Would you know exactly what to do if you were to find yourself in a burning building? Too many people don’t, which is one of the causes of panics. You’d probably say that it’s a simple thing matter; exit the building, fast.
But there are situations involving fires when exit is no easy feat. Doors and windows can be blocked or locked. Knowing what to do in a fire and how to get out of the building is fundamental to making sure you exit safely. Remember the following safety tips, someday they may help save you or your family’s life.
Alternative Exit Routes- One of the principal errors you can make is not knowing more than just a single way in and out of a building. When you enter a building, take note of more than one exit or entrance. Always know alternate exits to the location. Many times an exit becomes impassable or even locked during a fire. Elevators are usually put out of service automatically during a fire. If you don’t know another route, you may become confused and blunder further into the burning structure. Especially in large buildings like hospitals, hotels, or schools, you should be familiar with as many exits as you can.
Escapes out the Window – If you happen to be trapped in a building and are forced to leave through the window, do so with care. Especially if you are on the second story or above, you will need help. Try to keep the door to the room closed, and pack wet towels, sheets, or clothes under the door gap to keep smoke out. Signal for help through an open window. Wait until the fire department gets there; they have the equipment and training to help you down to safety. A passerby or neighbor may also be able to help you quickly before the professionals arrive.
If your house has bedrooms on higher levels, consider installing fire ladders in your home. These are stowable drop-down ladders which attach to higher level windows. When the time comes, you toss them out of the window and climb down safely.
Keep a low Profile – When going through a burning building to the exit, always stay as low to the floor as possible. Because smoke and heat rises, there will be less smoke and more oxygen nearest the floor. Not only that, but there can be as much as a 1000 degree difference from the floor to the ceiling. Be traveling as quickly as possible while staying calm. Smoke inhalation is particularly dangerous and you can lose consciousness quickly as a result of it. To further help you breathe, cover your mouth and nose with a wet piece of clothing or towel.
Smoke Detectors – Needless to say, but have properly functioning smoke detectors in your home. Test and replace batteries regularly. If you don’t have smoke detectors, it is unlikely you will notice the smoke until it is too late.
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