Is It Safe to Walk Through Smoke?

Did you know? More than half of fire-related deaths are due to smoke inhalation, according to the Burn Institute. 

Smoke inhalation usually happens when you get stuck in a contained area, like a bedroom or kitchen. To prevent smoke from killing you, you must get out as soon as possible. 

Given this, is it safe to walk through smoke? What should you do if there’s a lot of smoke around you? Let’s find out. 

Is It Safe to Walk Through Smoke During a Fire Emergency?

Let’s set the record straight: it is not safe to walk through smoke during a fire emergency. Walking through smoke can pose many health risks. Here are the reasons why you shouldn’t walk through smoke:

1. Your respiratory system gets affected.

your respiratory system gets affected

The fine particles in smoke can penetrate your respiratory system, leading to many health problems, such as difficulty breathing and inflammation of the respiratory tract. Smoking can also worsen existing conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. 

When heavy smoke exists, even people without health issues can experience difficulties like wheezing, coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath. 

2. You can’t clearly see through smoke. 

you can’t clearly see through smoke

Smoke reduces visibility, which is a huge safety concern during a fire. When smoke fills an area, it will be hard to walk safely and see the exits, which can lead to confusion and injuries. Poor visibility also slows down evacuation, as people struggle to move quickly and safely. 

3. You will be exposed to toxic gases.

you will be exposed to toxic gases

Along with the smoke produced by fires are a mix of gases and fine particles produced by burning materials. 

In particular, fires produce many toxic gases, including carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and hydrogen chloride. 

Carbon monoxide is the most dangerous gas produced by fire because it’s odorless and colorless. Inhaling it can cause headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and unconsciousness. At high concentrations, carbon monoxide can be lethal. 

Hydrogen cyanide messes with the body’s oxygen, which can be harmful to the brain, lungs, and blood vessels. Exposure to hydrogen cyanide can also be lethal. 

Lastly, hydrogen chloride is corrosive to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. Inhaling it can lead to asthma-like reactions and swelling of the throat. 

4. Your eyes and skin get affected.

your eyes and skin get affected

Walking through smoke can irritate your eyes and skin. Eye irritation can cause pain, blurred vision, and redness, making it harder to get to safety during a fire. Skin irritation can cause rashes and itching, especially for people with sensitive skin. 

5. You will be more stressed. 

you will be more stressed

Walking through smoke is extremely stressful, contributing to confusion and panic. The stress can also impair your judgment, leading to decisions that can put you in danger.

What Should You Do?

Walking through smoke is a no-no, so you must stay low. Smoke rises, so the air near the ground is safer.

Always go to another exit if you see smoke while evacuating your house. But if you have no choice, crawl on your hands and knees with your head one to two feet above the ground. Stay low and crawl to the exit as fast as you can. 


You shouldn’t walk through smoke during a fire emergency because it can affect your respiratory system, reduce visibility, expose you to toxic gases, irritate your eyes & skin, and stress you more. 

But remember, prevention is always better than cure. Prevent smoke from harming you and your loved ones by having a fire kit ready. Equip it with emergency fire blankets, fire sprays, and fire protection gloves. Check out  Prepared Hero for reliable fire safety tools now!