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Emergency Alerts
How to evade smoke during fire
2017-10-20 14:43:00 gdemo.gov.cn

When a fire occurs, the foremost “enemy” for us is not the unbearable heat or fire, but the heavy smoke. Statistics show that 80 percent of the victims during a fire are choked to death rather than being burned and those who appear to be burned are actually killed by the inhalation of toxic smoke or gases before getting burned. Although the heavy smoke is dreadful, people can escape from it as long as taking  proper methods.

 

Method 1: Use a wet towel to cover nose.

 

Step 1: Prepare a cotton towel (Note: Do not use wet chemical fiber for it is easy to suffocate you).

 

Step 2: Soak the towel thoroughly and screw it to half wet (Note: It could be difficult to breathe if the towel is too wet. Therefore, the water content should be generally controlled under 3 times the weight of the net towel);

 

Step 3: Fold the wet towel 3 times and stack it into 8 layers. Cover your mouth and nose with the towel which acts as a simple gas mask.

 

Step 4: Get low to the floor and crouch when the smoke is not too thick and crawl on your hands and knees when encounter heavy smoke. The smoke is thinner 30 cm above the floor.

 

Method 2: Wait for rescue

 

If the escape route is blocked by the fire which has not yet spread inside the room, close the doors and windows and plug gaps and holes to prevent flames or smoke fleeing into. Hot doors or walls indicate that the fire is approaching. In this case, do not open the window or the door. While covering your mouth and nose with a wet towel, you can also use soaked quilts or other things to cover vents or cracks, and constantly water them. Wet towels can be replaced with other cotton fabrics.

 

Method 3: Evacuate rapidly

 

If the fire is in the vicinity and the smoke or gases are spreading to you, you must leave within 2 minutes. Otherwise, the room will be filled with smoke within 3 minutes and you could not be able to identify the direction in 4 minutes.  Afterwards, those who get stuck in the room will be stifled to death. If you live in the second or the third floor, you should immediately run downstairs; if you are above the fourth floor and suddenly see the smoke or gases, chances are very slim for you to escape directly facing the smoke or gases. You can try to escape through other channels or stand on the balcony or other obvious places to send a distress signal and wait for rescue.

 

Method 4: It is not safe staying at the highest storey of a building.

 

Many people think that the highest storey of a building is furthest from the ignition source and therefore the most secure, but that is a fatal mistake. Smoke spreads upward rapidly along the floors and can quickly reach the highest level of a building.  The smoke will not descend to the lower storeys until the top storey is filled with smoke. Before that, the smoke density and temperature of each floor are significantly lower than those of the highest floor. Therefore, when you are at the highest storey and find no way to the rooftop, you should quickly go downward to the middle area in between which is far away from both the ignition source and the highest area. You’d better stay at the refuge floor and inside a room with a solid door and enough water to wait for rescue.

 

Method 5: Transfer rapidly when the downstairs catch fire

 

When the whole building is caught in smoke and you are trapped in your own room, the first thing you should do is to look down and check whether there is fire in the corresponding room downstairs. If the room downstairs catches fire, the fire could quickly spread upward. Therefore, you should quickly transfer to the room on the other side of the building. The window of the room you stay in should not be on the same side as the ignition source and can’t be right above it in particular. Moreover, as a solid door can at least withstand 20 to 30 minutes of the burning and  the fire-proof door can withstand more than 1 hour, you should water those doors and cool them to prolong resistance.

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