“In the event of an emergency, never use the elevator. If there is a fire in the building, this may disconnect the power, and you’ll get stuck. Instead, use the fire exit door. Before opening, check the temperature …” – an expert said.
In urban areas, high-rise buildings are increasingly at risk of fire hazards. However, not a lot of preventative measures have been taken to keep these buildings safe. We often hear about being bushfire-ready, but how much thought is given to being prepared for a fire in your house or apartment? When a fire breaks out in a condominium, everyone needs to know the correct safety measures. Ho Chi Minh Fire and Rescue Police Department has the following specific guidelines to keep everyone safe:
1. Know evacuation routes
Whether you live in an apartment building, or work in a high rise building, get familiar with its evacuation routes. Know the shortest and fastest path to the nearest staircase, and know where any alternative exit routes are located. Find available emergency exits with indicator lights (or hear announcements via radio). You should talk to the building’s management about specific emergency procedures. Preparing and paying close attention to these details will put you in a better position if there is an emergency.
2. Take the stairs
Never take the elevator in the event of a fire emergency. Practice taking the stairs occasionally if you live or work in a high rise. You need to make sure that you’re familiar with how many floors there are and how long it takes to run down the stairs.
Turn back if you notice smoke coming from lower levels of a staircase. If possible, make your way to the building’s roof. Keep the door to the roof open to help clear smoke from the lower levels of the staircase. This will help those who might be incapacitated and allow emergency respondents easier access.
3. Keep keys handy
If you’re staying at your apartment, be sure to keep your keys (or key cards) handy as you evacuate your room and floor. In the event that the hallway or stairwells are blocked, you’ll need to return to your room, seal off any cracks around your door, cover vents, and use a flashlight or light article of clothing to signal your location in the window.
Remember to check your room’s doorknob before you exit in case there is a fire in the hallway.
If you work in a high rise office, follow similar procedures in case all means of exit are blocked. Close your office or suite’s door, and make sure it’s unlocked or keep your keys or key cards handy if it locks automatically.
4. Escaping procedure
Once on the roof, make your way upwind (walk in the direction the wind is blowing), call emergency services if you haven’t already done so. Let them know your exact location.
If you have to cross through fire, use a wet blanket or coat to cover your body. If possible, use a water-absorbent towel to cover your nose. This will help you to limit the inhalation of poisonous gases. Note: If you have to open the door, check the temperature before opening (by touching the door). If the temperature is too high, absolutely not open.
If you cannot access the main entrance, move to the balcony or open the window. Then from the balcony/window shout out to everyone. Immediately call the Fire Department (No. 114) to inform your specific location.
While waiting for firefighters, try to look for the means of salvage available in pre-equipped buildings such as rope or rope ladders. Note: It is important to remain calm. Do not act out of impulse and attempt to jump down from your apartment because it will be very dangerous.