Escape Fire: 12 Steps You Can Do to Escape From The Fire
Escape Fire: Fires can spread quickly and fill the home with smoke that makes it hard to both see and breathe. So planning what you would do in case of a fire before a fire occurs, increases your chances of escaping. Below are some important steps to any fire escape plan. Try developing your own plan for your home and practice it regularly.
1. Identify your exits
- If you are not staying from your own home (for example in a hotel or at a friend’s house), be sure you know where the closest exit is.
- Check each room in your house to see if it has at least two exits, it can be two separate doors or an emergency exit by a window.
- If you live in an apartment building, your apartment should have access to both the main stairwell and an alternate fire escape.
- If you live in a two-story house, consider buying fire escape ladders for the bedrooms.
- If you or someone in your family is physically disabled, make sure that their bedrooms have several exits that they can access easily or are situated on the ground floor near an exit.
2. Get out fast
Don’t stop to call the fire department or take time to get dressed or grab any belongings. If you can already smell smoke or see flames, you need to move quickly.
3. Check doors for heat before opening
If the door is hot, find another exit. The fire might be right on the other side and opening the door will give it the oxygen it needs to spread.
4. Stay low to the ground to avoid inhaling smoke
The leading cause of death or injury in fires is actually asphyxiation or lack of oxygen caused by smoke. Since smoke rises during a fire, staying close to the ground when exiting (either crawling or crouching) can make it easier to see and breathe.
5. If a person catches on fire, STOP, DROP and ROLL
The fastest way to put out a fire is to deprive it of what it needs – oxygen. If your hair or clothing start to smoke or flame, drop to the ground and roll.
6. Don’t use elevators during a fire
Elevators can stop or break during fires, trapping you inside. All buildings with elevators are required to have separate exits by stairs.
If you live or work in a building with an elevator and are physically disabled, acknowledge the building owners and fire department about your emergency needs.
You may also want to identify an emergency escape partner, someone who is willing and physically able to help you if the building is being evacuated.
7. If you can’t get out, secure your room and yourself
Place wet towels, blankets or clothing under the door to keep out the smoke. If possible, move to the bathroom and fill the bathtub with water.
8. Set up a safe and easy-to-remember place to meet others once you have escaped
9. Pick a place outside your house or office (that’s far enough away from the building) to meet up with everyone else
That way you will be able to tell the fire department if family members or coworkers are still inside. Tragedies have happened when people have not “reported in” and others have re-entered buildings to look for the so-called missing persons. Make sure you operate under a buddy system so this does not happen to either you or firefighters!
10. After you get out, call the fire department
In Malaysia, dialling 999 will get you emergency services. Be able to give clear directions to your location and let the fire department know if everyone is out of the building.
11. Don’t go back inside!
Once you have escaped a burning building, don’t go back in for anything. Even if the fire doesn’t seem bad from outside, the smoke and heat inside may be overwhelming.
12. Practice your escape plan regularly
The more familiar you are with your escape plan, the less like you’ll be to panic during a real emergency.
Important notes to remember:
- Your building has an evacuation plan. Know it and evacuate during all fire alarm activations.
- Learn the location of all building exits. Have an exit strategy, always know at least two ways out.
- If you have to escape through smoke, crawl low to your exit, keeping your head one to two feet above the floor, where the air will be clearer.
- Test doorknobs and spaces around the door with the back of your hand. If the door is warm, try another escape route. If it’s cool, open it slowly. Close it if smoke or fire is present.
- If you are trapped, call the fire department for assistance. Seal your door with rags and signals from your window.