These days, many of us like to unwind at the end of the day by lighting up candles in our homes to create a relaxing environment, or sometimes we may accidentally forget to switch off the gas when we leave the house. The unexpected could happen at any time, and it’s best to always ensure that everyone in your home knows what to do.
With these tips, you can make sure that you take steps to prevent a fire from destroying your home, and also be prepared in case it happens.
Practice makes perfect
As in schools and workplaces, consider doing a drill at home and make sure everyone participates. Everyone has to be out within two minutes and at the designated meeting place. Do this at least annually. This will not only keep the knowledge fresh in everyone’s minds, but it will also allow you to spot any new obstructions or hazards. If it has been awhile since your last fire drill, now would be a good time to have one.
Check appliances regularly
Have a licensed electrician check for overloading, especially when you increase the number of appliances. To avoid overheating, there should be enough space around the appliance. Switches and electrical cords should be checked regularly too, to make sure they are in good working order.
Safety first, always
Do not try to cut costs when it comes to items that could potentially cause fires. Cheap butane canisters should not be refilled with LPG. Also, NEVER smoke in bed and never leave candles unattended.
Important emergency numbers
995 for fire and ambulance and 999 for police.
If a fire breaks out…
DO NOT PANIC
Remain calm and alert others of the fire by shouting. Turn off gas mains if you can reach them, and activate the fire alarm at the nearest manual call point.
GET OUT, STAY OUT and call for help
Do not use the lift, instead leave via the stairs. And, do not run back to save your things. The SCDF hotline is 995 but it would be also good to know the number of the fire station nearest to your home.
CRAWL low under smoke
Most fire-related deaths are caused by smoke inhalation, not by the actual fire itself. Cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth and avoid inhaling through the mouth. Get down, keep close to the ground and crawl towards the point of escape under the smoke.
NEVER open doors that are warm to the touch
Use the second exit, or if you are trapped, place a wet towel under the door. Wave a brightly-colored cloth or use a flashlight to signal for help from an open window.
STOP, DROP and ROLL
If your clothes catch fire, stop running and remain calm. Drop to the floor immediately and roll over from side to side while covering your face with your hands to smother the flames.
NEVER hide in your rooms!
You may be scared, but never hide during a fire. Try your best to find a way out. Get outside.
How to Use an Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers can be a small but important part of the home fire safety plan. They can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or suppressing it until the fire department arrives.
But there’s an important addition to that statement: Don’t even think about buying a fire extinguisher until you’ve already got a good home fire evacuation plan.
Fire safety experts advise that you attempt to extinguish a fire only if you have first made sure that everyone else has left or is leaving the building, and that someone has called the fire department. Remember, lives are more important than property.
Here’s how to use a fire extinguisher [if you didn’t already know how to use one]:
Pull out the safety pin while holding the extinguisher in an upright position.
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. This removes the source of the fire.
Squeeze the top lever to release the agent. Be sure to hold firm as letting go of the handle will stop the discharge.
Sweep side to side to direct the discharge over the entire area of the fire.
Take note of these tips and stay safe!
Related: Check out the Household Fire Safety Checklist in the Civil Defence Emergency Handbook