Vol. 1, Issue 35 (Mar 07) Fire at Home

We normally refer to the workplace in our regular NEWS BRIEF issues, for March 2007, we are to concentrate on the home.

If your smoke alarm went off in the middle of night what would you do? This assumes you have a smoke alarm – if not why not? Put together a plan of action for your home.

Take into account everyone in the house to include the children, other youngsters, elderly, the infirm and disabled, others staying overnight, the friends of the children and other family etc.

The best means of escape from you house, is the normal way in and out. You should know better than anyone which the best route is likely to be. Let everyone know where you keep the window and door locks – just in case.

If you are unable to escape due to a blockage it may be better to wait for the professionals. However, you should always keep blockages to a minimum whether it is at work, home, on the train or other public transport system.

Waiting for the professionals is very stressful, you consider pushing wet towels or wet bedding at the base of the base of the doors and protecting yourself within one area. When the professionals arrive, you should make your presence known.

You should choose the room in advance of a potential problem, knowing where and how to unlock the window and have as far as possible a telephone to contact the outside – in particular the emergency services. Open the window to allow you access to fresh air.

If you live in a block of flats and the stairs are obstructed by smoke or fire – DO NOT USE THE LIFTS. Stay calm and return to the inside of the flat etc. The design should keep the fire out, again use the wet towels or bedding and make yourself known to the professionals, open the windows to allow you access to fresh air.

You must fit smoke alarms on each floor level of your house/property. These must be tested or checked and inspected to ensure they operate on a regular basis – this could be weekly or more frequent, batteries may require replacing, they detectors may need cleaning to remove dust deposits.

If you do not have working smoke alarms in your home, your chances of surviving a fire are remote.

If your fitted smoke alarms keep operating – do not disconnect them – they are doing what they are intended to do. There may be some reason why they have been set off, so check the areas for signs i.e. smoking and the effects of smoking, cooking and cooking residuals etc.

You should switch off as many disused electrical appliances as you can when retiring for the night or when going out, the more items that can be switched of the lesser the load on the electrical services and the safer you will be. It might also assist you in reducing your energy bill!

Do not allow the youngsters to play with matches, lighters and candles.

Remove any cigarettes and ash trays, damp down with some water to ensure they are not still alight.

Put out candles properly, do not just blow them out, make sure they are out. Best thing is to put them out long before you retire for the evening.

As far as possible shut all doors when you go to bed, it can delay the spread and the effects of fire and smoke.

If the alarms sounds at night, do not just get up to see why, or where the fire might be coming from. Wake everyone up to alert them and then get everyone together to follow your fire safety plan.

If doors are warm, do not open them, they can be checked with the back of the hand – the fire could be contained behind the door.

If there is a lot of smoke, get near to the floor, crawl with you head as near to the floor as possible, the air will be clearer.

If you are on the ground floor, you should use the available windows to make your escape.

If glass has to be broken use towels or other thick materials to lessen the impact before you escape.

It may be possible to throw out bedding to break your fall, do not just jump out, lower yourself and then drop to the floor.

If you have family with you, plan who goes first, you may need to assist others with escaping to safety.

Do not return to the property, summons help, wake the neighbours, so they can call for the emergency services.




Fire at home

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