Today I became a part of the Emergency Response Team in my office & was trained on the basics of fire safety & safety in general. It feels awesome to be an ERT member & have the responsibility of saving lives! It's also quite scary. Our trainer talked about (and emphasized) how unsafe our environment is & anything can cause a fire. Did you know that anything around you can cause a fire? He showed us & talked about the many cases of fire where people lost their life due to lack of common sense & presence of mind. And jumping from a burning building is a strict no. The Carlton building fire, 9/11 & Tucson Hotel fire are some cases to highlight people's immediate reaction of jumping out of burning buildings. I wanted to talk about what I learned today & hopefully you will learn somethings too.
The first thing on my agenda now is to identify the most hazardous places in my house & office. before that, what is fire? What are the three key things required for a fire?
Oxygen, Heat, Fuel
Only if all these are present will there be a fire. Absence of any of these can't sustain fire. So this is the basic thing to keep in mind when we're in a fire situation. And fuel isn't just diesel or petrol; it's your carpet, your doors, papers, wires, anything. It's important to be aware of what around you can be fuel. So now, I will identify that area at home that all these three elements in abundance.
Did you know there are three classes of fire?
- A- Solid- fuel is wood, paper, cotton, textiles; anything that burns and gives ash
- B- Liquid- fuel is petrol, diesel, kerosene, paint, oils
- C- Gas- fuel is LPG, Acetylene, hydrogen, methane
- D- Metal- fuel is sodium, potassium, magnesium, lithium
- E- Electrical- transformer, welding m/c, generators, panel boards
For each of these classes there are different types of extinguishers too:
- Water (for solid fire)
- Foam (for Cooling + blanketing)
- Dry chemical powder- mono ammonium phosphate powder (for blanketing)
- Carbon di oxide (for blanketing)
If you notice on fire extinguishers there are alphabets written indicating the class of fire it's for. Usually most of them are A, B & C/B & C. They come in different sizes, weight, nozzles & designs. Buy the one that's easiest to handle for you. Also keep in mind that extinguishers need regular maintenance otherwise they might not serve your purpose.
So what do you do in fire emergencies? Remember this:
F- Find the fire
I- Inform the security/supervisor/fire brigade
R- Respond to the situation & try putting off the fire using the extinguisher
E- Evacuate everybody from the floor
Things to remember in these situations:
- Who should you evacuate first- Physically challenged & Pregnant women (keep their Mobile/intercom numbers handy always)
- After the alarm siren wait for communication
- The longest you should wait for communication is 30-40 seconds
- DO NOT give details of the emergency to people. It will only cause more panic. Just mention there's an emergency & they have to evacuate immediately.
- If there's media outside, don't let employees go close to them. It will cause unnecessary drama.
- Divert people to separate exits- evacuation will be faster
- If anybody catches fire, throw a blanket on them from behind & throw water. Water will stop the heat from reaching the tissues & bones and will prevent 3rd degree burns. Do not remove the blanket immediately; It will cause skin to peel off. But do uncover the head so they can breathe. If there's a pool around, just push them in.
So yeah, this is what I learnt today. We also practiced using the extinguishers. There were 4 types & I got to try two of them- the most difficult one & the most heaviest one. I did great with the heavy one; don't ask what happened with the other :|
Here's a video we watched today about seatbelt safety. Really liked it so thought I would share it.