In almost every movie featuring a house on fire, the actors seem to be able to move around the house and see just fine, while beating back flames with a shirt or coat. Of course, that’s not what happens in real fires. When there’s fire in a home, there is typically complete darkness (because the power goes out) and a cloud of spreading thick, black smoke makes it difficult to see and breathe. That’s why knowing how to get out of your house — fast — is crucial. Experts recommend rehearsing what to do in case there’s a fire. Make sure everyone in the family has an exit plan. Each should know exactly how to get out, including primary and secondary exits, and where the family will meet once safely outside. Never attempt to take anything with you. It may seem like you have plenty of time to grab a coat or purse, but the characteristics of a fire can change in seconds. As a failsafe, in case you can’t exit through a door, you should determine in advance which window has the safest exit. Make sure that the window opens easily and everyone knows how to remove the screen or any other obstruction. Finally, don’t call the fire department from inside your house. Get out first, then make the call.