Fire disaster is the fifth leading cause of injury and death in the United States; the first four being accidents, falls, poisoning and drowning. Fire fatalities are the leading cause of death for children under 15 at home. More than 900 older adults (above 50) die in fire related cases. Roughly 80 percent of fire related accidents, catch people off-guard especially while sleeping. Thousands of people are disfigured for lives, injured severely beyond repair.
Why are fire disasters dangerous and how do they cause deaths? The leading cause of death is asphyxiation, three times more powerful than burns. Due to the spreading of fire, there is an increasing amount of deadly carbon monoxide and other toxic gases released in the air, which totally deplete the oxygen, leaving people breathless and suffocating themselves to death within minutes. The heat generated from the flames can be lethal and unbearable to a person who can even withstand severe heat. Fire releases black, dense smoke that stings the eye and blocks the vision, leading to confusion and panic. Here are ways in which you can prepare in advance to be saved from fire disaster:
Make a floor plan: Make a floor plan of the area and mark two fire escape routes for each room. This can come handy because one does feel disoriented during a fire break-out. You can also consider building escape ladders for areas like the second or third floor. Keep them near the windows. If the main escape routes through stairs are blocked, you can use escape ladders from the windows for quick exit.
Do fire drills twice a year: It is very important to do fire drills twice a year with the member of your family or office staff. Though we tend to think it is not big deal, we have seen that many people have been ‘trapped’ under fire attack when they could have easily escaped. So if you have a plan beforehand, your response action is measured, immediate and effective in an emergency state. It is even better to try evacuating the building blindfolded because it is normal to be blinded by the smoke in a fire-stricken situation.
Select an outside place to meet: In the process of the fire drill for your home or office, you should note the place where everyone has to meet once you escape the fire. People tend to run helter-skelter using different escape routes. So, if you all meet at one place, it is easy to decide who is out and who has to be rescued. This can be very useful when you are co-operating with fire-fighters.
Remember the number of your local fire department: Make sure that you know the emergency number of your local fire department by heart. You can imagine the plight when you have to search for the number when you are confronted by fire. Also if you are calling for help, do it so from an outside phone or neighbor’s house. The point is you should not waste your time calling for help when there is fire. Your priority should be to escape and help your family members get out fast. If you have a cell phone, you can carry it with you but you should never waste your time looking for the phone. Get out from the house or office first and then call for help