Table mountain blew out quite a bit of smoke last week. Five days (was it more?) of raging fires were systematically fought by some of the country’s best firemen. Let’s take a look at what you can and should do in case of a fire emergency.
There is going to be at least one moment of panic when you realize that the world is on fire around you. Flames blazing (or even just threatening to blaze) is enough to bring anyone to a certain level of hysteria.
The aim is to not give in to panic. Panic has a tranquilizing effect that can cause even more havoc than the emergency itself. Stay calm, breathe and remember every bit of useful information you have ever learned about handling fire situations.
Find an Exit
It is imperative that you find your way in the opposite direction of the fire as soon as you possibly can. If you are indoors, make sure that you see no smoke or flames coming through the cracks / ventilation areas of a door you are planning to exit.
If you do see flames or smoke coming from the other side of the door, find a different route out. If there is no other way, open the door slowly and stay as low to the ground as possible. This will at least give you a chance of sustaining minimal injuries in case the fire comes raging in when you open the door.
Be a hero
This does not mean you should run back into the flames to save the family photos. Being a hero in an emergency situation means doing everything you know how to do to insure minimal damage.
Close doors on your way – this can prevent the fire from spreading.
If there is a fire alarm, pull it / sound it.
If there is a fire extinguisher, use it.
If there is a minor / person of weaker stature, help them.
Use the stairs, not the elevator.
Firefighting is a skill but there might not always be a skilled professional available to help you. This means that you should make every attempt to equip yourself as best as possible to nail the basics of firefighting. Take a course, ask a firefighting friend for tips and tricks and read up as much as you can to make sure your brain has enough information to fall back on when fight or flight kicks in.