Sometimes if the fire is too close, it is best to shut the door and stay inside the apartment. This method is known as a passive escape.

6.    Passive Escape Rules:

  • Shut all the doors but do not lock them. Place wet towels at the bottom of all the doors and air vents so that smoke does not easily enter. Try to also seal the cracks around the top and sides of the door if you can.
  • Open windows in your apartment to allow fresh air in. If you notice that smoke is coming in through a window, close it immediately!
  • Call 911 and tell them that you are trapped inside. Tell them your buildingís address, your apartment number and your name.
  • Attach a white or pale bed sheet, large piece of clothing or towel near the windowsill so that it hangs out of the window. This is a way to signal to the firemen that you are still inside. Also keep a flashlight and wave it from the window if it is night.
  • If smoke is entering the apartment, get a towel or piece of cloth, wet it completely with cold water and cover your nose and mouth with it to avoid breathing in smoke. Lie down on the floor in an area that is far away from the fire or put your head near an open window to breath fresh air.
  • Donít panic while you wait. The firemen are trained experts and they will come to rescue you.





Fire Chief
David E. Gilgenberg II

Chief Gilgenberg has been a member of the Burbank Fire Department since June 1991 as a Paid On Call (P.O.C.) firefighter. He was hired as a fulltime Firefighter/Paramedic in Sept. 1994 and in 2006 he tested and was promoted to the rank of Engineer. In 2008 Dave was promoted to Lieutenant and then appointed Battalion Chief in charge of Operations in 2013. He was then appointed as the Fire Chief in October 2015. As Chief, he directs a fire department of 29 full-time and 25 paid-on-call personnel as well as the City of Burbankís Emergency Service Disaster Agency (ESDA). Chief Gilgenberg holds a Bachelorís Degree in Business (Benedictine University) and a Masterís Degree in Fire Service and Homeland Security Management (Southern Illinois University). He has held the position of rescue specialist on the Illinois USAR Taskforce #1 Rescue Team and is currently the Technical Rescue Chief for MABAS Division #21. Dave is a lifelong resident of Burbank, is married and has two children. Chief Gilgenberg can be contacted at the City of Burbank Fire Department at 708-599-7766 or by email at dgilgenberg@burbankil.gov.


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