How would your family escape your burning home?
June 30, 2014barriehol
Hundreds of thousands of people living in the UK’s high-rise flats and maisonettes are putting their lives at risk because they have not developed a fire escape safety plan.
In London alone, three-quarters of a million people have no plan for what they would do in the event of a fire, with half of them doing exactly the opposite of what the fire service would recommend – leaving their home to get to street level, which firefighters say is a dangerous move.
A survey conducted by London Fire Brigade has found 760,000 Londoners do not know what to do in the event of a fire, with 50% of residents saying they would leave their home – a move considered dangerous by the brigade. In response to the findings, LFB has launched a new website https://www.london-fire.gov.uk/about-us/our-campaigns/know-the-plan/ to give tenants and landlords practical and helpful information.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson says: “Flats and maisonettes are built to give you some protection from fire – a minimum of 30 minutes and up to an hour. Walls, floors and doors will hold back flames and smoke for a time.” He urged all residents to devise a plan and make sure that everyone knew it, adding: “Stay in the flat unless heat or smoke are affecting you.”
Meanwhile, a one-stop web resource supported by every UK Fire and Rescue Service in the UK offers advice about how to create an escape plan, and advocates every household having one. It’s something they hope you’ll never need to use, but that could save your life and those of your loved ones should the worst happen.
The advice comes in easily understood bite-sized pieces of advice:
• Plan together. Involve the children as well as adults in making the plan. The younger ones will remember it better that way.
• Devise a route. Make sure the escape route is practical. If it isn’t, develop a ‘fall-back’ position of having a room where you can gather. Push bedding or clothes around the edge of the door to hold back smoke.
• Dial 999. Make sure the children know how to do this as well, and can recite their address when asked by the emergency services.
• Shout for help. If you can’t open a window to shout for help, break one and lean out if you have to. Double-glazed units will break most readily if you hit them in the corners with something heavy.
• Escape. If you must escape through a first-floor window, and there are adults and children present, one adult should go down first, then both can help with the children before the second adult completes the escape. Don’t jump from the window; lower yourself from the sill to minimise the risk of injury. If you’re in a bedroom, consider throwing a mattress down first to help with the landing.
If you are concerned about how you would escape from your home in case of fire, don’t worry, help is at hand. No matter how old you are, or what type of house you live in, the Fire and Rescue Service will help you devise an escape plan, free of charge.