Fire is serious. It moves fast and can take you by surprise so you need to know what to do if it happens. That’s what this post is all about. We consulted with some experienced firefighters to come up with these top tips for keeping safe during a fire. Use them well.
House or building fire
If you’re involved in a fire within a building, it’s important to move fast. Fire moves quickly and uses up all the oxygen in a room for fuel. The more it burns, the less oxygen there is for you. Here’s what to do during a building fire.
• Move quickly and calmly to the nearest exit
• Alert other people if you can, especially the elderly or children, but remain safe
• Do not stop to save valuables or pets
• If the room has smoke, crawl towards the exit as the air is cleaner at lower levels
• If you have to open a door, put the back of your hand on it first. Do not go through if the door is overly warm
• Close any open doors behind you as you go
• Once outside, alert the fire brigade if you can or get a neighbour to do it for you
• Alert neighbours if they are in an adjoining building or close enough that the fire may reach them
• Once outside, stay outside. Stay together and stay safe
Vehicle fires are thankfully rare, but they do happen. Being so rare they often take us by surprise, so knowing what to do in advance could save your life.
• If you’re driving, pull over safely but quickly and turn off the engine
• Release the bonnet if it is safe ready for when the fire service arrives but do not open it
• Get everyone out of the car and move to a safe distance
• If the fire is small and it is safe to do so, try to tackle the fire with a powder or foam extinguisher
• Otherwise, stay off the road and in a place of safety and call the fire brigade
• If the car poses a danger to other drivers, warn them if you can as long as it is safe to do so
• Do not return to the car for any reason
Prevention is always better than the cure and so it is with fire. Always have at least one smoke alarm in your home. Preferably one per floor. Test them regularly to make sure they can alert you when they need to. Know which windows and doors you can safely use to escape should you need to. This is especially important if you live in an apartment or a house with more than one floor.
Many building and vehicle fires are caused by faulty electrics. If you are not a competent electrician, don’t attempt any DIY that will affect electrics. If you do any electrical work, consider having it checked by a professional before using it. It doesn’t cost much and could save a lot of heartaches.
Home and vehicle fire extinguishers are useful to have around too. Different extinguisher types are useful for different fires, so take advice before buying.