FIRE SERVICE WEEK: Planning key to fire prevention
In recognition of Fire Service Week 2016, NATION Online will be reproducing a series of articles on fire safety and fire prevention.
FIRE PREVENTION for homeowners, as well as office and public use buildings starts from the stage of planning and construction.
Buildings which are too close, and even those with trees growing between properties, are at risk of fire spreading from one house to another and another.
Whereas householders may think primarily in terms of their security from criminals, when it comes to doors and windows thought also needs to be given to how people can escape buildings in the event of fire.
This means there should be more than a single entrance/exit and that keys should be located nearby, although they should not be easy to pull through a window.
Windows should be easy to unlock from the inside and buildings of more than one storey should have two stairways on different sides to allow for entrance/exit.
Smoke detectors/alarms should be installed in homes as well as hotels, offices and public use buildings, and fire extinguishers placed in kitchens and on each floor building, or in every apartment.
Management, staff or family should know how to operate the extinguishers, which are simple to use and best when pointed at the base of the fire. Fire plans and drills help to keep people mindful of how to escape without panicking.
Flammable substances, for example those used in gardening or painting, should be stored away from the main building and only the smallest possible quantity kept inside.
The Barbados Fire Service makes the following recommendations for construction of buildings:
■ That sufficient provisions are made in the design of the building so that in the event of fire the occupants can escape to a place of safety by their own efforts.
■ That the internal linings of a building do not support a rapid spread of fire.
That the structure of the building should not collapse prematurely and should slow the spread of fire between buildings, and that fire spread be discouraged by spacing buildings sufficiently apart, and controlling the number and size of openings on boundaries.
■ That the building is designed in such a way as to aid the fire brigade to fight fire and effect the rescue of people caught in the fire.
■ That smoke alarms provided be installed in the home and office. The more smoke alarms you have installed, the better.
Having a fire extinguisher in your home can also increase your chances of keeping a small fire from getting out of control. Using both smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in your home, along with knowing what to do in case of fire, can save your life.