It is always tragic when someone dies in a fire. It is even more tragic when that death is caused by a smoke alarm that didn’t work, or a person who was burning a candle. With a few tools and some pre-planning, you can lower the risk of your program experiencing a fire incident.
This course will explore how you can be “fire smart” and “emergency ready.” As a Light of Truth Center employee or volunteer, you will learn about conducting effective fire drills, using a fire extinguisher correctly, and promoting general home safety practices. Throughout the course, you will read material about fire safety and prevention, visit other websites to learn more about how to keep safe, and have a chance to learn the material through activities and review questions.
Understanding the Nature of Fire
We’ve all seen fire on television and we all have some idea what a fire in our home might be like. We’ve seen the movies with brave firefighters who go into brightly burning buildings and rescue the dog and the baby. We think ahead of time about the valuables and keepsakes we would want to take with us if we woke up to a fire in the middle of the night. But what is fire really like? Below are some of the myths we have about fires:
Myth#1: “I’ve got about five to ten minutes to gather up the kids and a few valuables and get out after the smoke alarm goes off.”
Reality: Fire is fast!
There is little time! You only have (on average) about two minutes to escape. In less than 30 seconds a small flame can get completely out of control and turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house and the smoke will most likely kill you long before the flames ever reach you. In minutes, a house can be engulfed in flames. Most fires occur in the home when people are asleep. If you have to wake up clients and employees because of a fire, you won’t have time to grab valuables because fire spreads too quickly and the smoke is too thick. There is only time to escape.
Myth#2: “If I crawl and stay low to the ground, I can get out before it gets too hot!”
Reality: Fire is hot!
Heat is more threatening than flames. A fire’s heat alone can kill. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs. This heat can melt clothes to your skin. In five minutes a room can get so hot that everything in it ignites at once: this is called “flashover”.
Reality: Fire is dark!
Fire isn’t bright, its pitch black. Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness. Residents and employees who wake up to a fire may be blinded, disoriented and unable to find their way around the residence.
Myth#4: “If I have a smoke alarm, I’m protected.”
Reality: Fire is deadly!
Smoke and toxic gasses kill more people than flames do. Most household items contain chemicals that can burn toxic in a short amount of time. Fire uses up the oxygen you need and produces smoke and poisonous gases that kill. Breathing even small amounts of smoke and toxic gases can make you drowsy, disoriented and short of breath. The odorless, colorless fumes can lull you into a deep sleep before the flames reach your door. Residents and employees may not wake up in time to escape.