6 November 2012

Today I popped into a 'prepare yourself for winter' day designed for the older generation* and picked up a few leaflets from the  Devon and Somerset Fire & Rescue Service.  

Much it was common sense, but one checklist which caught my eye was the Bedtime Check:
  • close inside doors - to stop a fire from spreading
  • turn off and unplug electrical appliances unless they're designed to be left on (such as freezer).  This sounds daft but I did do it once!
  • check the cooker is turned off
  • don't leave the washing machine on
  • turn heaters off and put up fire guards
  • put candles and cigarettes out properly
  • make sure exits are kept clear
  • keep door and window keys where everyone can find them
Another was How to escape from a high level building:
  • avoid using lifts and balconies if there is a fire
  • it's easy to get confused in smoke, so count how many doors you need to go through to reach the stairs
  • check there is nothing in the corridors or stairways that could catch fire - like boxes or rubbish
  • make sure doors to stairways are not locked
  • make sure everyone in the building knows where the fire alarms are
  • if you live in a flat, you should still get a smoke alarm for your own flat, even if there's a warning system in the lock
And also General Advice:
  • plan an escape route and make sure everyone knows how to escape
  • the best route is the normal one in and out of your home
  • keep exits clear
  • think of a second route in case the first one is blocked
  • take a few minutes to practice your escape plan
  • review the plan if the layout of your home changesbefore you open a door check if it's warm.  If it is, don't open it - fire is on the other side.
  • keep electrical applicances clean and in good working order
  • check furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label
  • don't leave the kitchen when cookers are on
  • regularly check the smoke alarm
  • fit suitable smoke alarms
And finally, What to do if there is a fire:
  • don't tackle the fire yourself - leave it to the professionals
  • keep calm and act quickly
  • get everyone out as soon as possible
  • don't waste time investigating what's happened or rescuing valuables
  • if there's smoke, keep low where the air's clearer
  • before you open a door check if it's warm and if it is then don't open it - fire is on the other side . . . and ....
  • call 999 as soon as you're clear of the building - this is free
* I didn't realise I was 'the older generation' until seeing the paper that 'an elderly person of 62' was rescued from somewhere - 62 elderly!!

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