Fire Disaster Preparedness

Fire Disaster preparedness

Fire disasters are the most unpredictable types of disasters. A small fire can grow into a huge uncontrollable inferno. It is a type of disaster that is fuelled by other factors other than the root cause. For instance, a fire disaster may be caused by a cigarette dropped on dry twigs at the edge of a forest and be fuelled by wind and any explosives that are close enough to the place where the fire is. Fire disasters can be very devastating because sometimes the fires take days to be put out. Preparing for a fire disaster is preparing for a situation where survival is the only thing that matters. For the cases of hurricanes and earthquakes, some property may be salvaged if the intensity is not very strong. Fire disaster prone areas are desserts and forested areas during summer. The fire disasters in these areas can cause devastating damage. The fire disasters can also be manmade caused by electrical faults and gas leaks among other causes. These man made causes of fire make fire disasters unlimited to specific places. Fires can also occur on water bodies when there is an oil spillage or the explosion of a vessel. Fire disaster preparedness can be divided into sections; individual, family and institutional among others.

Plan for an individual

Personal planning for a fire disaster is the easiest because it is just one person. When one is planning for themselves, they can accurately pack the survival pack. An individual knows what they are planning. Cases of allergies and pre-existing health conditions are easy for an individual to take care of when packing a disaster preparedness kit. However, when personally planning for a fire disaster, one has to have knowledge on the extreme events that a fire can deliver to a town or city or even a house when it occurs on small scale. The individual planning for a fire disaster must be educated on how to manage fire, prevent spread and most importantly to save themselves first. The prevention of spread and management comes in after the individual is safe. 

The plan for an individual includes; having fire extinguishers close to where the individual can reach. The individual has to be trained on how to use a fire extinguisher and how to use other things like soil and blankets when managing a fire and rescuing people from a fire disaster respectively. Such skills are important in ensuring that an individual is ready to survive and save other people when a fire occurs.

In a disaster kit for an individual contains supplies for one person to survive with for at least three days. This kit is supposed to help an individual survive for as long as possible before help is found. The minimal requirements for an individual’s emergency kit include; food and water that should last for at least three days for evacuation purposes and at least two weeks for basic survival where the access to these supplies is cut short. This means it can have food and water to last for more than three days. All weather clothing, water proof, windproof and protective from sun as well as shoes that can be used on any terrain. They have to be durable and well designed for hardships. Blankets or sleeping bags, these should be light but warm so that it is easy to carry and run with. Radio, torch and batteries to ensure that at no point does one loose a source of information. The emergency kit should also have dust and gas protective wear. For the case of fires, the gas masks will be handy in preventing the individual from inhaling harmful gases (American Red Cross, n.d.). The food packed has to be preserved food that can last a long time without going bad without refrigeration. The emergency pack must also have a source of fire for cooking. Any special needs that an individual has will be included in their emergency packs. If the individual has a child, they will have to include baby formula, diapers and at least a toy. All these items will be safest kept in a fire resistant packaging like a bag made of asbestos. 

Plan for family

When planning for a family, the disaster plans will be extensive and more intense due to the composition of a family which typically has at least two age groups of people. For a family emergency plan, the adults have to be taught how to handle a fire disaster. The first step is always to ensure that the emergency exits in the home are well maintained. The second step is to ensure that the access to children’s room is easy and have fire exits. This is to ensure that when going to save the children, there is a quick way out of the house without necessarily going back to find alternative exits. The grown-ups have to constantly train the children on how to use the fire exits in case of emergencies. At a young age in my home area children are taught to pack emergency packs. The fire training is also a common practice because of the large number of forest fires that occur during summer. The family houses are usually fitted with fire extinguishers at strategic places within reach. This is because, the town is small, and therefore, the houses are close together and are also very close to the edge of the forests. This set up makes fire disasters very dangerous. People have built underground rooms where they put away their emergency packs. This is because when an extreme fire disaster occurs, the chances of the ground being wiped bare are high.

When packing a family emergency kit, the requirements are basically the same as those of an individual with a variation in quantity of items. For a family pack, for instance; food and water should be enough for at least two weeks in case where the supplies are inaccessible. For fire disasters that require evacuation, the supplies should last at least three days. This a sharp contrast to the three day pack for an individual. For a family, the children’s supplies are included. This includes baby formula for infants, diapers, and clothing to protect them from the harsh weather conditions that might be outside. The packing for children is supposed to be in such a way that even when the family is forced to sleep outside, the child is unharmed. The evacuation scenarios in a fire disaster are common when it is buildings that burn. In my town, these are the events that have led to families building safes for their emergency packs underground. 

Plan for the work place

All work places must have a fire emergency plan in my town. The institutions must take measures to prevent fires from occurring in the first place (Jefferson. Home of SidneyKimmel Medical College, 2016). All buildings are usually regularly monitored and inspected to ensure that the exits are easily available. The way the buildings are put up, they include fire extinguishers that can handle all types of fires. For instance; a fire caused by an electrical fault is well put out by powder extinguishers because water extinguishers can potentially cause more damage. The workers in a place have to be trained on how to move during fires, avoid running and not try to save any property. Training is important in dealing with fire disasters. For a school, all classes must have quick access to fire exits. The school should also have fire assembly points for workers and students as well as any other people within the compound when the fire disaster occurs. The most important thing for people to in an institution to understand is that trying to save property may cost them lives and this should be the last thing anyone tries to do. In a school the teachers have to ensure that all the pupils and students are the assembly points for easy fire management and rescue operations. The fire management tactics in such a setting including locking doors of rooms that have been cleared of people during a fire. This slows down the spread of fire within the university buildings. 

In an institution, the emergency packs are supposed to have blankets, water, and gas as well as dust masks. These three items are important in ensuring that people can be kept warm in case they get sprayed with water being used to extinguish the fire. The institution should also invest in first aid kits for the sake of the individuals who may get injured when the fire breaks out. The first aid kit should have all allergy medication and additional medication for people with conditions like asthma and diabetes. This makes it easier for the institution to ensure that the individuals within their premises are out of life threatening danger after escaping the fire. 

In conclusion, training and information on fire emergencies is important (Fire Emergency Preparedness Planning, n.d.). It is the only thing that can determine whether people survive a fire and live to tell the story or succumb to the flames. Emergency planning in an area that has had a history of fires will be developed to make fire management easy and attainable. There are many ways of doing this including building houses and structures with materials that prevent fire damages from being intense. These areas also have intensive fire management training. By the time a fire disaster gets to a point where people have to grab their emergency packs and make a run for their lives, all other means will have been exhausted. Fire management is important even in areas that have not had a fire disaster before. A fire disaster is the type that can wipe out a whole town if it is not well managed. Fire management also demands more than training, it requires quick critical thinking skills. People have to make split second decisions to save lives, their own and those of others. The fire management skills are not limited. Anything that can save a life when a fire breaks out is considered a lifesaving skill. The fire disasters have to have back up form fire stations. These should always be well equipped and all institutions and homes have numbers to call in case of emergencies. This is to ensure that professional managers can be accessed at all times when there is a fire disaster of whatever magnitude. When the fire is too big, they have the skills to help people evacuate danger zones. Fire fighters are important in all fire situations.

References

American Red Cross. (n.d.). Be Prepared for aN Emergency. Be Red Cross Ready! Retrieved from American Red Cross: www.redcross.org/templates/render/renderCanonical.jsp?pageCan=/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/be=red-cross-ready/get-a-kit

Fire Emergency Preparedness Planning. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.toy-icti.org/info/planning.html

Jefferson. Home of SidneyKimmel Medical College. (2016). Internal Disaster Fire Plan. Retrieved from Jefferson. Home of SidneyKimmel Medical College: www.jefferson.edu/university/facilities_managment/safety/environmental_health_safety/disaster-fire-plan.html

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