Tuesday, January 20, 2009


3rd February 2008, a hostel in Chile caught alight, and ten backpackers died in the blaze. A horrible story with a very unhappy ending.

Would you know what to do if a fire started in your hostel? Or would you panic?

I’m not sure I would have the faintest clue what to do and was very happy to hear that Flarebrands (creators of the Flaresafe – portable smoke detector/torch) have put together a free guide on how to survive (and prepare for) a fire.

Some handy tips mentioned in the fire safety guide:

  • when checking in at a hostel, ask at the reception about fire safety measures
  • make a note of exit points when you arrive (smoke is likely to obscure exit signs)
  • remember that smoke is often more dangerous than the fire itself – cover your nose and mouth
  • if there is a fire – stay low: smoke and heat rises, oxygen sinks

These may sound paranoid, or overkill, but building a quick check into your routine takes so little effort, and could save you from what is a horrid horrid death.

Why is fire safety important?
  • House fires can be very dangerous. Thousands of children lose their lives in house fires each year.
  • Check your house for fire hazards and teach children fire safety tips.
  • Every house or apartment should have a fire extinguisher (on each floor) and smoke detectors (in every bedroom). Escape ladders may be needed for upper-level bedrooms.
  • Your family should have a fire escape plan. Practice the plan.
  • Teach children what to do in case of fire. Teach them how to test doors for heat and how to stop, drop, and roll.

What can we do to prevent fires in our home?
Fire prevention is a very important step in fire safety. Check your house for fire hazards and follow these safety tips:

Cords and Appliances
  • Don't plug too many cords into one socket. Make sure children understand this when using video games, toys, or hair dryers and curling irons.
  • Don't run cords under rugs.
  • Make sure night-lights and lamps don't touch fabrics, such as drapes or bed spreads.
  • Avoid using electrical or portable heaters. If you must use one, keep it away from bedspreads, drapes, etc.
  • Throw out appliances that overheat, smoke, spark, or smell unusual. Or, keep them out of reach of children and do not use them until they are repaired.

  • Don't let children use the stove or other kitchen tools without supervision.
  • Don't leave food cooking while you are not in the kitchen.
Small Flames
  • Supervise your children if they are doing art or science projects that involve flames or electrical tools.
  • Don't leave lit cigarettes around the house. Completely put them out before walking away.
  • Don't smoke in bed.
  • Keep lighters and matches out of the reach of children. Children can easily find them in purses, drawers, etc.
  • Keep candles out of children's reach. Put them in places where they can't be bumped off from below.
Nighttime Safety
  • Most fires happen at night.
  • Sleep with bedroom doors closed to hold back smoke.
  • Rooms without windows should not be used as bedrooms.
for more info on fire safety guide, click here

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