Fire safety advice for first aiders
Fire is a constant risk in every home and workplace. Although not professional firefighters, first aiders should at least have a basic knowledge of fire safety. Small fires can be put out with a fire extinguisher or fire blanket (but be careful never to use a water extinguisher on an electrical fire). On discovering a serious blaze, or if a minor fire grows out of control:
- Raise the alarm. Make sure everyone in the building evacuates.
- Get straight out. Don’t investigate the fire or stop to collect valuables or pets. Close doors behind you as you go. Before you open a door, touch it with the back of your hand; if it feels hot then the fire is on the other side. If a room is full of smoke, crawl along the floor where the air is cleanest.
- Call the fire brigade (911 / 999 / 112). Give an exact location and describe what type of building is on fire. Tell the operator if anyone is trapped inside.
- Don’t go back in. If anyone is still trapped, the firefighters will be able to find them much faster than you can.
If your escape route is blocked:
- Try to climb out of a window on the ground or first floor. Throw bedding and cushions to break your fall, and then lower yourself by your arms from the window ledge before dropping.
- If you cannot escape then get everyone together in one room, close the door and seal around the bottom with clothing or cushions. Open a window, shout for help and stay where you are.
If someone’s clothes catch fire, make them immediately stop, drop and roll. By dropping to the ground, wrapping tightly in a heavy fabric and rolling on the ground they will smother the flames.
Provide immediate first aid treatment for any burns. Check out our free online first aid course module: first aid for burns