Tuesday, August 4, 2015

What should you do to save your life when your building is on fire?

Have you ever think of this question and get prepared when your building is on fire?

I have recently read some notes written by professional firemen in Facebook, and summarize here according to my understanding.

Here we go...

If you are in the same room with the fire, and the fire just started and still controllable, try to extinguish it. If the fire has been burning for more than 5 seconds and the flame is spreading fast, leave the room and evacuate immediately.

If the fire is outside your room (which you probably have no idea where is its exact location), get close to the door, and use your hand to touch the upper part of the door. If you feel the door is hot, it is safer to stay in your room than going out, because there is high temperature outside, and probably accompanied by smokes and poisonous fumes.

The reason to touch the upper part of the door and not the middle or lower part of it, is because the smokes, fumes and heat travel upwards. They might be right behind the door, but you still can't feel it at lower level yet.

However, if the door has little resistant to heat or fire (such as plastic door, glass door, etc.), it might be unsafe to stay in the room. In that case, you should crawl out and move to a safer room (eg. room with wooden door, or better still, fire escape staircase).

If you were to stay in the room, open the window to have fresh air to breath, get as far away from the door as possible, and ask for help from the window, as well as using your handphone.

Do not jump out of the window unless you are staying at ground floor or first floor, because you probably can't save your life by jumping out either.

If you don't feel the heat at the back of the door yet (which means the fire and/or fume has not reach outside the door), or your room is unsafe to stay (door has little resistant to heat or fire), and you decided to evacuate, remember, always go DOWN the building. Do not go up.

This is because the smokes and heat are travelling upwards at the speed of about 3-5 meters per second. They are travelling faster than you, and you probably will get yourself roasted or suffocated if you move up.

You can do a little experiment: light up a candle and put your hand at different positions: on top of the fire, beside the fire, and under the fire. Now you should be able to reason why you should always go down and never go up the building during a fire.


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