Whether it’s your home, workplace or a public space, the idea of being involved in a building fire is terrifying. The threats of severe burns and smoke inhalation are real, as are secondary injuries such as structure collapse trauma, lacerations and bruises. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure you’re prepared in the event of such an emergency.
Be Intimately Familiar with Fire Suppression Equipment
At home, you may have supplies ranging from a box of baking soda to a canister extinguisher. Know where it is and that it’s in good working order. Baking soda can solidify into an unusable brick in humid climates, and extinguishers have an expiration date. If you have extinguishers, make sure you understand how to operate them quickly. At work and in public, make sure you know where the fire gear is located and where the exits are. You always want to have a way out in case of emergency. In public places you frequent regularly, know the layout of the area. For example, if you frequently sop in a big-box store, you don’t want to run towards the solvents in case of a fire.
Know What to Use Depending on Type of Fire
Sometimes, using the wrong method to put out a fire can escalate the situation. For example, throwing water on a grease or electrical fire is a horrible idea. Using a hand-held canister extinguisher on a pan of burning food is overkill and could spread the flames. Know how to react. If food on the stove ignites, have a lid ready to smother the fire, or toss baking soda liberally. Use water if you catch a dish towel on fire. Reacting properly
]olks imperative to keeping the situation under your control.
Have Your Fire Suppression Gear Tested Regularly
IF you work in a large office building, you may have iron valves in the hallways that connect right to the building’s water supply, complete with a hose. However, those valves need to be checked by a qualified technician and replaced if they are showing signs of wear, freezing or rust. These are still manufactured by companies like Terminal City Iron Works Ltd. and others throughout the country. Know who is responsible at work for having the equipment tested and services regularly.
When you’re involved in any type of building fire, being prepared and educated are two of the best actions you can take to ensure your own safety and survival. These tips will help you gain the knowledge necessary to act quickly in case of an emergency.