A house fire is the biggest nightmare for every homeowner. It’s far worse than a single robbery, since the burglars only take some of your valuables and leave, while flames may turn the whole property to waste, and even worse: severely injure your family members if they have the fortune of surviving the fire. Unfortunately, fires happen all the time, and even a highly secured and modern home may have to endure a fire. All you can do is prepare in advance: educate yourself about the correct evacuation proceedings, set up fire alarms, and get corresponding safety items, such as fire blankets, fire extinguishers and escape masks.
In case you wish to defeat fire, first you must understand its nature. The early flames might rise slowly, but in less than 30 seconds the fire can grow out of control. Every second counts, and you must deploy anything to stop it. The fire is also extremely hot, and the heat either keeps you from extinguishing the source up close, or burns your lungs, effectively rendering you unconscious. And last but not least, the smoke produced by the burning items quickly turns the room pitch-black, making it extremely hard to navigate and carry on with the rescue maneuvers. Even if you knew your house for ages, if it’s on fire and smoke is everywhere, you too will find it difficult to escape.
Formulating Your Own Fire Plan
There are several instructions available on the internet, full of advices in case of a fire. Everyone should have at least some basic ideas on how to rescue the residents if the flames are starting to spread. For example, keep your head low and crawl quickly to the exit, as smoke and the poisonous gases fill the ceiling first. Open up doors cautiously so you can close them again if the room emits fire and smoke. If your clothes catch fire, don’t flail around but instead drop to the floor and roll. If there is no way to escape to the street, barricade yourself in a safe room, close the vents, and block the cranny under the door so that the smoke won’t get in. Make sure to introduce your fire plan to your kids in a playful manner, and practice it while roleplaying. It’s also a lifesaver to have fire alarms as a part of your home security system, as the security monitoring team will be notified so they can send out the firefighters on your behalf, while you concentrate on keeping your family members safe.
Fire Blankets, Fire Escape Masks, Extinguishers
Fire blankets are made of special fabric and coated with a fire-resistant material, thus they are capable to smother the flames by cutting off the oxygen supply. This aid is perfect to counter small-scale fires – like a burning pan in the kitchen or a burning log next to a fireplace – but become useless if the flames spread to a larger area. However, you can still use them as shield, wrapping your body with it and escape. In this scenario it forms a perfect combination with an emergency escape mask. It’s a portable respiratory item that provides 60 minutes of filtered air. You can also wear it during CO leaking, or any emergency revolving toxic fumes.
Last but not least, the fire extinguisher. Home security experts recommend you install one on every floor, close to any location with equipment that involves fire in one way or another (kitchen, garage, fireplace). Some extinguishers use water, others are filled with dry chemicals that form the titular white snow. In any case, aim it at the source of the fire!
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