What To Do When A Fire Breaks Out?

Earlier this year, pictures and videos circulated around the social media of fire breaking out at a famous holiday resort in Langkawi. Last year, a famous golf club in the Klang Valley had the same misfortune. The Department of Statistics Malaysia a total of 50,720 fire incidents was recorded in 2019, increased by 24.1% as compared to 2015.

Do you know that 50% to 80% of fire deaths are the result of smoke inhalation injuries, including burns to the respiratory system? The hot smoke injures or kills by a combination of thermal damage, poisoning and pulmonary irritation and swelling, caused by carbon monoxide, cyanide and other combustion products.

While fire causes vary from case to case, it is also important for us to minimize the chances of them happening as much as we can. These are some simple tips which can help you to take a more proactive step in fire prevention.

  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside every sleeping are using a hard-wired system so the signal can be heard throughout the house. If you can, consider a professionally installed monitored alarm system. Remember to check the batteries regularly and replace them semi-annually if you opt for battery operated smoke alarms.
  • Check your gas and electrical items before leaving the house or if you are going to take a nap.
  • Educate every family member on what to do should a fire break out.
  • Have an emergency escape plan and practice them from time to time.
  • Keep multi-purpose fire extinguishers (class ABC) in areas accessible to the kitchen, utility rooms and garage.
  • Make sure you have all the keys to your locks and grille at accessible and easy to remember places.
  • Keep candles away from drapes, upholstered furniture, and other flammable items. Never leave candles unattended or place them in high-traffic areas where children or pets might knock them over.
  • Do not charge your electrical items overnight especially your laptops, mobile phones and power banks.
  • Do not overload extension cords or use indoor extension cords outdoors. Keep extension cords out of reach of children and pets and store them in safe places once they are used.
  • Don’t run cords under carpets. The wire can fray or be pinched by heavy furniture and start a fire. Also, don’t nail or staple through the cord or light wiring.
  • Have an escape ladder for each occupied room at home.
  • Inspect all extension cords and lights for frayed wire, cracked insulation or excessive kinking before using them.

What to do when a fire breaks out?

  • DO NOT PANIC. It is easier said than done but once you panic, you will lose sight of what you need to do.
  • Make sure you operate a fire extinguisher correctly.
  • GET OUT, STAY OUT AND CALL 999. Do not be tempted to take your belongings with you. Your life is your most important thing at stake.
  • If closed doors or handles are warm to touch, use an alternative route if needed. Never touch warm handles.
  • If you are unable to exit and is stuck in a room, place a wet towel under your door. Open the window and signal for help.


[Image source: People photo created by jcomp]

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