It is very important to know how to escape a fire accident and save others too. Fire spreads very quickly, so your priority is to warn any people at risk. If you are in a building, activate the nearest fire alarm, call for emergency help, then leave the building. However, if doing this delays your escape, make the call when you are out of the building. Try to keep everyone calm. Encourage and assist people to evacuate the area as quickly and calmly as possible. When arriving at an incident involving fire, stop, observe, think: do not enter the area. A minor fire can escalate in minutes to a serious blaze. Call for emergency help and wait for it to arrive.
THE ELEMENTS OF FIRE
A fire needs three components to start and maintain it: ignition (a spark or flame); a source of fuel (petrol, wood or fabric); and oxygen (air). Removing one of these elements can break this “triangle of fire”.
- Remove combustible materials, such as paper or cardboard, from the path of a fire, as they can fuel the flames.
- Cut off a fire’s oxygen supply by shutting a door on a fire or smothering the flames with a fire blanket. This will cause the fire to suffocate and go out.
- Switch off a car’s ignition, or pull the fuel cut-off on a large diesel vehicle (this is normally marked on the outside of the vehicle), or switch off the gas supply
This is quite important as regarding how to escape a fire accident and save others too
LEAVING A BURNING BUILDING
If you see or suspect a fire in a building, activate the first fire alarm you see. Try to help people out of the building without putting yourself at risk. Close doors behind you to help prevent the fire from spreading. If you are in a public building, use the fire exits and look for assembly points outside. You should already know the evacuation procedure at your workplace. If, however, you are visiting other premises you are not familiar with, follow the signs for escape routes and obey any instructions you are given by their fire marshals.
Feel the doorknob or higher on the door with the back of your hand. If it feels hot, fire may be on the other side of the door, so keep it shut. Stuff clothing, towels, or newspapers in the door’s cracks to keep smoke out.
- Even if the door is cool, open it slowly. Stand low and to one side of the door, in case smoke or fumes seep around it.
- If heat and smoke come in, slam the door tightly, stuff clothing, towels, or newspapers in the door’s cracks to keep smoke out, and use your alternate way out.
- If you will open a window for your escape, be sure the other windows and door(s) in the room are closed tightly. Otherwise, the draft from the open window may draw smoke and fire into the room.
If trapped in a room
Retreat. Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire. Seal cracks around the door to prevent smoke from entering. If you have a working phone, dial the emergency number and report the name of your building or address, the room number, and the fact that you are trapped and need to be rescued. Stay on the phone until the fire department arrives at your room.
Be prepared to signal from a window but DO NOT BREAK THE GLASS unless absolutely necessary (outside smoke may be drawn in). Open the window a few inches for fresh air and hang a brightly colored cloth or bed sheet out the window to alert the Fire Department to your location. If you have a flashlight, use it to signal at night.
If you are trapped on the upper floors of a tall building:
- Put a wet cloth under closed doors to help prevent the spread of smoke.
- If you have a working phone, dial the emergency number and report the name of your building or address, the room number, and the fact that you are trapped and need to be rescued. Stay on the phone until the fire department arrives at your room.
- If you must escape through a window and there is no adjoining roof or fire escape, hang from the window by your hands and drop to the ground to shorten the height of the fall.
- If you must break a window to crawl out, use a chair, a drawer, or a similar object. Throw a blanket over the windowsill to help protect you from broken glass while crawling out.
If caught in smoke
Drop to hands and knees and crawl or crouch low with head 30″ to 36″ above the floor, watching the base of the wall as you go. Avoid crawling on your belly, because heavier toxic gases can settle and form a thin layer on the floor. Hold your breath as much as possible and breathe shallowly through your nose using your blouse or shirt as a filter.
If you are forced to advance through flames:
- Hold your breath. Move quickly, covering head and hair. Keep head down and close eyes as often as possible.
- If clothing catches fire, stop where you are. Drop to the ground, and cover your mouth and face with your hands to protect them from the flames. Then roll over and over to smother the fire.
Assemble at the area designated in your departmental Emergency Action Plan, if applicable, and remain there until instructed by a public safety officer or the fire department that it is safe to re-enter the building. If there is no designated assembly point, maintain a safe distance from the building to allow ample room for emergency personnel and equipment to access the building. Follow directions of emergency personnel, if present. Do not go back inside the building until instructed by a public safety officer.
If you encounter a small fire
A small fire is defined as wastebasket-size or smaller. Under special conditions, small fires can be extinguished before there is a full evacuation, if you have been trained and feel comfortable using an extinguisher. The fire must be truly small and controllable and you need both the right fire extinguisher and knowledge of how to use it. NEVER ENTER A SMOKE-FILLED ROOM, even if it looks free of fire. In any case, constantly evaluate and be ready to evacuate if the fire cannot be easily controlled. Under all circumstances:
- Alert people in the area.
- Activate the fire alarm.
- Maintain an accessible exit.
- Avoid smoke and fumes.
- Smother the fire or use the correct fire extinguisher. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire. Only trained personnel should use fire extinguishers. Use fire extinguisher on small fires ONLY if it is safe to do so; otherwise GET OUT.
- Remain available to answer questions from public safety officers or the fire department.
- Report all fires to a supervisor.
Evacuating other people
Encourage people to leave the building calmly but quickly by the nearest exit. If they have to use the stairs, make sure they do not rush and risk falling.
- When escaping from a fire:
- Do not re-enter a burning building to collect personal possessions
- Do not use lifts
- Do not go back to a building until cleared to do so by a fire officer Fire precautions:
- Do not move anything that is on fire
- Do not smother flames with flammable materials
- Do not fight a fire if it puts your safety at risk
- If your clothes catch fire and help is not available, extinguish the flames by wrapping yourself up tightly in suitable material and rolling along the ground
- Do not put water on an electrical fire: pull the plug out or switch the power off at the mains
- Smother a hot fat fire with a fire blanket; never use water
CLOTHING ON FIRE
If a person’s clothing is on fire always follow this procedure: Stop, Drop and Roll.
- Stop the casualty panicking, running around or going outside; any movement or breeze will fan the flames.
- Drop the casualty to the ground. If possible, wrap him tightly in a fire blanket, or heavy fabric such as a coat, curtain, blanket (not a nylon or cellular type) or rug.
- Roll the casualty along the ground until the flames have been smothered. Treat any burns, help the casualty to lie down with the burned side uppermost and start cooling the burn as soon as possible.
Putting out flames
Help the casualty on to the ground to stop flames rising to his face. Wrap him in a fire blanket to starve flames of oxygen, and roll him on the ground until the flames are extinguished.
SMOKE AND FUMES
- Any fire in a confined space creates a highly dangerous atmosphere that is low in oxygen and may also be polluted by carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes. Never enter a smoke- or fume-filled building or open a door leading to a fire. Let the emergency services do this.
- When you are trapped in a burning building, if possible go into a room at the front of the building with a window and shut the door. Block gaps under the door by placing a rug or similar heavy fabric across the bottom of the door to minimize smoke. Open the window and shout for help.
- Stay low if you have to cross a smoke-filled room: air is clearest at floor level.
- If escaping through a high window, climb out backwards feet first; lower yourself to the full length of your arms before dropping down.
Avoiding smoke and fumes Shut the door of the room you are in and put a rug or blanket against the door to keep smoke out. Open the window and shout for help. Keep as low as possible to avoid fumes in the room.