Fire Safety Awareness
Fire CAN blow your house, business, family or life up in smokes. They say it is a good servant who can turn up to be a bad master and knowing how to prevent fire incidents at home, school or workplace is fundamental as Fire Prevention is better than Fire Fighting.
Your risk of injury in a home fire changes with age. If you have young children, disabled people or older adults living in your home, they may need your help to stay safe.
Follow these tips to protect your home and your loved ones.
In less than 30 seconds, a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. If you wake up to a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.
Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. If you wake up to a fire you may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find your way around the home you’ve lived in for years.
A fire’s heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes, a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called flashover.
Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. You may not wake up in time to escape.
Children under four years old are at higher risk of home fire injury and death than older children.
Here’s how to make your home safer for them:
Keep children at least three feet away from anything that gets hot, including heaters, the stove, and candles.
Lock cigarette lighters and matches up high, out of a child’s sight and reach.
Create and practice your home fire escape plan at least twice a year.
Our risk of being injured in a fire increases with age. Make your home safe for older adults.
Know two ways out of each room. Keep these exits clear.
Make sure everyone is able to get outside if the smoke alarm sounds.
Older adults may need your help escaping. Plan for this. Keep wheelchair, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and a telephone next to the bed.
Practice your escape plan with everyone.
Smoke alarms give you early warning of a fire. Every home needs working smoke alarms. Make
sure your home is protected. Install smoke alarms on every level. Install smoke alarms inside and outside of all sleeping areas.
Everyone must be able to hear the smoke alarm. Special alarms that shake or vibrate are available for those who can’t hear.
Push the button on the smoke alarm every month to make sure it is working.
Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
In the Kitchen
Cooking is the number one cause of home fires.
Take these steps today to prevent a cooking fire in your home:
Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, broiling, or boiling food.
If you leave the kitchen, turn the burner off. Keep things that can burn away from your
Turn pot handles toward the back of the stove so they won’t get bumped.
Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from fireplaces, wood stoves, portable
heaters, and radiators.
When you leave a room or go to bed, turn heaters off or unplug them.
Follow these safety tips to prevent an electrical fire:
Plug only one heat-producing appliance into the electrical outlet. Never use an extension cord.
Examples of heat-producing appliances are: microwave, coffee maker, and portable heater.
Extension cords are for temporary use only. If you have an electrical cord that is frayed or
broken, don’t use it.
If you live in an apartment you need to know how to get out quickly if a fire starts.
Speak to your apartment manager if you see a damaged smoke alarm, fire extinguisher or an emergency light that has burned out.
Know where all the exit doors and stairs are on your floor. Learn your building evacuation plan if you have one.
EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN
Create and practice an escape plan for your own apartment.
In the event of a fire, stay calm and act quick. Shout Fire! Fire! Fire! And raise the fire alarm.
Move to the exit as you have practiced. Call the fire department once you are outside.
If your door feels warm to the touch, do not attempt to open it. Call the Fire brigade and tell the dispatcher your apartment number and that you can’t open your door.
Stuff the cracks around the door with towels, rags, bedding, or tape. Cover vents.
Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a white cloth.
If your apartment door is cool to the touch, open it slowly. Stay low and check for smoke or fire in the hallway. If the hallway is safe, follow your building’s evacuation plan.
Never use an elevator to escape a fire. Always use the stairs.
Wait Outside for the Fire Department Once you are outside, move away from the building.
Give firefighters and fire trucks plenty of space.
Stay outside. Do not go back inside for any reason.
If you think someone is still inside, tell firefighters where you think they are.
Wait until firefighters tell you it’s safe to go back inside.
Emergency action plan in case of fire
- When you leave an office, house, laboratory or classroom, close the doors but do not lock them.
- If you are the last to leave the premises, close the doors to contain the fire but do not lock them.
- Use the nearest stairs and exit, as long as it is free from smoke; otherwise, seek another evacuation route. Do NOT use the elevators.
- Do NOT stop at or near the exit. Leave the way free for other people evacuating the building.
- Go directly to the assembly point
- NEVER reenter an evacuated building until you receive instructions from the building’s management.
Fire prevention is better than Fire fighting. Ensure you have developed sound procedures and Emergency Action Plan, install the appropriate Fire equipment and signage and conduct fire safety training and inspections.
Makinika Afrika helps you conduct Fire Safety awareness for your workplace, school, church, apartment and organized groups. Please contact us today via www.makinikaafrika.org for detailed information. Email firstname.lastname@example.org OR call 0204403040/0724036078
Fire incident is one man’s job; Fire prevention is everyone’s job. It is both an individual and collective responsibility.