Incidents of fires are becoming increasingly frequent in residential and commercial complexes. Sudden fires can be safely tackled without taking undue risk if the fire is in the incipient stages. When such fires occur, first thing is get access to the nearest extinguisher. If the type of extinguishers is suitable to the type of fire (Class of fire), it can help to safely fight fire without the risk of injury. While fighting fire, it is important to ensure your own safety as also the safety of everyone in your proximity.
Before attempting to use an extinguisher, operate the fire alarm to make others aware of the situation.
Here are some simple steps that can help to fight fire accidents:
- Recent incidents of fire have occurred due to faulty electrical connections or overload on electrical outlets or poor maintenance. It was found that in all the major incidents, safety equipment is not installed in electrical systems, making the buildings prone to electric origin fires. It is possible to prevent the fire even before it starts by using circuit breakers and fuses if overload or overheating is detected; this is the easiest way to stop power supply and preventing outbreak of fire.
- If the fire is small or in incipient stage, fight it with portable extinguishers (ensure that the extinguisher is suitable for the fuel involved in the fire). If the fire is not controlled after operating 1-2 extinguishers or if it grows too fast or produces large amount of smoke, do not attempt to operate extinguishers further, evacuate the place and call fire brigade immediately.
- If it is confirmed that electric power supply has been isolated, you can also attempt to use hose reels on the incident scene. Once fire is controlled, wet the burning material thoroughly, as also surrounding material to prevent reignition. Do not try it with large fires as they will need higher flows and range due to the large amount of heat given out.
- In a high-rise building, it is important to evacuate safely as conditions can quickly become dangerous if the fire grows. Therefore, if the fire cannot be extinguished using portable extinguisher/ hose reels, it is advisable to evacuate the building immediately, especially for children and elderly people who may need help/ assistance for evacuation. Once safely out of the building, gather at the assembly point so that a head count can be taken and missing persons can be identified.
- Fire incidents are difficult and challenging situations, however if fires are detected early (in incipient stage), they can be safely tackled without any need to panic. While it is important to inform the Fire brigade immediately, simple and correct actions can greatly reduce the impact of the situation. These basic guidelines/ actions can be immediately taken in order to prevent a major fire occurrence at residential and commercial buildings, and reduce losses.