INDIVIDUAL ACTION DURING HOUSE/ BUILDING FIRE
Fury Of Fire
Fire is one of the largest accidental causes of deaths. Many fire accidents happen at places where people sleep; e.g. hotels, houses etc. Such accidental fires are able to create havoc when people are generally sleeping or less alert; i.e. between midnight and early morning.
Most prevalent cause of death during fires is asphyxiation or deprivation of oxygen. Fires consume the oxygen available in the room and density of carbon mono oxide increase in the atmosphere. Inhalation of carbon mono oxide can cause death in just a few minutes.
The heat emanating from fire can melt clothes and scorch the skin and lungs. The temperature at eye level is sometimes six to seven times that of the floor level.
House/ building fires create a black smoke which chokes the respiratory systems and create an atmosphere of low visibility. This makes the evacuation difficult for firefighting personnel.
Building fire safety measures are installed during construction or later. They are systems which either check the fires before they break out or help in extinguishing fires, if they happen. Most buildings have a team of personnel that will have to act during fires or any other such accident.
Generally used systems for fire control in buildings are fire detection cum alarm systems, fire hydrant systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire doors, fire escapes, fire blankets, auto fire suppression systems and different kinds of fire extinguishers.
Here is a list of actions we can undertake individually: –
- Never lose presence of mind and don’t panic in any situation.
- Inform the building fire fighting organization, if any or fire department or police.
- Immediately pull the nearest fire alarm, if available.
- When evacuating the building, be sure to feel doors for heat before opening them to be sure there is no fire danger on the other side.
- If there is smoke in the air, stay low to the ground, especially your head, to reduce inhalation exposure.
- Utilize any fire fighting items/ systems available like sand, water, blankets, fire extinguishers etc to put out the fire.
- Save yourself before helping others, remember you can help others only when you survive first.
Author : Dr Pankaj Tyagi Branch Head CISS Roorkee
(is an employee of CISS Ltd)