Did you know that, according to the Department of Community Safety, there is a house fire in Queensland every four to five hours? Recently, there have been many horrific tales of deaths due to house fires in Brisbane – and these increase dramatically in winter. Sadly, many house fire deaths are avoidable with proper planning. Does your family have an emergency exit strategy in place in case a fire breaks out?
Up in smoke
“House fires happen at lightning speed – it only takes about thirty seconds for a small flame to burst into an uncontrollable blaze. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable as they are slow to move, lack the strength to smash a window in order to escape and get scared and confused easily,” advises John Burton, General Manager at Davcon. “Plus, one of the major drawbacks with certain security doors and windows is that they may imprison you if you need to make a quick emergency exit. When Davcon goes out to assess a home for Crimsafe security doors and windows, we also discuss emergency measure with homeowners.”
Davcon’s emergency exit strategy
1. Evacuation plan : identify at least two emergency exit routes in every room – a door and a window. Plan and practice emergency escapes with your whole family, including young children- and do some drills in the dark so your family can feel their way out if necessary. Identify a gathering spot outside for your family to go to as soon as they are out the house.
2. Personal safety : plan who will fetch very young babies, the elderly, disabled people and pets to ensure they can escape a fire. Educate everyone on standard fire safety rules, such as crawling low under smoke during an emergency exit, if necessary with the face covered by a wet shirt or cloth to minimise smoke inhalation. Remind your children that once they have successfully escaped a burning house, they should never go back inside for any reason, but rather wait for the fire brigade to arrive.
3. Emergency exit security windows : if you have security doors and windows it’s vital to ensure that some are designated as emergency exits and can open easily from the inside. Crimsafe Safe-S-Cape windows are specifically designed to serve as emergency exit windows. A Davcon consultant can discuss with you the operation and positioning of Safe-S-Cape windows. These emergency exit windows unlock from the inside without keys – one flick of a quick-release switch is all that’s required and these are easy to operate by children. Each Safe-S-Cape is also marked with fluorescent stickers to ensure they are easy to locate. As added protection when risking touching hot security screen windows and doors, all Crimsafe products hold a high fire attenuation rating (45%), which means much less heat is transferred through them during a fire than other products (average 25% rating).
4. House fire safety sense : ensure your home has sufficient good quality smoke alarms with fully charged batteries and that adequate fire extinguishers, fireproof blankets and torches are easily on hand in a central location known to every family member. Also regularly check that your electrical system is in order and observe candle, cooking and smoking safety at all times. Remember that while planning a proper emergency exit strategy is vital, it would be best if you never had to use it at all!