December 6, 2016
ARE YOU AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
The recent loss of life at a warehouse fire in Oakland, CA brings up serious and important considerations for you and your loved ones when you're in public locations. Although the investigation into the cause is ongoing, the public can take the following steps to keep themselves safe in the event of a fire, earthquake, or any other disaster. Taking time to be aware of your surroundings will help you to be prepared in case of an emergency. The National Fire Protection Association recommends the following steps:
Before you enter
- Take a good look. Does the building appear to be in a condition that makes you feel comfortable? Is the main entrance wide and does it open outward to allow easy exit? Is the outside area clear of materials stored against the building or blocking exits?
- Have a communication plan
- Plan a meeting place
Identify a relative or friend to contact in case of emergency and you are separated from family or friends.
Pick a meeting place outside to meet family or friends with whom you are attending the function. If there is an emergency, be sure to meet them there.
When you enter
- Locate exits immediately
- Check for clear exit paths
- Do you feel safe?
When you enter a building you should look for all available exits. Some exits may be in front and some in back of you. Be prepared to use your closest exit. You may not be able to use the main exit.
Make sure aisles are wide enough and not obstructed by chairs or furniture. Check to make sure your exit door is not blocked or chained. If there are not at least two exits or exit paths are blocked, report the violation to management and leave the building if it is not immediately addressed. Call the local fire marshal to register a complaint.
Does the building appear to be overcrowded? Are there fire sources such as candles burning, cigarettes or cigars burning, pyrotechnics, or other heat sources that may make you feel unsafe? Are there safety systems in place such as alternative exits, sprinklers, and smoke alarms? Ask the management for clarification on your concerns. If you do not feel safe in the building, leave immediately.
During an emergency
- React immediately
- Get out, stay out!
If an alarm sounds, you see smoke or fire, or other unusual disturbance immediately exit the building in an orderly fashion.
Once you have escaped, stay out. Under no circumstances should you ever go back into a burning building. Let trained firefighters conduct rescue operations.