Thousands of people die every year due to fire-related accidents.
Other tens of thousands of people are injured in such incidents. Fire accidents lead an enormous destruction to business and private properties; the cost leading up to billions of dollars.
Besides various indirect cost-temporary lodging, lost business, medical expenses- escalate the expenses to an enormous level. In the US, the annual loss of property due to various natural disaster average up to a fraction of loss caused due to the fire incidents.
Thus, it becomes strategically important to adopt various fire safety basics so that such an enormous damage to life and property could be prevented.
However, there is a huge unawareness among the public regarding the fire safety basics. People often neglect to take such prevention into their consideration.
However, in recent times, some awareness has been created by various agencies and as a result of which people have started keeping fire extinguishers in various places where they spend most of the time.
However, most of the people do not know how to operate the extinguisher. Moreover, there are a lot of other safety basics which people have to adapt to cope up with the fire hazards.
This article aims towards drawing a mass consensus towards the various safety measures which can lead to the savior of life and property during a fire breakout. The safety measures for a fire accident come into 3 fold steps-
- Prior preparation: This step of fire safety incorporates several measures to be adopted beforehand so that there are minimal chances of fire occurrence. This includes installation of various types of equipment for fire detection and framing plans for fire combat.
- Prevention: This step of fire safety includes cautiously dealing with the various daily activities so that the fire break- out does not occur.
- Fire breakout: This step of sire security consists of the vital steps to be taken once the fire has broken out. This step incorporates the safety measures which have to executed in a very short span of time and thus a judicious plan is a basic requirement.
This article shall feature the various safety guidelines for each of the above-said steps of safety measures.
- Prior Preparation
- Facing fire break out situation
Planning is indispensable for winning a battle
The quote perfectly portrays the need for having a strategic defence and plan so as to face any sort of battle. This applies to fire accidents also. Most of the fire accidents can be prevented by adopting a set of pre-planned safety measures. Some of these are discussed below:
Use of fire and smoke sensors
The first step towards prevention of fire damage is the installation of fire and smoke detectors. These detectors should be installed in each and every room of the house so that any fire breakout could be easily detected.
One should keep a regular check on the functioning of these sensors and regularly change their batteries within the required period of time.
These detectors should be placed such that the alarm could easily be heard. The detectors should be installed as per the manufacturer instructions.
Escape plans should be made in advance and religiously practised so that the no panic is created during the fire break out.
Fire Escape Ladder
Fire escape ladder can be used for the residents residing on the upper floors of a building.
These ladders should be carefully purchased as per the instruction from the concerned fire and legal experts.
The fire extinguisher should be installed at various sites of the house so that the minor fire could be handled with an ease.
Moreover, each member of the family should be aware of the location of these extinguishers and their operational procedure. ,
Home sprinkles can be installed in the house and their regular maintenance should be done so that they effectively work in required situations.
The contact number of the fire department should be present in the cell phones along with other emergency numbers.
One has to be cautious enough to handle daily equipment with utmost care. We are surrounded by a large number of devices and situation which may lead to fire breakout in an odd situation.
Here, we provide some steps to effectively use the equipment so as to prevent such menace.
Cooking may the rejoicing moment for a family, but, careless cooking can lead to hazardous consequences. Cooking has been recognized as the top factors contributing to fire accidents. Here are the safety measures for cooking:
- It is advisable not to leave the kitchen while the food is being fried, grilled and broiled. However, if necessary, turn off the stove before leaving the kitchen.
- Keep the inflammable substances like food packaging, oven mitts, wooden utensils, towels etc. out of reach from the stove.
Heating and electrical appliance safety
The various heating and electrical devices have been contributing to the fire breakouts. Thus, one should carefully handle them. Here, we provide some of the safety measures for the same:
- The inflammable materials should be kept out of reach from the heating and electric devices.
- The oven should never be used as a heating source for the home.
- The installation of various heating devices like geysers should be done by the professionals as per the instruction from the manufacturers.
- The fireplace should have a guard or screen to prevent the sparks emitting out of the fireplace.
- One should prevent overloading the outlets.
- One must ensure that the electrical wiring is in good condition and should do a regular check- up for the same.
- The extension cord should not be used for a major appliance like a refrigerator, air conditioner etc. They should be directly plugged into the wall receptacle outlet.
- Circuit breakers should be installed under the recommendation of a good electrician.
- The light bulbs should match with the prescribed wattage on the lamp.
Smoking and candles safety
Unattended half burnt materials like cigarettes. Incense stick and likes can often lead to major fire breakout. Here are few steps for ensuring safety from these unattended materials:
- One should not leave burnt papers, cigarettes, incense sticks unattended.
- One should not smoke in bed and should ensure that the cigarette is fully extinguished.
- The cigarettes, lighter, matches or other smoking materials should be kept out of reach of children.
- One should not smoke in the areas where medical oxygen is used. This can ignite the materials more easily.
- One should burn the candles in candle holders which in turn should be kept at on a hard surface.
- Flameless candles are better to use as they minimize the chances of a fire breakout.
- Utmost care should be taken while pouring fuel gel into the fuel pots. One should also ensure safe storage of such fuel gels.
- Generators should be kept in well-ventilated space outside the doors and vent openings. Moreover, one should not fuel the generator while it is hot. It must be switched off before fuelling.
Facing fire break out situation
All the above-mentioned safety measures are needed to avoid fire occurrence.
However, once a fire breaks out, it is the intelligence and prior preparation which helps the person from any unwanted ordeals. Here, we provide a list of recommended steps which one can follow in such situations:
The first and the foremost step which one has to take during a fire break out is to decide whether to escape the fire or combat it. This important decision, literally, is the decision to either opt life or death.
Taking this into consideration, we first provide the steps to be taken once the decision has been made to escape the fire. Later on, we advise safety measures for combating the fire.
Fire escape safety measures
Here are some very basic but extremely important fire safety measure while escaping –
- Immediately, call the fire department once the fire alarm is triggered on.
- Never use an elevator to descend from the top floors. Always use the staircase.
- If one has to escape through smoke, it is advisable to get low and crawl in the direction the smoke is heading towards.
- One should cover his mouth so as to prevent smoke inhaling. It has been found that most of the deaths occur as a result of smoke inhalation.
- While cooking, if the fire breaks out, cover the frying pan with the lid and turn off the stove.
- Check the heat generated by the doors falling into the escape path. If the heat is of high intensity, try to escape from another door.
- One should close all the doors behind as he escapes the fire.
- Do not get frustrated while a fire breaks out. Use your senses and available resources efficiently to escape the fire.
Fire combat safety measures
One should judiciously decide to fight the fire as it may lead to severe situations.
Fighting a fire simply means to prevent the fuel and fire materials from coming under the contact of the fire. One can tackle the fire by using fire extinguishers. One has to follow precautions while combatting with fire:
- It should be made sure that all the rest of the residents are out of danger.
- Call the fire department before the combat.
- Analyze the intensity of fire to decide whether extinguisher can handle the fire or not.
- One should make sure that the fire does not lie between him and his escape path so that an easy escape could be made if the fire could not be controlled.
- One should have a proper knowledge of handling the extinguisher. Surely enough, the fire site is never a good place to practice the handling of the extinguisher.
How to use a fire extinguisher?
Fire extinguishers are the most commonly used equipment for fighting with the fire break out. Thus, one should have a very good knowledge about handling the extinguishers efficiently.
Taking this into consideration, this section of the article mainly focuses on the safe handling of extinguishers during a fire combat.
One should analyse the effectiveness of the extinguishers in handling fire incidents on the basis of the intensity of the fire. If one feels it difficult to control the fire, escaping is always a safer side to opt for.
However, once decided to combat the fire, the person should ensure that there is enough pressure available in the fire extinguisher. It is indicated by a meter set on the extinguisher which portrays the intensity of the pressure within the extinguisher.
Moving on, it is very important that the person should know how to operate the extinguisher. The simple steps to be followed while operating an extinguisher can be coded as “PASS”, where:
P: Pull the pin to unlock the operating handle.
A: Direct the extinguisher low towards the base of the fire.
S: Press the lever on the extinguisher to discharge the extinguishing chemical/agent.
S: Sweep the extinguisher nozzle side to side and move carefully towards the fire, continuing to sweep the fire at the very base.
The care has to be taken that the extinguished fire is not ignited again. To make it sure, the person should carefully watch the site and use the extinguisher as required.
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It is for sure that a fire incident can be tackled with an ease if one follows the various safety measures for dealing with the fire hazards.
One has to be very careful while handling electric appliances which contribute to the fire most of the times. You can make your house safer by installing required fire, smoke and CO detector sensors.
One should always act judiciously in the odd situations to handle with the fire incidents. Do not panic and be calm while facing a fire incident.