5 Mistakes People Make During a Fire

If a fire breaks out on your property, it can be a terrifying experience and it’s no surprise that people have a tendency to panic. While your fire drills may be well practised, a real fire is different and it can become difficult to remember the correct procedure.  

Despite this, it’s important to know what to do during a fire as well as what to avoid. Taking the right course of action could be the difference between life and death and in this article, the team here at Millennium Fire Protection will take a look at five common mistakes people make during a fire in order to help you avoid them.  

Incorrect fire extinguisher

While there may be a temptation to grab any old fire extinguisher when a blaze has occurred, one of the biggest mistakes people make during a fire is using the wrong type of extinguisher. 

Different fire extinguishers are suitable for different types of fires, and it’s essential you use the correct type. Using the wrong fire extinguisher can be ineffective, and in some cases even make the blaze worse. 

There are several different types of fire extinguishers including:

  • Water extinguisherssuitable for class A fires that consist of combustible materials such as wood, paper, fabric and textiles.
  • Foam extinguisherssuitable for class A and class B fires where the blaze could be caused by wood, paper, fabric, textiles, petrol or diesel.
  • CO2 extinguishers – suitable for class B fires that are caused by flammable liquids like petrol and diesel. Can also be used for electrical fires. 
  • Powder extinguishers – one of the most versatile extinguishers that can be used for class A, class B and class C fires (fires caused by flammable gases).

Overestimating the amount of time

Your commercial fire safety plan should always focus on a quick and safe evacuation. One big mistake people often make is to overestimate the amount of time they have to evacuate a building, taking time to collect belongings and other objects. During a fire, time is precious and should not be taken for granted. 

Make sure you leave immediately and do not waste time with your belongings or going into other rooms. 

Underestimating smoke

While a fire’s heat can be extremely scary, more often than not it is actually smoke inhalation that does the most damage. In fact, it is predicted that between 50%-80% of all fire fatalities are a result of people breathing in too much smoke. 

Again, evacuating as quickly as possible is the best way to avoid coming into contact with smoke. If you do have to move through smoke, try to cover your face and mouth so as not to breathe the smoke in. 

Bad planning

Many of the biggest mistakes relating to fire happen before a blaze has even occurred. Not having the correct fire safety procedures in place is perhaps the biggest cause of this.

Bad planning can be fatal as people will not know what to do or where to go if a fire does break out. Fire risk assessments are the best way to counter this, as they will provide you with all the information you need about potential hazards and what you need to do if a fire does occur.  

Not maintaining fire alarms

Similar to bad planning, not properly maintaining fire alarms can be a fatal mistake. Fire alarms act as your first line of defence in the event of a fire, and if they do not sound the alarm that a fire has occurred, it could cost you precious evacuation time. 

With this in mind, fire alarms need to be regularly maintained to ensure that they’re working correctly. Plus, if you own or manage the premises it is your legal responsibility to ensure that all fire detection systems are working correctly.          

At Millennium Fire Protection, we’re experts when it comes to fire safety in the workplace and can provide you with a whole host of products and services that will keep your staff and premises safe while also ensuring you don’t fall into the trap of the common mistakes outlined above. Our offering includes fire training, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, fire risk assessments and much more, and we operate in Harrow, Ealing, Watford and beyond. For more information, get in touch with our team today.