Fire Safety tips and precautions in school, public building and at workplace
If there is a fireplace or a portable electric or kerosene heater in a room, there should be a screen or barrier so that no one can directly touch the fire or the hot elements.
The room heater in school, public building and at workplace, should be so placed that no one trips over it. It should be so located that it does not get knocked over.
This will cause a fire. Hence, do not place it over rugs, carpets and other such easily combustible material.
Also ensure that no combustible material is so close to the heater that the material gets heated by radiation and starts to burn.
Never place oil lamps, incense sticks, candles, on or near combustible materials. These may fall down or the candle may burn down to its base and cause a fire.
Every house has important papers and items to store such as house plans, house deeds, insurance policies, passports, cash, jewellery, adoption papers, wills, property transaction papers, bank papers, important medical documents, horoscopes, school certificates, college degrees, etc.
These should be kept in a fire-proof filing cabinet which can withstand heat from a fire for several hours. Such cabinets should also be strong enough to withstand a fall of several metres if the floor gives in.
Such papers are irreplaceable and hence the extra cost of such a filing cabinet is well-justified.
Duplicates of all the papers should be maintained at other premises for safety’s sake e.g. in your office, at a friend’s or relative’s house.
Fire poses a severe threat in high-rise buildings since smoke rises up and the fire spreads rather fast to the upper floors. Hence, install smoke detectors and fire alarms on each floor.
There should be an escape plan from the house in case of a fire. It should take various scenarios into account in the sense that a fire could be in any one or more sections of the house simultaneously. Hence, one may need several alternate plans.
Practice the plans frequently to keep everyone aware, and paste an escape plan in the guest-room as well.
Children are likely to hide under a bed, inside a closet, or in a bathroom in case of fire.
They should be told that these are not safe places in such situations.
All windows and doors that have security bars should open easily from inside to provide a means of escape in case of a fire.
Fire extinguishers are very handy for putting out small fires. Each house should have at least one. It should be recharged as recommended by the manufacturer.
No one should try to save on the cost of such recharging since a false sense of security in an antiquated fire extinguisher is worse than not having one at all.
The use of the fire extinguisher should be taught and demonstrated to household personnel capable of handling such a unit which may weight a couple of kilograms.
However, if mishandled, the carbon dioxide or other gases released from a fire extinguisher can choke a person and cause significant harm.
In case of fire due to oil, grease or ghee, do not use water to put it out. Oil being lighter than water, will float over it and will continue to burn, thus spreading the fire all around.
Use sand over such fires. One can also try smothering the fire with a blanket, jute bag, etc. If it is in a pan, cover the pan, thus effectively cutting out the air supply to the fire.
In case of an electric fire, cut the power supply. Then throw sand on it or use an appropriate fire extinguisher. Do not use water, it being a conductor or electricity and may electrocute people fighting the fire.
In case of a big fire, do not try to fight it regardless of its origin. Get out of the building as quickly as possible and raise the alarm. Do not try to collect your belongings.
You may get trapped inside in the process as even seconds count in such a situation.
It has already been said that fire is a good servant but a bad master. Do not let it ever get out of control, even momentarily.
Remember – A minor lapse can cause loss of valuable lives, property and time.