No one wants to get caught in a fire, of course. Unfortunately, events leading to these emergencies are sometimes out of our control. So what should you do if something happens? And no less important – what you should NOT do?
These are easy to remember Fire Safety tips that will help you in an emergency situation if it ever happens. Knowing what to do, and what Not to do is often the difference between the tragedy and a safe outcome.
What TO DO during Fire emergency
Do your best to not panic. Yes, fire can be scary and even terrifying, but it is utmost important to stay calm.
Any emergency and especially home fires require a clear thinking. Staying composed will help you make the right decisions and avoid mistakes. Like identifying viable emergency exits fast and proceeding to the exit route accordingly. Everything starts with you, and calmness can determine how you will handle the initial shock, process new information and make the right decisions.
Extinguish the Fire if you Can
If the fire is small and does not pose immediate threat to your life or to others around you – use fire extinguishing means to put it down.
A simple example of such a non-critical situation would be a cigarette bun falling on the floor and the carpet starting to smolder. This is a situation you are most likely capable of handling yourself. Simply pour some water on the carpet and think about cleaning. But if the flames are already visible and strong or the smoke is in a place you cannot reach – don’t waste your time. Move on to the next step.
Call Emergency. While Escaping
Call 9-1-1 in US/Canada (or 1-1-2 if in Europe). It will take only a few seconds to get on the line with a trained specialist who will ask you for your address and start giving you instructions on what to do next. The fire fighter brigade will be on their way to your location right away.
Remember that you can do this while making your way out of the house, flat etc. If for some reason you can’t get to the phone – escape on your own. This is one of the reasons you should always be aware of a possible exit route from the premise beforehand.
Save Yourself, Not your Belongings
Fire accidents can be a life and death situation. Always put your life and lives of others before any material assets. You can always replace them later. Health and lives are irreplaceable.
If you do have a chance – take your documents first. It will help you deal with the consequences of the fire later on. But if you have any doubts about the time you have – don’t take any risks, be on your way out.
Stay Out and Away From Fire
When you are already out of the house, flat etc. keep your distance and do not go back. Even if the fire seems to be small, it can change and spread in a matter of seconds.
Fire may often start slowly, but this also makes it hard to detect. After it does get stronger – it takes only a few minutes before the whole house is set ablaze. According to American Red Cross organization those caught in fire may only have 2 minutes to escape. This means you simply have no time to go back. Big chance is by this time firefighters will arrive and deal with it professionally.
What NOT TO DO during Fire emergency
Do Not Panic
This is the first and most important thing to remember. We cannot stress enough how vital it is. Read the first paragraph of the list above one more time. It all starts with you and your ability to think clearly. Panic is the main enemy of our ability to process information and act accordingly.
Do not try to put Down the fire on your own
If the flames are already strong and clearly visible, or there is a lot of smoke – do not try to fight the fire by yourself. Especially if you don’t have a fire extinguisher and other appropriate means.
Even if the flame seems to pose no danger. But when you try to put it down and it doesn’t go away immediately and it takes you more than 20-30 seconds to do so – leave the house through the safest passage as soon as possible.
Do not take any elevators
Do not use an elevator in case of fire emergency. Even if you live in a multi storey building– always use the stairs to get out. Or use a fire escape stairwells if the house has it.
This is actually a very important information you need to know about the place you are in. And this is also why you should not panic, because you need to be able to remember not to take an elevator during a fire emergency. Unfortunately people still get trapped inside broken or malfunctioning elevators quite often.
Do Not Forget the “Stop Drop and Roll / Crawl” Rule
If your clothes get caught on fire, do not run aimlessly. You need to stop, drop on the ground and roll around. Pressing the burning part to the ground will limit the oxygen supply to the flames and often extinguish the fire completely. When running you actually increase the oxygen supply making the fire stronger.
Do not use water to extinguish electrical fires
Never fight fires caused by electrical faults with water. If you pour water on an electrical fire, it can very well conduct electricity causing you suffer from an electric shock or being electrocuted.
Even though firefighting is getting more effective every year with new technology and new knowledge it is still extremely dangerous. Numerous lives are lost every day to fires. And while fire brigades are always coming to rescue it is up to each of us to prepare for such emergencies and conduct calmly in those situations.
As the old saying says: “God helps those who help themselves”.