These tips are by no means exhaustive, but they are essential components of a proper fire-prevention scheme.
- Water is Not Always the Solution
There are four classes of fires and each requires unique measures to contain. Class A fires for instance can be put out with pressurized water, foam or multi-purpose dry chemical extinguishers. A Class B blaze, on the other hand, can be contained with carbon dioxide, ordinary dry chemical and multi-purpose dry chemical extinguishers. Make sure that you know how to choose and use the proper fire extinguisher.
- PASS Your Way to Safety
To operate an extinguisher using the PASS method: Pull the pin, Aim at the base of the flames, Squeeze the trigger and Sweep from side to side.
- Practice Fire Prevention
As in medicine, the best cure is prevention. Why wait for a fire to start? Set up fire safety measures such as prohibiting smoking in fire-prone areas, avoiding an overload of electrical cords, checking for damaged electrical equipment, etc. In general, fire prevention involves depriving a fire of any one of its three sources: fuel, oxygen and heat. Eliminate one and you can nip any fire in the bud.
- Know the Emergency Action Plan
As much as you have a role to play in fire prevention, it's not really your job. When there's a big fire, don't play the hero. Call in the firefighters at once. Just be familiar enough with your Emergency Action Plan and the Incident Command System so you won't panic and will know what to do. Make sure you know the R.A.C.E method: Rescue - Alarm - Confine - Extinguish/Evacuate.
- Stay Low, Stay Alive
Seventy-five percent of fire-related deaths are caused by carbon monoxide poisoning due to smoke inhalation. Many die not because they burn but because they suffocate. Once a fire is raging and you're caught in it, stay as low as you possibly can – crawl along the floor. The toxic gases in smoke start high and slowly descend, and so to be down close to the floor is to increase your chances of survival and escape.