Fire is one of the worst things that could happen to anyone. The heat and smoke can cause serious damages and grave injuries to one’s health and properties; sometimes even leading to death.
The best action to take when there is a fire is to escape the burning structure. However, what would you do if your pathways for exit are blocked? Here are some things to keep in mind in case of fire.
Before a Fire
Performing the best fire risk assessment is incredibly vital – prevention and preparedness are always the best responses to any disaster. Know the possible causes of the fire. Do not leave candles, stove, or any fire-related items unattended. Keep all flammable products in a safe location. Check for possible gas leaks. Make sure that your electrical wirings are not faulty. Always practice the safe use of electrical outlets and wirings.
Prepare an evacuation action plan in case of emergencies. This should include your assembly area outside the home or building as well as the possible exit points. You can also conduct a fire drill if necessary. Have a list of emergency contact hotlines such as the fire department, police station, and hospitals. Fire extinguishers and smoke alarms should also be available and regularly checked in all rooms.
Being prepared does not mean wishing for the worst to happen. It is a way of planning ahead in case of emergencies, especially fire, to alleviate possible damages.
During a Fire
The most important thing to do in any emergency is to keep calm and be alert. This will enable you to think clearly and move quickly.
Once a fire is detected, contact your local fire department or the nearby police station immediately. Pull fire alarms to alert other people within the vicinity.
Head to the nearest exit and vacate the building. If possible, bring a damp cloth to cover your nose with. Try not to inhale too much smoke. If you are in an enclosed area, check if you can still open any doors and windows that would serve as safe pathways for your exit — but make sure to lightly touch the doorknob first, as a burning hot one means that fire is right outside the door. Be mindful of your surroundings. Avoid walking near objects that could possibly fall. If you are the last one to leave, close the door to prevent the fire from spreading.
Should you find yourself trapped, open all windows and close the door. Alert firefighters and rescuers of your presence by getting their attention. Raising a white or bright-coloured piece of cloth will be helpful.
If you find smoke seeping through the door, place a moist cloth against the door to prevent smoke from going inside. Keep your head down or crawl out of the room if smoke has already entered the room you are in. Always remember the “stop, drop, and roll” rule: Halt your movements so as not to literally fan the flames; drop to the ground and cover your face, and roll out as doing so can extinguish the flames. If you have a blanket or a rug to wrap yourself with, do so before dropping and rolling.
If you were able to escape, do not, under any circumstances, attempt to go back inside. Keep your distance from the burning structure, as it could lead to gas leaks and explosions. Instead, head directly to the assembly point. Check if you or any of your family or companions is hurt. If so, apply necessary first aid or get assistance from medics or emergency responders. Stay away from the fire until you make sure that everything is clear.