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FIRE SURVIVAL
DR DAVID CLEVELAND
CLEVELAND78@LIVE.COM
FIRE SURVIVAL

More than 4,000 Americans die each year in fires, and approximately 20,000 are injured. Deaths resulting from failed emergency escapes are particularly avoidable.

In the event of a fire, remember - time is the biggest enemy and every second counts! Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for a house to fill with thick black smoke and become engulfed in flames.

When a home is filled with smoke, it give rise to a very dangerous situation. Occupants may find it difficult to see very well. The smoke and toxic gases may cause dizziness and disorientation. In the confusion, one can easily become lost or trapped. Family members must understand that their safety depends upon quickly leaving the home.

However, although time is limited, we must never lose control of our ability to think. If you are caught in a fire, don't panic. Decide for yourself what you have to do. Resist the urge to follow what others are doing. They may be doing things without thinking and this may lead to their destruction. Many injuries had happened to people due to pushing and shoving during a stampede which would not have happened if everyone were to make an orderly escape.

Statistics shows that 40% of the time people die in fires. Often it's because they just stay in their room and hide in their closet or even under their bed. Sometimes pets will hide under the bed or even inside a wall. Little kids get so scared that they hide in the closet. The next thing you know, they're trapped. Don't have the mistaken idea that you will be safe in the bathroom - water can boil and you will be cooked!

So even if you do not actually see any sign of a fire, don't stay in your room, but get out as quickly as you can. do not waste any time saving property. Take the safest exit route.

Usually, the thick smoke will make visibility poor and sometimes, the electrical power may be cut off if there is a short circuit.

So knowing that visibility may be hampered during a fire, if you are in a new place, it makes good sense to get to know where you are and identify the escape route. Many hotels have location maps posted on the doors. Pay attention to them. Very often there are two or three escape routes. Similarly, you should also be aware of the exits in crowded places like discos, theatres, or community halls. If you are working in a factory, you should take note of all the exit points.

If there is smoke, go down on the floor, walk on fours or even crawl if you have to. This is because hot air, including smoke will rise up. Many people become victims of fire due to inhalation of smoke rather than getting burnt. If you have a wet handkerchief you can use it to cool down. One breath of smoke or gases may be enough to kill.

Suppose you are in an unfamiliar location, cannot see because of the smoke or poor lighting condition, and are not sure where the exit is, what do you do then? The best advice is to feel around until you reach a wall. This is your starting point. By using your hands to touch the wall, and always moving in one direction, you will eventually reach a door. All rooms have doors. Don't make the mistake of changing directions along the way. You may miss the exit door by a very short distance.

When you use your hand to feel, it is better to use the back of your hand to feel, because they are more sensitive to heat than the palm. When you feel your way around like this, be aware that there may be some obstacles like fallen furniture or beams blocking your path. Don't let them deter you, but keep going in the same direction. If you find anybody, get them to hold each other's clothes or shoulder and try to keep together, the front person feeling his way, while the back follows, holding hands or in touch.

Let's say you have reached a closed door. If it feels hot, don't open it but use your alternative escape route. Even if the door feels cool, open it carefully. Brace your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. If heat and smoke come in, slam the door and make sure it is securely closed, then use your alternate escape route. The high pressure from the other side may cause fire to rush out and even cause an explosion.

Remember fire needs oxygen in order to burn. That's the reason for slamming back the door. In buildings, there are usually fire doors that have to be closed all the time. In case of fire, these doors will help prevent the rapid spread of fire. Usually lift lobbies and staircase are protected from smoke by the fire doors. In case of fire, these are the escape routes for you to go down quickly to the ground. In shopping complexes with large open spaces, fire roller shutters may have been installed that will come down to the floor in case of fire. But you don't have to worry because there will still be escape doors that can be opened. These fire roller shutters effectively isolate the source of the fire from the rest of the building.

Don't leave the doors open after you have gone through them, because when there is a flow of air, the fire will spread more rapidly. However, it should be noted that sometimes, firemen will deliberately open some doors to channel away the smoke, so that they can move on to effectively fight the fire directly or do boundary cooling to prevent its spread. But they have expert knowledge and they know what to do.

When you are at the lift lobby, don't use the lift. The electrical power may be cut out anytime, and you will be stuck. There are no lift attendant at these times to help you. Use the staircase.

In summary: It has been proven that exit drills reduce chances of panic and injury in fires and that trained and informed people have a much better chance to survive fires in their home or workplaces. It would be a good idea to remind people of what to do through posters, cards or other graphic means.

Thomas Yoon specializes in cartoon illustrations that will make an impact on people's opinions. More information on M & E engineering.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Thomas_Yoon

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