Fire Safety 101- What to do if you’re ever in a fire

As we carry out our day-to-day activities, we take umpteen precautions to ensure our safety. We wear seatbelts when traveling, baby proof our homes and lock our windows and doors at night for safety. However, when it comes to battling against emergencies such as fire, we often fail to see the bigger picture. With failure of concerned authorities, a lack of awareness among the public and inadequate safety measures, the fire accidents have tripled in number within the last two decades in our country.

Thus, fire safety has become more important than ever. Let us see what we can do to avoid such tragedies.

Plan ahead

Families and offices must have a well-rehearsed emergency escape plan sorted out. Make a checklist that not only includes a list of necessities but also the list of helpful phone numbers available in the area to call as soon as an emergency fire situation arises.

Papers and valuables

Since the fire can take place any time, it is wise to keep copies of all your important documents. Along with these important documents, storing photographs and other valuables, which hold special sentiments, may also be useful.

Fire safety at workplace

When Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defense (BFSCD) carried out a yearlong inspection, the results frightened us.Less than hundred establishments had tisfactory fire-safety initiatives out of the inspected 2612 establishments.

The alarming statistics show the urgency to ensure a workplace with extensive fire safety measures. This starts with eliminating all workplace hazards such as damaged electrical outlets, cables and cords as well as overloaded circuits. Smoke detectors, fire sprinkler systems, multiple fire extinguishers and help for disabled and older employees must be installed in every floor of the office. Employees must know about emergency exit routes, fire safety training, emergency procedures and using fire extinguishers. Regular fire drills are another way to prepare employees better. Smoking should take place outdoors only and cigarettes should be extinguished properly in sand-filled cans. It is also of utmost importance to instil confidence in employees to stay calm and not panic in case of fire emergencies; rather, everyone should deal with the situation by working together calmly.

House fires

A house fire can rapidly spread and prove to be deadly. To avoid this, it is important to install smoke detectors/alarms in the house and constantly check that they are in working order. Never smoke near curtains, sofas or other fabrics. Adults must also instruct kids to stay away from lighters, candles or matches, educate them about fire safety and teach them about the escape routes. Be extra astute when cooking, maintaining distance from fire. Moreover, switch off all electrical and heating equipment when not in use to avoid accidents.

A two-week workshop on ‘Fire Safety in Buildings’ was arranged last month (February,2019) for professors of BUET by the department of architecture. Similar such sessions, workshops and seminars should be arranged at residential buildings, universities and workplaces to increase awareness, educate people about fire safety and to equip them with necessary knowledge for emergencies.

Let us take these little steps and do our part to prepare ourselves before or during a fire and ensure our safety. In a country where we head out of our houses everyday not knowing if we will be able to return alive, is it not better to be safe than to be sorry?

Paying attention to flight safety instructions: Why it matters

We often hear people saying that they prefer cars over aeroplanes because aeroplanes might crash. That fear, however, is misplaced and as irrational as it gets. Chances of a plane crash are much lower than a car accident or a lightning strike or a shark attack for all that matters. In a survey done by the American National Safety Council in 2015, they found that an average American has a 1 in 114 chances of dying in a car crash. While in the case of aeroplanes, the chance is 1 in 9,821. Sadly, no such data exists for the Bangladeshi counterparts but it is safe to say that the numbers would probably look similar. The fear around planes is understandable, however. For when an accident happens, it is usually more fatal than a regular car crash. Accidents do not happen very often. But with proper air travel safety ensured, the chances of a fatality are much lower even if the plane crashes due to an unfortunate event.

Ironically, whenever we get on a plane, the most ignored part of the journey is usually the safety instructions by the cabin crew. Here’s why you should pay more attention to them next time on:

Switch off your mobile phones/Turn on airplane mode

Why you should pay attention to flight safety instructions

During every air travel, the cabin crews instruct us to turn off our mobile phones, especially during take off and landing. These warnings are often overlooked as we keep talking on our phones or using it even when the plane is taxiing and taking off. This simple rebel act of not caring enough can cause serious fatalities as the mobile phone signals often interfere with the radio signal communications between the pilots and the ATC. Slight gaps in information exchange can lead to serious disaster. Keep this in mind the next time you’re not switching off your mobile phone following the instructions. Your life may as well be in your own hands.

Following the emergency procedure instructions

Why you should pay attention to flight safety instructions

So, you’re sitting in your seat, all strapped up, waiting for the plane to take off and the cabin crews are blabbering and making weird hand gestures and all, boring right? Life savers actually. Do pay attention to what they are saying, how to use the oxygen mask, how to put on the life jacket, where the emergency doors are and how to open them etc. In case of an emergency, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you don’t know what to do just because you weren’t paying attention. Those boring blabbers and weird hand gestures can save your life.

Seat belts are your best friends

Why you should pay attention to flight safety instructions

It’s best to wear seat belts all the time even when the lights aren’t on. If the lights are on, do not open your seat-belts in mere disregard. Even if the plane isn’t in a crash, a serious turbulence can throw you off and injure you and other passengers. They are there to keep you safe. Use them. It doesn’t hurt.

Keep calm and wait for the plane to stop

Why you should pay attention to flight safety instructions

This is perhaps the most complained issue about our air travels. Please, wait for the plane to come to a full stop before you unbuckle and start getting your overhead luggage out. This is serious as most of us tend to ignore this one. If the plane is still moving on the runway by the time you’re walking about with your luggage, waiting to get out, there is all the chance in the world that if the plane skids or anything happens, you will be one of the firsts to suffer from an injury whereas if you were seated with your seat-belts on, you might be saved! Why take our chances for granted, right?

Some Basics

Even though most of these will be covered by the cabin crew’s instructions and best if you follow their words, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with a bit of a heads up. So here are a few basic air travel safety on a plane journey:

1. Always keep wearing the seat-belt when the lights are on. Best to wear them all the time.

2. Keep your dining boards up and towed during take-off and landing.

3. In case of a drop in the air pressure, oxygen masks will most likely come out. Wear yours first before helping others. In case you’re travelling with a child, wear yours first and then help the child wear it. This is important because you may last a maximum of 15-20 seconds without oxygen and if you collapse, you cannot take care of the others.

4. Always follow the crews’ instruction to locate where the emergency doors and life jackets are in case of an emergency

5. Do not carry sharp objects, inflammable objects and canisters in carry on.

Despite all the fear and concerns, Air travel is still the safest medium to travel. If you aren’t convinced, look up the stats on Google. Numbers do not lie. Stay safe and Happy Travelling!