Fire drills sure are annoying, aren’t they? You get your day (or night) interrupted by a wailing siren, and you’re then forced to drop whatever you’re doing and walk outside for a few minutes. And if you don’t find them annoying, you’ve obviously never had one happen while you’re in the shower.
Yes, these drills can be an inconvenience, but you have to do them for a reason. Fires can arise at any time, and these drills put a routine in your mind for what to do when your place of work or home gets set ablaze.
So let’s run through a fire drill of our own and lay out the steps that you should take during a fire at work.
First, don’t let it happen
Obviously, the best way to handle a fire is without the actual fire. Preventative measures should always be taken to ensure that there are no fire hazards at work. All electrical wiring and panels should be regularly inspected and checked to make sure that they are running properly and not cluttered together.
Also, all combustible waste should be properly disposed of in the correct location. All machines in your workplace should be properly maintained as well to avoid any overheating or explosions. And lastly, all emergency exits should be clear and all fire extinguishers should be fully loaded at all times.
Oh no, you let it happen
If you ignored that first section and actually set the place on fire, remain calm. The last thing that you should be doing is running around and screaming like a five-year-old who lost their mom in a grocery store. Let’s go through the steps that you should take to remain safe during a fire:
Step 1: Raise the alarm (not your blood pressure) and call the fire station
Fires can develop very quickly, so you should raise the workplace alarm as soon as possible. Also, call the Fire and Rescue service and give them the building name, address, and any other helpful information such as the size of the fire and location of it.
The emergency fire services will arrive quickly to snuff out the fire and sweep through the building to check for any stranded people. They do the hard part; you just need to get out of the building, which leads us to…
Step 2: Evacuate
Here’s where all of those annoying fire drills come in handy! As we said earlier, remain calm as you make your way to the nearest exit. Do not attempt to retrieve any personal belongings on your way out of the building. Your precious iPhone and and credit cards can be replaced at some point. You, on the other hand, can not be.
Also, never try to use elevators of any kind during a fire. They’ll likely stop working, and then you’ll be trapped inside a smoke box. On your way out of the building, make sure that someone puts their hand on all closed doors before entering them to feel if they’re warm or not. Also, the last person through should close all doors behind them to keep the fire from spreading too quickly.
If you’re finding that your escape route is full of smoke, get down on the ground and crawl to safety. The air will be cleaner down there.
Step 3: Get to the meeting point
When you complete those fire drills, you go outside to a certain location to meet up with everyone else. This meeting point should be a safe distance away from the burning building. You’d hate to escape the roaring fire only to have it blow up and get you outside.
Here, a headcount can be done, and you can wait for the Fire and Rescue service to arrive.
If you do end up trapped inside…
If you are unable to get outside or you just didn’t feel like paying attention during those fire drills, try to get to a room with a window. You should use some towels or clothes to block the cracks under the doors to prevent smoke from entering. And if your clothes ever do happen to catch fire, always remember to stop, drop and roll (it really does work!).
Hopefully, the closest you’ll ever come to a real fire is those pesky fire drills. As inconvenient as they might seem, pay attention during them and remember these tips. They might just save your life!
For more helpful tips and information, you can always visit us at www.safgard.com/education