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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Survive a Fire

7/10/2018 (Permalink)

“The following article was contributed by James Smith, an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels”

The hazards of a fire are deadly and may even prove fatal if proper precautions are not taken. Thousands of Americans lost their lives to such life-haunting misfortunes that can strike your house anytime due to minor malfunctioning, taking you by surprise and robbing you of your most prized possessions.

However, nothing is more precious than human life. These incidents usually happen uninformed and the best way is to be prepared beforehand.

Planning for a fire

A sensible family would make it a point to keep their family members aware and educated about the possibilities of an accidental fire and the logical steps to follow. The key to surviving in such situations is not to panic and think of practical solutions rather than creating havoc.

Having you and your family learn certain skills such as those of handling, first aid kits and basic medical knowledge can save a life.

  • Devise an escape plan in advance and clearly identify the escape routes known to all family members, which they can opt for, in times of emergency.
  • Upper floor houses should preferably have hook-on escape rope ladders.
  • Allocate responsibilities to individual adults, so that the situation can be easily taken control of, in case of any such mishap, and safety of all the kids should be the top most priority.
  • Just like schools carry out safety-drills to educate the children about the plan-of-action in case of emergency, you can train your children to act quickly and get out of the building without a second thought. The disabled, if any, need to be taken care of too. These drills will not only help in times of fire, but also during natural catastrophes.
  • Act smart and quick and keep the 911 emergency numbers in hand. Furthermore, every child should know their home address and the way to complain in case there is a fire in the house.
  • Keeping an emergency first aid kit at home can do no harm. In fact, this compact kit may prove helpful in situations which are un-called for. This may even include fire-extinguishers near the kitchen and furnaces to put off small fires and not letting them aggravate into bigger ones.

React before it’s too late

Timing is of utmost importance when it comes to handling a fire. Fire spreads at an alarming rate and can make concrete things crumble to ashes in seconds. Their existence can be demolished in no time. Do not panic, just act.

  • The minute your smoke detector or fire alarm goes off and your senses detect fire try to exit the building. Remember, you may have just a few seconds to escape the clutches of the blazing fire, so without further ado escape and call out loud for help.

Seek refuge through doors during fires

  • In such situations, wooden doors offer great protection from heat and smoke and stop the fire from spreading. It is best to hide behind doors when escaping from room to room, closing each door behind you.
  • Before opening each door make sure, that there is no fire on the other side of the room. If you feel heat or smoke exuding through the cracks, or if the knob or door feels hot to touch, then do not open the door. It’s always advisable to open the door carefully, lest you are inviting more danger. If in case you encounter fire when you open the door immediately shut it back.
  • If you detect or suspect fire or smoke on the other side, then your next option is to escape through windows. For that too, ensure that the door is shut otherwise the draft from the windows can aggravate the fire in the blink of an eye.

Prevent yourself from inhaling toxic fumes

Try to keep yourself safe from breathing in smoke, if you can’t keep it off completely you can at least try to limit the exposure. You can achieve this by getting low to the floor and crouching on your hands and knees while escaping. Furthermore, placing a shirt or wet rag over your face while escaping through a fume-filled room can filter out the intoxicating products of combustion and help you escape with minimum injuries.

Clothes are highly likely to catch fire

Stay away from curtains, table cloths and bed sheets as they catch fire very easily. This gives you the obvious warning that if your clothes catch fire, stops, drop and roll. This is because rolling smothers the fire and doesn’t let it spread wildly. Keep your face covered with your hands to offer maximum protection. Fire can be lethal and destroy your facial features. Let not such a misery befall you and cause permanent damage.

You don’t necessarily have to be heroic to escape from the window

If you don’t live on the upper floors of a building and you feel you have enough stamina to escape through the window, go ahead and give it a try. Usually you can escape from a two-storey building without much hassle as it is safe and if it makes you escape a fire, then it’s worth the risk. For obvious reasons you need to have an escape ladder. The next step would be to find a ledge. Next, you can get onto it facing the building. It is a rule of thumb to always face the building structure when trying to escape from a window on an upper floor.

Do you feel trapped?

Do not panic if you feel encompassed by smoke from all four sides and are unable to escape the vicinity of your home or your room for that matter. Keep your calm and ensure your safety by keeping off the smoke from all possible miniature holes, cracks or vents. Cover them with cloth or tape to ward off the smoke and do not let it reach you for as long as you can.

Ah! Out into the open air

If you manage to escape the fire successfully, as soon as you come out contact emergency services. Make sure all your family members are out and safe too. Never re-enter a building on fire, in fact call 911 to come to your rescue.

Always remember, a house on fire is a combination of other hazardous factors posing a potential threat- the intoxicating fumes and smoke, the sweltering flames and a possible eerie blackout. It is an absolute necessity to be prepared before hand and act on quick impulse if a fire occurs.

Ref: Survivalist Prepper

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