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- Do not use elevators during a raging fire. You may feel that it’s the quickest way to safety, but in such circumstances it may be much safer to use the stairs because
- Fire can short-circuit the elevator call button on the fire floor and therefore trap the elevator at that floor – not good at all.
- An elevator, being a ‘natural chimney’ can quickly fill with smoke, and there are no windows to let the smoke out. This means people could easily get trapped in it and suffocate to death.
- Someone may say, but we have a generator. But at that period of fire outbreak, it is very likely that even the one whose job is to put the generator on is busy on the lower floors trying to put out the fire. So, where does that leave you if you are trapped in the elevator?
- One more reason why it is not very advisable to use elevators in a fire is that: Everyone in the building is trying to evacuate at the same time. Can you afford to wait for the elevator to go down and come back up instead of taking the stairs? Remember that the elevator will stop at each floor where the button has been pressed on its way to the ground floor, while the destructive fire, and the deadly smoke that accompanies it is very busy consuming as many parts of the property as they can.Also, is it not better to leave the elevator for the fire department to use in getting their firefighting equipment up?If there’s a power cut or malfunction while you are in the elevator, that means that whether you come out of that elevator alive or in ashes depends on whether the issue is addressed within a limited time.
2. How to know if a destructive fire is in the next room, and what to do: Before you open a door, first touch its handle or its surface to see if it is hot. If either is hot, it means there is much fire in the next room. We cook in our kitchens every time and the door is always cold. So a hot or warm door is a sign of a fire that should be avoided if possible. It is then advisable to use a different escape route if one exists. However, if that is the only escape route, then, open the door slowly, and if the fire is too much that you cannot safely pass it, close the door, and use a wet cloth or duct tape to block the bottom of the door, and the keyhole to prevent the toxic smoke from coming in. These techniques will buy you time, and increase the chance that people will reach you in time, or that you will be able to escape through the window.
3. If the fire is in a public building, turn on the nearest fire alarm and alert people who are at risk. Shout loudly to alert everyone.
4. Call the fire service. It is advisable to have the emergency numbers of the fire service, the police and the ambulance services on your phone as one never knows when they might turn in handy. Someone may say that the fire services in his area don’t usually arrive on time during fire outbreaks. While this may be true, due to such issues as traffic congestion, it is still important to contact them, as there is still a lot they can do, even if they are late. There is this story about a fire where the fire services arrived only when the fire had almost destroyed a building and burnt to death most members of the family resident in it. But they were able to put out the fire in the toilet,
and save one member of that family who was hiding there. Sad but, better than everyone dying, right? So, never discountenance the importance of calling the fire service.
5. If you discover the fire early while it is still small and you have useful material like fire extinguisher or blanket, you can try to smother the flames; but If the fire has taken hold and you cannot put out the fire in 30 seconds, it is advisable to leave the building to safety.
6. If you discover that you are trapped by the fire…
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