When it comes to fire, time is of the essence. Whether you’re at your home, a place of business or in a public area, it’s important to have a plan of action and know what to do in case of emergency. Stop, Drop, and Roll is taught early on, but avoiding contact with fire altogether and knowing how to escape to safety as quickly as possible depends on being prepared and educated. Also, knowing what fire safety equipment is available and how to use it can help bring peace of mind.
Make note of your surroundings
Especially in a new environment, taking note of your surroundings is a key to recognizing and anticipating your route to safety in case of emergency. Are there emergency exits clearly marketed? What about the pathway along corridors, are they clear? If you’re not on the ground floor, do you know the nearest stairway? All details that could make a difference between panicking and getting to safety in a calm manner.
Identify safety features
While making note of your surroundings, check to identify whether the location has adequate safety infrastructure in place. From fire extinguishers to smoke detectors, understanding the features around you or in a place you frequent will increase your knowledge and sense of awareness to potential concerns that could arise should an emergency situation unfold. Some key components to look for are:
· Fire extinguishers
· Illuminated exit signs
· Safety lighting
· Fire sprinkler systems
· Fire hoses installed
· Routine inspections on fire safety equipment
It’s repeated time and again, and for good reason. Remaining calm in stressful and emergency situations allows you to clearly evaluate the situation while making the best decisions. While time is of the essence, making calculated, thoughtful decisions can make the difference if there’s a fire or emergency. Clear thinking is a key to a successful escape. If the room is filling with smoke, identify the exit and head in that direction by staying low to the ground. The area near the floor remains significantly cooler and has less smoke than if you were standing.
Fire safety and life safety equipment are important systems set in place to minimize damage and increase the safety of inhabitants. This set of equipment can assist in successful escapes, but knowing what to do and remaining calm is the key to increasing your odds to escape injury or worse. In any case, calling 9-1-1 and making sure everyone has made it to safety should be of high priority.