While wildfires are a devastating occurrence each year, more Australians are killed from a residential fire every year (on average) than from all other natural hazards put together.
Because these issues are so prevalent, it is important to have an evacuation plan to help you with fire safety in the event of an emergency. Talking with a fire protection specialist can help you be prepared. Keep reading to learn 10 things to do if you are in a fire.
1. Own & Know How To Operate A Fire Extinguisher
A vital part of a fire protection plan is to own and know how to operate a fire extinguisher. While owning a fire extinguisher is important, it doesn’t do anything for you if you don’t know how to operate it correctly.
Something you can do to help is taking a fire training course.
Generally, there are 4 steps that you can follow to operate a portable fire extinguisher. This follows the acronym PASS. First, you pull the pin that is located at the top of the fire extinguisher. This will break the seal and allow you to operate the extinguisher.
Second, aim the extinguisher away from the operator and any other people surrounding you. You want to aim the extinguisher nozzle toward the base of the fire.
Third, squeeze the handles. This will discharge the fire extinguisher.
Finally, the last step is to sweep the nozzle. As you sweep it from side to side, you will be able to extinguish the fire.
2. Use a Fire Blanket
Another helpful item to use in a fire is a fire blanket. This is a type of blanket that is made with fire-resistant material. There are two ways that you can use this in an emergency situation.
First, you can use it to put out a small fire. If the fire hasn’t grown, you can try to smother the flames to prevent further damage.
If the fire has grown and is uncontrollable, you can use the fire blanket to protect yourself. Wrap yourself in this blanket to protect yourself from the flames and get to a safe place away from the fire.
3. Raise an Alarm
If you are in or near a fire, it is vital that you sound an alarm. While smoke detectors will set off an alarm, it doesn’t guarantee that everyone will be able to hear it. Yell “Fire!” several times to notify others and to help protect them in an emergency situation.
This is especially important in crowded areas, apartments, and places with multiple residents.
4. Teach Your Children What Your Smoke Alarm Sounds Like
If you have children who have never been around a fire, it is vital that you teach them what the smoke alarm sounds like. In a fire, the flames aren’t the only danger. Many people are exposed to carbon monoxide and may be unconscious.
If a child is the only alert member of your household, they need to learn what a smoke alarm sounds like and what to do if they hear it.
5. Have At Least Two Escape Routes
Fires can happen where you least expect them. This is why it is vital to have more than one escape route. It is best to have these escape routes located on each end of your home and/or building. Having two escape routes will give you the best odds of escaping quickly and safely.
6. Call Emergency Services
Probably the most important step in fire safety and in your evacuation plan is to call emergency services on 000. They respond much more quickly than you can, and they will be able to save any other people that may be left behind.
By calling emergency services as soon as you identify a fire, you increase the odds that they can save everyone and maybe even your belongings and your house/building.
7. Don’t Turn Back For Valuables
If there is a fire, it is vital that you do not turn back on valuables that you left behind. While they may be important to you, nothing is more important than protecting your life.
Many things can be replaced, so wait for the fire department to do their job before you re-enter a building.
8. Cover Your Nose and Mouth
As you are leaving a burning building, it is important that you cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth and avoid inhaling through your mouth. In many fire emergencies, you have to escape through the smoke. When you escape through smoke, you will likely inhale dangerous and toxic contaminants that are in the air.
By covering your nose and mouth, you will protect your lungs and have a greater chance of making it out of a fire alive.
9. Close Doors Behind You
If you are in a burning room and are able to escape, it is important to close the doors behind you. As many people know, fires thrive on oxygen. By keeping the doors closed, there is less oxygen available for fires to use.
This will slow the spread of a fire in your house and can also reduce the smoke levels to keep you safer.
10. Go To A Planned Evacuation Spot
Finally, it is important to discuss where everyone will meet in case of an evacuation. When you get out of your burning home/building, go to a planned evacuation spot. This will help you identify if anyone is missing or still inside.
Make sure this evacuation spot is far away from your home or building so you stay out of danger.
A Fire Protection Specialist Can Help!
It is vital to create a fire safety and evacuation plan before you experience a fire emergency. With the help of a fire protection specialist, you can have an evacuation plan and fire training that you can rely on.
Preparation is key in emergency situations. Learn more about what a fire protection company can do for you and how you can best prepare for these emergency situations!