Local fires can be extremely hazardous events. There is perhaps nothing more frightening than seeing flames inside your home or smelling smoke. Fires may originate within the house accidentally or in your neighborhood. In either case, local fires can cause severe damage to property, burn injuries, explosions, and even loss of life. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), you have only one or two minutes to leave your house after the sound of the smoke or fire alarms. A few simple steps can keep you safe during fires and protect you from life-threatening injuries and destruction of your belongings.
Fire safety policies are generally put into place at the time of construction of the building. The local fire department also has regulations for responding to local fires. However, the first response in case of local fires should come from you. Read on to know more about how to protect yourself and your loved ones when there are local fires.
What Causes Local Fires?
Local fires may be caused due to a variety of reasons. Some local fires occur due to incidents inside your home while wildfires ignite in open areas outside the home. Wildfires are unplanned ignition due to natural reasons or human intervention. Many times, a discarded cigarette, a campfire, or even arson has been reported as the cause of wildfires. Winds stoke these fires, and they can spread across large areas.
Wildland fires are typically classified from type 5 to 1. Type 5 fires are the least severe, while type 1 wildland fires are the most complex. Type 5 fires are generally managed with local resources. Type 1 fires require extensive handling and up to 500 to 1000 personnel may be needed to control the fire situation.
Local fires that initiate at home may be caused due to carelessness, mishandling of electric equipment, accidental events, or sometimes by children who are unaware of fire-related dangers. In general, the types of local fires have been classified into 5 categories based on causes:
Fire management of each fire is different. Some fires may need a special kind of extinguisher. It helps to know what’s causing the problem when the firefighters arrive and also if you are trying to put out local fires yourself with a fire extinguisher.
10 Ways to Protect Yourself During a Fire
In the case of local fires, you need to know how you can stay safe and prevent burn injuries. It is essential not to panic and to remain calm in the event of local fires. Things will always be easy to manage if you are prepared for a fire crisis.
Self before Stuff
When a fire erupts, you may get anxious about any of your belongings getting damaged. However, you must put aside your worries about any object or article no matter how valuable it is and focus entirely on your safety. You need to ensure your safety and those of your loved ones and pets first and only later concern yourself with any material thing.
Try Extinguishing the Fire
If local fires start at home, you may extinguish them by using a fire extinguisher. However, fire extinguishers are not the same for all types of fires. The types are color-coded as below:
You will need to know about the type of fire extinguisher you have so it is effective against the fire you are trying to put out. Make sure the size of the combustion is manageable with a fire extinguisher. If you think the fire is spreading or becoming too dangerous, focus on protecting yourself and loved ones, rather than extinguishing the fire.
Make the Call
If you are feeling helpless during a fire, grab your phone and call 911 or 999 which is the number for the Fire and Rescue Service. If you cannot remember the resources to contact, place a call to any of your friends or relatives and instruct them to call the emergency public service numbers.
Look for the Nearest Exit
If a fire erupts in your home or surroundings when you are in a building, do not panic. Stay calm and think carefully about the location of the nearest exit such as a door or window. Try to remember any pre-planned escape route that you may have marked out and practiced. Calmly guide your family or friends along the escape route and leave the building. If nothing has been planned previously, locate the nearest exit and leave the building as soon as possible.
Get Low, Stay Low
Smoke released by a fire is always toxic. The flames emanating from a fire are less harmful than the poisonous gases that can suffocate you. It is best to stay low with your head about 12 to 24 inches off the ground. You can remain under the fumes of the fire by staying close to the ground and avoid inhalation of smoke.
Avoid the Elevators
You may feel elevators will take you down to the nearest exit faster than the stairway, but that’s a lousy idea in case of a fire. Why? Because the electrical circuits of a lift may become dysfunctional or ‘short’ during a fire. You will be trapped in a non-functional elevator with no escape route. Further, smoke and gases from the fire may enter the lift and suffocate you. Always use the stairs and stay clear of elevators in the event of a fire in your building.
Check for Fires before Opening Doors
You will look for the nearest door or window to escape from a fire. However, you may need to open a few doors or cross some rooms before you reach the closest exit. Do not open doors blindly. Instead, check to see if there is a fire in the room that you are about to step into. You can check for a possible ignition in the place you are about to enter by following a few steps:
In case there is no smoke coming in from the next room and the door and doorknob of the room are cool, you can carefully open the door and head to the exit. If a fire is there in the next area, quickly shut the door of that room tightly.
Stop, Drop, Roll
Stop, drop and then roll sounds like the catchy lyrics of a song, but this sequence can save your life in case of local fires. In case any part of your clothes catch fire, you need to stop moving, drop on the floor and roll on the ground to put out the flames.
In the case of wildfires, your regional fire department may give out an evacuation order. It is essential to leave your home as soon as you receive the order. In case of home-based fires too, leave your house as quickly as possible and do not re-enter until you are sure it is safe to do so as per the firefighters’ advice.
Limit Smoke Exposure
With wildfires, the air around the fire contains dust, ash, and fine particles harmful to your breathing. Wear a mask and shut the windows and doors of your home to limit toxic air exposure. It is also best to avoid smoking or lighting gas stoves during a wildfire to reduce air pollution.
Tips to Prevent Local Fires
The critical aspect of fire safety is the prevention of local fires. You can protect yourself from fires by a few simple steps. Read on for a few tips to prevent local fires:
Local fires are one of the leading causes of injury and death. They can cause devastation to life and property. You can protect yourself and your loved ones by following the points discussed above. Please remember that your life is more precious than any commodity in your house. Stay safe during local fires and once you are safe, try to help others in danger.