Fire in your building? Call 101 first

And then activate the fire alarm. Read this checklist to ensure your own safety and that of others in a fire emergency.

Assessing fire safety is crucial to any building – residential or commercial. What’s important is to be prepared to tackle the fire. Here’s a checklist of what you can do in case of a fire emergency and how you can be equipped to fight a fire in your building.

What to do in a fire emergency

  • In case of a fire, call 101 immediately. Never assume someone else has already done so
  • In a fire, activate the fire alarm in your building and shout FIRE at the top of your voice to alert others – yelling anything else can mean that others take longer to realise the seriousness of the situation
  • Do not get into a lift/elevator when there is a fire. Use the stairs
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth when caught in smoke
  • If you are caught in a room with smoke and cannot find a way out, close the door and seal all cracks with wet towels and sheets to prevent smoke from coming in
  • If your building is on fire, unless you are trapped, get out, stay out and call the fire service on 101
  • Heavy smoke and poisonous gases first collect along the ceiling. If there is smoke, keep low to the ground where the air is cleaner
  • Exercise caution when opening a window during a fire – it can bring in smoke or fan a flame
  • If trapped, listen to instructions from authorised personnel
  • If your clothes catch fire, do not run as it will fan the flames. Lie down and roll around. Smother the flames with heavy material like a blanket or coat

Be prepared for a fire emergency

  • Make yourself familiar with where the fire fighting equipment in your building is located
  • Regularly take a walk around to make yourself familiar with the fire escape routes in your building
  • Do not use walkways, corridors and passages as storage areas
  • Ensure that your building association organises fire drills once every six months and that you have a designated safe assembly area in your building
  • Regularly clean away waste material from your building that can burn easily
  • Make sure there are people in your office or apartment specially trained to deal with emergencies like fires
  • Those with special needs or differently-abled should discuss emergency plans with family, friends and employers

Fire safety equipment

  • Invest in a smoke alarm for your home or office
  • Make sure the smoke and fire alarms, public address system, water hydrants and fire extinguishers in your buildings are in working condition
  • Check the date on the fire extinguisher. Make sure it has been serviced and refilled on time
  • Learn how to use a fire extinguisher and when to use one

What not to do

  • Crowds around a building on fire can hamper emergency and rescue services. Call 101 and exit from the area
  • If you are not trained in emergency and fire safety, do not shout instructions to those trapped. You may confuse and mislead them
  • Do not secure fire exit doors in a manner where they cannot be opened easily
  • Do not open the door to a room if the door feels hot when touched with the back of your hand
  • Cigarettes should be smoked only in designated smoking areas where there are ashtrays. Do not smoke in bed or when you are sleepy

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