Although newspapers are inundated with reports on fire incidents at villas and apartments like many of us, I too used it read it and brush it aside until last month, when my best friend had a miraculous escape from fire… was she careless? No. Did she switch on the gas stove and forget all about it? No!
Her only mistake was that she took an afternoon nap with her 3-year-old son after finishing her household chores. She woke in a hospital ICU badly burnt, unable to speak or even breathe without support. Her 3-year-old son was also in a similar state. So, what had happened? The cause is being investigated but said to be due to an electrical short-circuit in the living room.It’s not the fire alone, but the smoke that is fatal. Your sense of smell cannot awaken you from the danger of fire. What is even worse is that the smoke, which contains carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulphide and various other chemicals, interferes with the supply of oxygen to the body. This causes disorientation, swelling of the delicate lining of the airways, which numb your senses, pulling you into a deeper sleep rather than waking up, resulting in Death…
The only reason my friend and her baby were saved was because her elder son,who got back home from school early as he had exams, and alerted the neighbors and fire station.
Let this not happen to any of us… A couple of safety initiatives is all we need to take to avoid such mishaps:
☛ Install smoke detectors in your home. One can buy battery pow-
ered stand-alone detectors which gives out loud alarms in case of
smoke, which can alert you even when you are asleep.
☛ Do not go to sleep with your chargers on – be it the mobile,
the tablet or laptop (One of the major reasons for electrical short circuit).
☛ Go around the house and ensure that all the power plugs are switched off,especially before you go to sleep (it can drastically reduce our electricity
☛ Never leave cooking food unattended. Stay in the kitchen, and remem-
ber to turn off the burner or oven if you need to leave the kitchen or get caught up in a phone call.We are all used to fire drills in schools and office. Have a discussion with your family members on what needs to be done in case of fire at home.
Rules are simple: In case of fire, Get out, stay out and call for help. Never go
back for anything or anyone. It takes only 2 to 3 minutes for the fire to spread rapidly and out of control.
Be aware of the emergency telephone numbers of your area (UAE – 997,
India – 101, USA / Canada – 911). Write down the location of your apartment
as you may be in a state of panic when you call and may forget what to say.
(I am staying in flat number XXX of XXX tower on street XXX).
Although this may sound clichéd –Safety is as simple as ABC, …
Always Be Careful
ARTICLE COMPILED BY Padmaja Menon
(A QHSE professional based in Abu Dhabi with more than 8 years of
experience. She is certified in NEBOSH IGC and IOSH and has been
involved in QSHE (Quality, Health, Safety and Environment) awareness
trainings at a corporate level.)