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How to Help, Not Hinder, in a Real Fire Situation

Sage Bourgeois - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

People, instinctively, want to lend a hand in an emergency situation. Our survival instinct kicks-in and we look for ways to keep ourselves safe, as well as those around us. Even with all those good intentions, there are things that people do in these situations that can hinder the performance of the first responders and put other's lives in more danger.

Nothing is more important than notifying the proper authorities immediately if you see smoke or fire. Simply pulling the nearest fire alarm will set the evacuation process in motion. Distance is the best solution for staying safe in a fire situation. Next, call 9-1-1 from a safe location. Remain calm and speak clearly to the dispatcher. The information you provide will be relayed to the appropriate team of first responders. The more detail you can provide to the dispatcher, the better prepared the first responders will be to effectively deal with the emergency.

Do’s

  • Perform routine inspections and updates to your fire and life safety equipment. This includes fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, emergency doors, and kitchen fire suppression systems.
  • Keep adequate records of your equipment and their inspection dates.
  • Keep doorways and corridors clear.
  • Be aware of any flammable material and share their specific location(s) with first responders.
  • Close a door behind you if it is safe and clear as you exit the structure.
  • Make note of other people who may be around. Notify a responder if someone is unaccounted for.
  • Move your vehicle if it could interfere with a passage for firefighters or firefighting equipment.
  • Be ready to answer questions and offer details of the home, building as well as where the fire originated.

Don’ts

  • Don’t get in the way. Stand at a safe distance and let the first responders do their job.
  • Don’t use elevators during a fire emergency.
  • Do not re-enter the building for any reason.
  • Do not tamper with any fire safety systems or fire safety equipment.
  • Do not raise false alarms.
  • Do not continually interrupt responders with questions and concerns. There will be time for that later.

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