Buildings are designed to withstand actions from a variety of anticipated hazards in order to ensure life and structural safety during their design life, and fire is one such hazard that can occur in buildings. With rapid development around the world, fire hazards in buildings have undergone significant transformations in terms of severity and versatility, and have become a growing concern in recent years.
Fire can spread quickly through our home, giving us only one or two minutes to escape. The best way to survive a fire is to plan for the worst. To avoid a fire, ensure that the smoke detectors are working properly and that you develop life-saving habits such as closing all the fire proof doors in your home before going to bed or disconnecting appliances with heating elements.
Furthermore, having a plan and practising that plan is essential for escaping a fire. Make a plan that considers both the layout of the house as well as the members of the household. Plan ahead of time and know what to do in any location where you regularly live or visit. Learn general escape solutions and become familiar with more specific procedures, whether you live in a single-family home, a high-rise apartment, a hotel, or work in a tall building.
Here are a few fire escape tips to learn and practise in the event of an emergency.
Know the sound of your alarm. Smoke and fire alarms emit three blasts, whoops, chimes, or beeps, followed by a brief pause, and then the process is repeated. The smoke detector may also emit an audible alarm that sounds, “Fire! Fire!” to inform the occupants of the location of the fire and who should leave and who should stay, Some structures may have a single continuous wail or ringing from the fire alarm system until it is silenced. These are life-saving!
Report the emergency if it hasn’t already been done, Dial “operator” from a building phone, and 112 or 911 from a cellular phone. This will connect to the fire department – mention where you are and the circumstances at hand.
Be cautious during an evacuation in a high-rise building. If a fire is only reported on one or two floors, only those two floors should be evacuated. Everyone else should wait for further instructions from fire personnel. If an evacuation order is issued, everyone should proceed to the nearest emergency exit. Keep your keys and/or ID badges with you at all times. Then, examine the other side of the fire rated wooden door for any signs of fire. Feel the door and doorknob first; if they feel warm or hot, do not open them. Then, look for any signs of smoke or heat around the door. You should not open the door if you see glowing embers or black smoke coming through it. Otherwise, slowly open the door. Only open it enough to see what’s on the other side of the door. If you see a lot of smoke or flames, close the door and stay in place.
If you are unable to evacuate or are ordered to stay put, cover the doors and any window vents with wet towels or sheets. This reduces the amount of smoke and heat that enters the room at the same time. Also, turn on an exhaust fan, such as the one in the bathroom. A sheet can also be hung from a window to catch the attention of a firefighter. Only open the windows if the amount of smoke in the room is unbearable.
Ensure that the fire door remains closed but unlocked upon exit. This will help reduce the spread of fire to apartments if the fire gets there. Locate the nearest emergency exit; if smoke is present, stay low; and if you are unable to escape, return to your home.
Buildings contain a variety of direct and indirect sources that contribute to fire hazards, and in the event of a fire, there is a significant risk to life, structure, property, and the environment from the beginning stages of the fire’s development. As a result, it is critical to learn and teach about fire escape from a building in order to provide safety and prevent people from danger.