Stop, drop, and roll, that’s all we need to know about fires right? Not exactly… While that advice is extremely important when you catch on fire, during a fire you need to know exactly what to do, and what not to do. Here are a few tips!
ONE OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE IN STRUCTURAL FIRES IS OPENING VARIOUS DOORS WITHOUT CHECKING FOR AN ALTERNATE ESCAPE ROUTE.
While yes, fleeing the scene is an important instinct during a fire, sometimes opening a door can cause more damage than good. Fires require oxygen to spread. When you open a door (especially one that is warm) the fire receives that oxygen, therefore exposing you to dangerous heat levels and toxic carbon monoxide gas.
Before you open a door to exit, check for alternate routes where flames have not spread. If you are on the first level of the building, a window can also act as a great exit plan.
WHAT IF THE FIRE STARTED OR SPREAD IN THE ROOM YOU’RE IN?
If the fire is in the room you’re in, and you need to open a door to exit the danger, please do! However, be sure you close the door behind you to ensure you give a barrier to the fire. Opening the door will invite the fire to spread and potentially follow you out. In an effort to contain the fire, close the door behind you!
WHILE THE ELEVATOR MAY SEEM LIKE THE QUICKEST WAY OUT, IF THERE’S A FIRE IT COULD PUT YOU IN REAL DANGER!
If there’s a fire in your building, avoid the elevators at all costs. The stairs are the safest, best option during a fire. During a fire, elevators can malfunction, disable, or experience various electrical issues. When you are in a high-rise or larger building locate the emergency exits and stairwells to ensure you remain safe.
FIRE EXTINGUISHERS ARE GREAT, BUT YOU NEED TO KNOW HOW TO USE THEM!
Fire extinguishers can save you during a fire. With fire extinguishers, it is important to understand how to use them. The most common mistake with fire extinguishers is that you aim too high on top of the flames. In order to be most effective, the fire extinguisher needs to be pointed at the base.
When using a fire extinguisher, pull the pin, aim at the base of the flames, squeeze the trigger, and sweep from side to side. As a business owner, it’s important to check fire extinguishers for expiration. Fire extinguishers should be replaced every few years.
DON’T BREAK THE WINDOWS
Fire-related deaths are typically caused by smoke inhalation rather than the heat of the fire itself. With that being said, breaking windows during a fire allows the fire to gain more access to oxygen, helping the fire grow, and decreasing your ability to escape. When you keep the windows closed you are starving the fire.
DO NOT RETURN TO THE BUILDING FOR YOUR BELONGINGS.
As you’re told when you’re in elementary school, leave all your belongings and allow the first responders to fight the fire. You might think you have time to grab a few things, but fire can move quicker than you expect.
It’s important to understand what you need to do, and not do in case of a fire. We understand it can be challenging to not panic when a fire occurs. The best thing you can do is leave it in a safe way, and allow the first responders to take care of it.