A fire spreads quicker than you think, giving you little time to act accordingly and in safely manner
3 October 2018| Last updated on 3 October 2018
Fires can happen for several reasons and while the cause might be a mistake, the outcome is usually extremely evident.
Fires can destroy everything and anything that stands in their way and have the ability to burn down forests, houses and buildings in just a few minutes – often taking some lives.
And this was the sad case of a family of eight based in the Abu Dhabi emirate on Tuesday.
A vicious fire blaze that started on the ground floor of the family’s villa, swept through the two-stories and took the lives of eight family members before firefighters arrived at the scene.
The fire took the lives of two adult women and six children aged between two and five years old.
While you might think fires are extremely rare in the UAE and the likelihood of you experiencing an incident like this is unlikely – fires can start by simple causes and don’t need much to change the course of someone’s life.
Which is why it’s important to know the correct ways to behave in the case of a fire emergency – so here are 6 things you should know.
1. Plan an exit strategy
Fires can start by a simple mistake but stay alive with the help of three things; heat, fuel and oxygen. So by eliminating any of these three factors, the chances of putting out the fire increases.
Which is why you need to always plan an exit strategy no matter where you are – office, home or school – search for the emergency exits and the fire extinguishers and keep them in mind.
2. Place valuable belongings in a bag
One of the main reason people can get injured in the event of a fire is that they rush through the flames to grab their valuables and belongings.
But fires can spread within minutes and can easily harm you – instead place any valuables in a bag that you can grab right away.
3. Stay low and crawl
If you haven’t managed to exit a building that is on fire then don’t panic – just get as low as you can on the floor and start crawling to the nearest exit.
The reason for this is because as the fire is spreading in the building, so is the smoke but as the smoke travels upwards, you can still catch some fresh air as you stay low.
Afterwards, its best if you grab a cloth to cover your eyes and mouth with to filter out any smoke you may be inhaling.
4. Close the door
Closing the door creates a barrier between you and the smoke and can truly make a difference – it stops (or slows down) the flames and the smoke from reaching you inside the room and can buy you some time.
But it’s important to note that you should never lock the door in the case firefighters need to come in to save you and your family.
5. Stop, drop and roll
It’s not uncommon for some people to catch on fire while attempting to run away – articles of clothing can easily catch on fire or you might be hit with something that is burning.
So remember these three words – stop, drop and roll. Stop running, drop to the floor and start rolling till you’ve put out the fire. This will cut off the oxygen to the fire and will help put it out in case you get to a fire extinguisher.
6. Educate those around you
The UAE civil defence is continuously working to educate people in the country on how to act accordingly in the case of a fire. Fire drills are done all over the country in schools, offices and hospitals and they make sure all the fire alarms are working in public and private institutions.
But you, as a homeowner, should do the same - educate your children and family about fire strategies and ensure that your fire alarm is up to date.