Surviving a Fire – A Guide

Fire safety is a topic that everyone should have a full understanding of. We are all living and working in buildings where fire is a possibility. It is vital that we all know the nearest escape routes and meeting points should a fire break out in a building we are in. It is also important to understand the importance of fire doors and other methods to limit the risk of fire and to prevent the spread of fire and smoke in the worse case scenario. A guide to being prepared for fire and how to escape could be the difference in saving your life.

Every year in the UK the fire brigade is called out to around 60,000 fires at residential properties, with around 500 people dying and 10,000 people injured. Your safety in the event of a fire depends on how quickly you can make your escape, and how safe the escape route is. There are a few steps you should take to ensure you understand fire safety and how to safely get out of the building in the event of a fire.

The first thing to do is to sit down and plan your escape route if you are planning for your home. For those in a working environment, the person responsible for fire safety management will sit down to work the details out before presenting it as part of induction training and regular fire drills. Especially in the home, there is a likelihood that a fire breaks out at night and the conditions will be dark, smoky and unclear. If you have pre-planned a safe escape route it makes it much easier to get out safely once a fire has broken out. Make sure that the route you have chosen as your escape route is always free of obstacles and anything that might make an escape challenging.

In some types of multi-occupancy building it is a legal requirement to have fire doors in place and equipment to help put out a fire. This isn’t always practical in a home, but always ensure that all fire and smoke alarms are tested on a regular basis so that you are alerted immediately when there is a problem. If a fire breaks out, try to close the door behind you if the fire is in the room you are escaping from, although never do this if it will put you in greater danger. Don’t open a door without first touching it with the back of your hand to feel if there is heat coming from the other side. Always be fast and effective, leaving all valuables and possessions behind and do not go back inside until a fire officer has told you it is safe to do so.

Always be fully prepared for a fire, as it could happen at any time. Even with the best fire precaution methods and an awareness of potential fire hazards there is always a risk of an unforeseen incident or problem with an electrical item or appliance that can cause a fire. How you react in these first moments could save your life and that of those around you. Understanding the importance of fire doors and other fire equipment, escape routes and other aspects of fire safety and responsibility of the management of fire safety issues within both working environments and residential complexes is also very important.

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