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What to Do When the Fire Alarm Sounds

There it is...that sound.

If you are at work the alarm will be loud and unmistakable. A smoke detector will emit its shrill warning if a fire breaks out at your home. You’ve heard that sound in fire and life safety drills. You flash back to tips you picked up in those sessions conducted by fire and safety services companies. You recall those fire protection pamphlets and those things you read while surfing the web. These are some of the things that might roll through your mind in the first few seconds after hearing that sound. The adrenaline is flowing and you know you must act fast.

Alarms don’t just happen. Always assume a fire alarm is the real thing. Fire alarm systems and smoke detectors are sensitive and effective. Yeah, sure, some prankster could have pulled a fire alarm box. Maybe someone heating up a snack in the break room got careless and smoke set off a smoke detector. Perhaps you’ve neglected something on the stove or in the oven. These thoughts might come to mind too but now is not the time for second guesses. Nope, this is the time for immediate fire protection action.

Regardless of where you are, home or work, stay alert and action-oriented. Do not panic! Get ready to evacuate. If your keys, purse and cell phone are handy, grab them. If at work, don’t worry about those knick knacks and photos in your work area; don’t think about taking time to deal with your computer. Your building is probably equipped with sprinkler systems. These will minimize damage. If you are in a multi-story building look for that exit sign and head for the stairway, forget about the elevator. If you are at home, get out as soon as possible. Things are replaceable, your life isn’t.

If you are at work chances are good there’s a plan for what to do and where to go once outside the building. Follow the plan. In case of a fire in your home, get outside quickly and move safely as far away from your home as possible. In any environment you are likely to be surrounded by highly flammable objects. Fire is fast.

Regardless of where you are fire and safety services professionals will arrive quickly. Stay out of their way; do not attempt to assist them. They are well trained professionals, fighting fires and saving lives is their business and they are very good at what they do. Listen to what they say, follow their instructions.

No one wants to think they may become the victim of a fire but fire can happen anywhere, anytime. Think about these words you have just read. Seek out additional information. Prevention and preparation are your best weapons. Use them well!

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