7 fire safety tips that can save your life (based on SCDF recommendations)
In the wake of the recent inferno at London, it is wise to revisit the fire safety instructions, be it for home, workplace, or schools.
We all know about the recent fire at a residential tower in London. It is numbing that more than a dozen lives were lost in something that could have been entirely avoided.
As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our loved ones are safe. Luckily, Singapore has strict norms when it comes to fire safety in the buildings, both commercial and residential. That said, it is also our responsibility as citizen and parents to spot fire hazards and avoid domestic fires. Let us see how to avoid fires, and in the unfortunate event of a fire, how to be safe.
1# Check your house for fire safety
It is estimated that 60% of domestic fires originate in the kitchen. However, anything and everything in the house could cause or spread fire (including water, if it is an oil-fueled fire). There are some rules that you should follow in the kitchen. Here is a list if things you should check at least every month, if not more frequently.
- Ensure that you have a working smoke detector alarm system in place.
- Check the tubing of the cooking gas for signs of wear and tear.
- Do not store more than one LPG cylinder in the kitchen.
- Use fire-resistant plywood for furnishing the house, and the kitchen in particular.
- Do not smoke inside the house, especially when you are going to sleep.
- Keep the candles at a safe distance from the bed, carpet, and curtains. Extinguish them before sleeping.
- Use extension sockets with safety marks instead of overburdening one electric outlet.
Rest of the house
- Switch off electric appliances when not in use.
- Don't forget to unplug the iron after use.
- Use an electrician instead of undertaking any electrical work on your own at home.
- If you do, ensure that you use a good quality insulation tape.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy at home if there is none on your floor.
- Do not throw flammable things down the refuse chute.
- Keep flammables like matches, lighters, out of reach of the children.
2# Learn how to use a fire extinguisher
Fire extinguishers have evolved over the last 50 years and have become easier to operate as well. However, in the event of a fire, there is no time to read the instructions. So, educate yourself and your family, including older children about the use of a fire extinguisher.
If you have one at home, replace it regularly as indicated on the cylinder. Here is a list of the types of fire extinguishers that you can use. For most of the fires, a dry powder or a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher would work well. However, you also need a fire blanket for kitchen fires, especially caused by cooking fats and spirits.
3# Don't block the fire escapes
The fire escapes and the stairs should be kept clear of everything. So don't litter near the fire escapes. If you find that the fire escapes are locked, bring it to the notice of your residential management. If you can, arrange for a lecture on fire safety every year. A detailed list of posters on fire safety is available at the end of this article. Do spend time in going through them once.
4# Educate the family about fire evacuation procedure
Fire can happen anytime. It is important that there is an escape plan ready for your family. Here are the things you need to ensure.
- Take the fire drills seriously.
- Everybody should know the shortest and the safest way out of the building.
- No one is to use the lifts.
- If a child spots a fire, he/she should tell an adult immediately.
- It is not the time to pick up valuables. Just run out of the building to the fire assembly area.
- In the event of a fire, the most effective way out is to lay low and move.
- Plan an escape route. Ensure that the route is not blocked. And figure out an alternate escape route in the event that the original escape route is inaccessible.
5# Unless you are trapped, exit by the stairs, avoid lifts
If you are in an unfamiliar place, like say, the mall, spot the fire exits. Play a game of 'spot the fire exit' with your children. This way, you know where the nearest stairs are.
When you are moving out of a building on fire, discipline is the key. Go in a single file with an adult at the lead and the children in tow. Avoid stampede. Keep calm and use your NS training to the best of your abilities.
6# If you are trapped
If you are trapped in your house, move to a room with a window. Call 995 and let them know your situation. Open the windows as widely as possible and shout for help. Do not attempt to jump. Do not throw anyone down. It is dangerous.
7# Rescue if you can but don't be a hero
If you can, rescue those who need help. However, in the events of fire, the oxygen gets consumed faster and the chances of you fainting increase. So, if you can, rescue. If you cannot, just leave the building. This will help the experts in a way - one less fainted person to rescue from the building.
Mums and dads, here are a few resources from the SCDF website for your use. Read them and be prepared in case a fire breaks out.
Stay safe Singapore.