Are you prepared in case of a fire at your home? Do you have a fire escape plan in place with the best fire safety equipment such as oxygen masks and gloves at the ready? If the answer is no then the time is now to get yourself and your family in the know and plan for the worst, that way you will know that you have done everything you can to help you and your family’s chance of survival during a house fire.
What causes a house fire?
Unfortunately fires occur every day in the home. Faulty electrics, candles, cigarettes and cooking equipment are just a few of the everyday items we all have in our homes that can easily cause a fire. We are all at risk of a fire in the home, not just those that smoke cigarettes or those that overload the plug sockets. All of us can have lapses of thought and walk out of the room with the candle still burning which catches on to a curtain; or we may use everyday electrical items that can be faulty without our knowledge and cause a fire with nearby soft furnishings. There are many websites and information services out there that can provide you with all the necessary information you need to help prevent and survive a fire and your common sense should be used at all times. Advice will always be to ensure you and your family are suitably prepared.
Time to escape from a fire
Fire has its own way of inhabiting time, it weaves its way through it, devouring the most invaluable and precious of items, leaving loved ones stranded and helpless in its destructive path. Time can be both your ally and your enemy when you or those that you care for are involved in a fire. The choices you make in preparation by ensuring you have the right emergency fire breathing and protective equipment available and accessible in your home is what can help give you and your family the vital seconds to escape the inevitable damage that can be caused by the so-called ‘elemental force of life’ and its poisonous smoke.
Smoke inhalation and risks to life
In the UK, according to Home Office National Statistics the most common cause of death for fire-related fatalities was being overcome by gas or smoke. Smoke that you wouldn’t breathe in with a well fitted fire safety face mask. The poisonous toxins and gases are inhaled into the lungs causing immediate damage and can, as the evidence clearly shows, be more fatal than the raging arms of the fire itself. The toxins and gases produced are varied and depend on the type of fire. When you or your loved ones breathe in those harmful smoke particles and gases, your airways and lungs become inflamed, causing them to swell up and block the vital element of life: oxygen.
Air we breathe in through our mouth and nose flows through the breathing tubes and branches out to our lungs where it meets the thin walls of millions of tiny air sacs at the end called alveoli. The oxygen passes through into the body where it flows around with the help of the blood where it feeds the cells of the brain, heart, liver and other organs to allow them to produce the energy they need to continue the vital processes, ensuring they in turn keep us alive. Without oxygen reaching our vital organs we will die within minutes.
If you or your loved ones were to be involved in a house fire, the contained area in which you breathe would fill up with smoke particles and toxic gases quickly. Your breathing tubes and lungs would become unable to provide the body’s most vital organs with enough oxygen to survive. This would cause a number of symptoms at first such as severe shortness of breath with rapid and shallow breathing, drowsiness, and confusion. All of which would be detrimental to the emergency fire evacuation procedure. Within only minutes, the continued smoke particle and toxic gas inhalation will cause respiratory failure and death.
Fire safety masks and other protective equipment
The best way to survive a fire is by ensuring you are prepared with a working smoke alarm, a clear escape plan and that you know where all your fire safety equipment is, making them accessible for emergency evacuation without a moment’s delay. This includes knowing where all your personal protective equipment is for you and your family such as face masks or hoods to help prevent breathing in the fatal smoke and allowing the air breathed in to be full of our needed oxygen. An effectively fitted fire safety mask will filter the air that you or a loved one breathes in during a fire. This can give you up to 60 minutes in which you and your family can continue to breathe in oxygen allowing you to escape. Some also have useful accessories such as gloves that protect your hands in the high temperatures that arise with a fire helping you to open doors and windows or move objects in your path, giving you that extra peace of mind that you are well organised in case of a fire.
Fires act fast and so should you. Once the fire takes hold you will have little time to escape through your planned evacuation route, before you are engulfed by smoke and flames; but by being prepared now you can help keep time on your side and oxygen in your lungs, reducing the risks of death caused by a fire in your house. Think now to protect and save lives with the correct fire safety breathing equipment and planned evacuation procedure before it is too late.