“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe”,
Preparedness is a sure way to safety. We however, experience the opposite as panic overwhelms us in the case of an emergency. We should ALWAYS familiarize ourselves with “where we are” and be sure to know how to reach the TWO nearest EXITS.
Remember that in a fire situation, smoke is blinding and will bank down in the rooms and hallways. This condition may force you to crouch or crawl to escape to safety. By ALWAYS being aware of your surroundings, your knowledge of the nearest EXITS and having a PLAN will greatly increase your ability to deal with sudden emergencies.
1. In the event of an alarm “RACE”:
- R: Remove anyone from immediate danger.
- A: Activate the building fire alarm system and call 112
- C: Confine the fire by closing all windows and doors.
- E: Evacuate, leave the building.
2. In the event of a fire:
- Move quickly to the nearest accessible exit.
- Notify, and assist others to evacuate along the way.
- If the building fire alarm is not yet sounding, manually activate the alarm pull station located near the exit.
- Exit the building and proceed to the “Assembly Point”.
3. Evacuation procedures for persons with mobility issues or who are unable to safely self-evacuate should follow this procedure:
- Relocate to an entry to an evacuation stairwell, marked by a red EXIT sign.
- Wait NEAR the enclosed exit stairwell if there is NO smoke or other threats to your safety. Most fire alarm activations are brief. Occupants to return within a few minutes.
- Call 112 for help.
- If smoke, fire, or other threat is imminent, move into the stairwell:
- After the stairwell crowd has passed below your floor level, enter the stairwell with assistant(s) and wait on the stair landing. Make sure that the door is securely closed.
- Wait for assistance. First responders will be assigned to assist you if evacuation is necessary.
4. When should you use a fire extinguisher?
- Only if you are trained and confident in fire extinguisher use.
- Only if the fire is small in size (no larger than a small trash can).
- If you do fight the fire, use only ONE (1) extinguisher, then evacuate the building.
- As a reminder: you are NOT obligated to fight fires of any size. If you have any doubt, do not attempt to fight the fire. TOTAL AND IMMEDIATE EVACUATION IS THE SAFEST!!!
5. If caught in smoke:
- Drop to hands and knees and crawl towards the nearest exit.
- Stay low, smoke will rise to ceiling level first.
- Hold your breath as much as possible;
- Breathe through your nose; and
- Use a filter such as a shirt, towel or handkerchief.
- If trapped in a room due to fire or smoke:
- Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
- Wet and place cloth material around or under the door to help prevent smoke from entering the room.
- If the room has an outside window, be prepared to signal to someone outside.
- Clothing on fire (Stop, Drop and Roll):
- Direct or assist a person to roll around on the floor to smother the flames.
- Call 112 for help.
A RIGHT DECISION IS WRONG WHEN TAKEN LATE……. BE PREPARED!!!!
Article by Damilola Agbabiaka
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