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Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Practise your own home fire safety drill

In a recent episode of “The Office”, Dwight Schrute feels his PowerPoint presentation on fire safety doesn’t get through to his colleagues, so he tries another method. “Experience is the best teacher,” says Dwight, he is not wrong, but not necessarily the type of experience shown in the episode.

Correctly practicing your home emergency evacuation with your family, can really help with your preparedness in the event of a fire and could end up saving lives. Practice a home fire drill at least twice a year.

  • Write an emergency evacuation plan specific to your home. Make it as simple as possible and consider alternate routes should an evacuation route be blocked. Remember to ensure you close all the doors behind you and once you are out you must STAY OUT. Remember, smoke rises. You must get low, if you see smoke. Bend down or crawl on your hands and knees to the nearest exit. The air will be clearer and easier to breathe near the floor.
  • It is good practise to have an emergency kit containing emergency contact numbers, clean socks, slippers, and blankets, possibly even a change of clothes and bottled water. This could be stored in an unattached garage, with a neighbour or an outbuilding.
  • Practise your drill regularly. All the members of your family should know the sound of your fire alarm and have the main route memorised. Ensure that keys are accessible in an emergency and locked doors can be opened easily. Take your mobile phone or portable phone with you.

  • The more smoke alarms you have, the safer you'll be. At minimum you should have one on each floor. However, if you have only one alarm and two floors, put it somewhere you’ll be able to hear it when you're asleep.
  • Extinguishers and fire blankets are useful manual interventions, although not intended for use on out-of-control fires. When faced with a blazing pan of oil it is best practice to "get out, stay out and dial 999", as most individuals are not trained to deal with these fires and could potentially face severe injury or death if their attempts to extinguish fat or chip pan fires were unsuccessful.
  • Several innovative fire suppression devices have come to market with a view to tackling the problem of home fire protection in high-risk areas where it would be expensive and disruptive to fit traditional sprinklers. Automist is the latest of these devices.

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