Fire is the best servant and the worst master. This is quite evident in all the fire incidents that we have witnessed in the recent and past years. Fire safety is important for everyone of us irregardless of where you are or who you are, what you do , how and where you do it. Fires can occur anywhere anytime if the environment permits. Today on the blog we start a series on fire safety and to start us off is the general fire safety do’s and don’t s.
There are various measures to put in place to ensure a fire does not start and if it starts, there are measure in place to detect it and save life. These are as below:
- Ensure that you have a fire detection system.
- Ensure that electric connections are done by a qualified electrician. Use appropriate size and type of power cables to carry the electric load. Overloaded cables can overheat and cause fires.
- Have flammable liquids handled by professionals.If at home ensure lighters an matches are out of reach of children.
- Ensure that there are equipment/ machines to assist in putting out of fires when they occur. Fire fighting machines should be handled by experts. All building users should be trained to handle fire fighting equipment.
- Attend to all small fires. All fires start small then grow into huge uncontrollable fires.
- Have fire drills regularly and practice them with all building users and ensure they master at least two ways to exit from the building.
- If you have small children, teach them the importance of fire safety in the home and at school and remove and store fire hazards away from their reach.
- Have a clearly marked fire assembly point near the building that will serve as a meeting point for roll call to be taken in case of a fire.Ensure all the building users know the assembly point and understand its significance.
- Ensure all combustible liquids are kept away from heat sources.
- Make sure all the fire fighting equipment and machinery are in good working condition always. Contact your service provider for regular maintenance as standards require so that they can be used to detect and /or put out a fire as intended.
Fires do not just start. They are triggered and in the instance that a fire starts, do the following:
- WALK briskly to the assembly point, do not RUN, then call 911. This is very important. Running causes panic which can result to a stampede and most people could end up being seriously injured or worst lose of lives could occur.Do not start to gather belongings or pets.
- If there is something you can do i.e actuate a fire suppression system manually or use an extinguisher to put out the fire , do it but only after you have determined that you are safe!
- To escape from a fire , get down on the ground and crawl. It is easier to breath in a fire if you stay low while getting out because air is cleaner near the floor during a fire.
- If you encounter a locked door, use the back of your hand to test if the door is hot before you open it. If it is open try to use another way out of the building.
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll on the floor to smother the fire until the fire goes out, don’t run, the fire will only burn faster if you run at the same time cover your face with your hands to protect your face and lungs. Similarly if someone near you catches fire, cover them with a blanket, coat or a towel until the fire goes out, then call for help. Do not pour cold water on them.
- NEVER go back into a burning building for any reason. If someone is trapped in a burning building, notify the fire fighters who have the right equipment , expertise and clothing to do the rescue.
Being well prepared in the event of a fire fire gives you a better chance of surviving it when it occurs. That said it is important to remember that when it comes to fires, prevention is always better than its cure!