Keep-Your-Cool Tips for Fire Prevention Month
by Geraline Jorge
Summer months and dry season are the most crucial months for fires. March has been designated as Fire Prevention Month — a time when public service departments across the Philippines join forces to spread the word about fire safety.
Each year, the campaign focuses on different aspects of safety — from preventing fires to planning an escape route during a blaze. Different campaigns are launched throughout the country to ensure awareness.
The goal of Fire Prevention Month is to make the public more aware of how fires start, how to prevent them, and how to be protected during blazes. These days, children and adults can educate themselves about the dangers associated not only with fires, but with natural disasters and other hazards as well.
What you can do at home or at the office
Teaching fire prevention should not be limited to fairs or schools. It is also something that should take high priority at home and the office. Here are some ways to teach fire safety:
- Create and execute a fire escape route.
- Discuss and practice with family members a fire escape plan.
- Disseminate local emergency numbers.
- Conduct periodic, unexpected fire drills.
- Locate all of your home’s fire extinguishers.
- Purchase a fireproof safe.
- Put together an emergency supply kit including food, clothing, water, and safety supplies.
- Know how to use all of your appliances, including the heater, air conditioner and hot water tank.
- Know how to store unused matches and lighters.
- If a fire occurs, GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL FOR HELP. Never go back inside for anything or anyone.
At the Office
- Install and properly maintain all fire safety equipment.
- Know where fire alarm pull stations and extinguishers are located.
- Make sure you know the different types of fire extinguishers and how to use them.
- Don’t allow trash and litter to accumulate unnecessarily.
- Keep the office and dock areas neat and clean.
- Store hazardous materials in designated areas.
- Post clear fire escape plans on every level.
- Educate all employees on emergency procedures, exit locations, escape routes, fire alarms, and drills.
- Conduct regular drills.
- Disseminate local emergency numbers.
What to Do if a Fire Starts
- Know how to safely operate a fire extinguisher.
- Remember to GET OUT, STAY OUT, and CALL fire department or your local emergency number.
- Yell “Fire!” several times and go outside right away. If you live in a building with elevators, use the stairs. Leave all your things where they are and save yourself.
- If closed doors or handles are warm or smoke blocks your primary escape route, use your second way out. Never open doors that are warm to the touch.
- If you must escape through smoke, get low and go under the smoke to your exit. Close the doors behind you.
- If smoke, heat or flames block your exit routes, stay in the room with doors closed. Place a wet towel under the door and call the fire department or your local emergency number Open a window and wave a brightly colored cloth or flashlight to signal for help.
- Once you are outside, go to your meeting place and then send one person to call the fire department. If you cannot get to your meeting place, follow your family or office emergency communication plan.
What to Do if Your Clothes Catch Fire
- STOP what you’re doing.
- DROP to the ground and cover your face if you can.
- ROLL over and over or back and forth until the flames go out. Running will only make the fire burn faster.
- Once the flames are out, cool the burned skin with water for three to five minutes. Call for medical attention.
Don’t wait until disaster strikes to find out about fire safety. There are many websites dedicated to fire prevention that can help you figure out a good plan of action. There are also briefings and orientation from your local community and in the office that you can attend to educate yourself. The key to prevention is the right information.
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