A house fire is something we certainly don’t plan on having happen in our homes, but the reality is they do happen, so it is important to be prepared and to know what you would do if you did experience a house fire.
There are six main factors in staying safe if a fire does break out in your home. A fire in a home can engulf a room in less than five minutes. This isn’t a lot of time, particularly if you have older people or children under your care that you need to get out of the house.
The absolute first thing to do if a fire starts in your home is to evacuate your home immediately. Move to the closest exit as calmly and quickly as possible. Know who is in your home at all times, and ensure that everyone knows where the closest exits are. Once you are out of the home, and it is possible, turning the power off at the power box is always a good option – this makes the environment a bit safe for those trying to fight the fire.
Crawl Low Under the Smoke
It doesn’t take long for smoke to fill a room. If you are moving towards an exit point and the smoke is starting to take over, drop onto the floor and crawl under the smoke to the exits.
Go to Your Safe Meeting Place
Every family should have a safe meeting spot in case of emergency. It is imperative that every family member knows where this is, and a good thing for visitors to know. This safe meeting place should be away from the house, and in an easy to reach spot – by your letterbox or at the end of your driveway is a good option.
Each adult family member should have a responsibility – whether that be for ensuring children are out of danger, doing a head count to make sure everyone is out, or the like.
When you are out of the house, call 000. If you do not have your mobile phone on you, it is always beneficial to get to a neighbour’s house as quickly as possible to call emergency services. In built up neighbourhoods, you will generally find that a neighbour has called the emergency services about the fire, but never take this for granted.
Grabbing your mobile phone on the way out of the house, if safe to do so, is good practice. This will allow you to keep in touch with friends and family who may be able to assist you in the aftermath of a house fire.
Do Not Go Back Into Your Home
Whatever you do, do not go back into your home to retrieve belongings or anything else. Going back into your home puts you in danger, and may cost you your life.
If a family member or pet is stuck inside the home, tell the firefighters when they arrive, and give them an idea of where they possibly are inside the house. Only firefighters should enter a burning home.
Teach Your Children What to Do Incase of a Fire
Our children are certainly precious, and in the event of a house fire, we may not be able to reach them safely. For older children it is imperative that they know what to do should there be a fire and they are unable to get to you.
Children commonly tend to hide if they are scared, but by doing this they are easily missed. Teaching your children to go outside and to wait near the driveway or letterbox is important. Your children should know to do this if they hear a smoke alarm, smell or see smoke. They should also know to call out for help.
It is also important that children know that their safety is their first priority and that they shouldn’t go back into the house to look for family members, pets or to get their favourite toy.
Children should also know to get down low to the floor, and to crawl along the floor until they reach the exit point. The air is cooler and clearer lower to the ground, and by getting down, they will be able to find their way out of the house.
Finally, it is important for children to know what firefighters will look like when they are in their full firefighting gear. We often get characterised versions of firefighters on tv and in movies, and it isn’t often that children will see firefighters wearing respiratory gear and their full protective outfits. Show your children what firefighters look like when fighting a house fire so that they know not to be scared.
What if a Person is on Fire?
If a person’s clothing catches fire, remember to “stop, drop and roll”. Stand still, drop to the ground, cover your face with your hand, and roll on the ground to put the fire out.
Smoke Alarms Save Lives
There is no doubt that smoke alarms save lives. Having the correct smoke alarms installed in your property could be the difference between getting out of a fire alive or not. Installing interconnected photoelectric fire alarms is best practice and will give you the best chance of getting out of your home in the event of a house fire.