A fire anywhere, but especially at home, is one of our greatest nightmares. However, ensuring that you, as a family, follow certain mandatory safety precautions can mean all the difference between life and death.
Do not allow people to smoke inside the house, or lie in bed and smoke.
Practice safe cooking habits. Ensure that all electrical appliances, wirings, sockets and cables, fire and smoke detectors are in good working condition, and replace faulty/damaged items.
Do not leave a lit candle, stove, and plugged-in flat iron unattended. Do not allow children to play with fire. Store matches and lighters where children cannot reach them.
Ensure that your building’s maintenance is up-to-date, and that its fire alarm system and fire extinguishers are in working order. Master the fire department hotline (997).
Most times, if the fire is not in your room or apartment, staying put is the safest option. Find out if your building uses flame-resistant materials or not. If you are stuck in a room or building without access to the exit, ensure that the people gathered outside see you (ideally, leave a light cloth hanging out like a flag) so that the firefighters can locate and rescue you.
Participate in your building’s fire safety drill and find out which stairwell to use to evacuate. Familiarize your family members with the route they should take during an evacuation. The drill should also include steps like warning all family members, and evacuating the children and elderly. Do not waste time trying to rescue valuables.
Keep the heat and smoke from getting into your room by blocking the cracks around and under the door with wet sheets, blankets or clothing.
Educate children about the dangers of inhaling smoke, and teach them how to use a wet towel to cover their mouth and nose, and crouch below the smoke line and escape.
If somebody else’s or your clothing catches fire, don’t run. Instead stop, drop, cover your face and roll to put out the fire.
Call the fire department (997) once you are safely out.
• Ensure electrical appliances, wirings, sockets and cables are in working order
• Check if your building’s fire alarm system is working; participate in safety drills
• Familiarize your family with the route they must take in case of an evacuation
Source: Binu Sivan, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer