A couple of weeks ago I volunteered to be a fire marshal for my section at work, yesterday I was invited to the Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre to be trained up. It was such a real and eye opening experience, we were taught so much in a fun packed day of practical demonstrations as well as class room teachings. The chief fire trainer was with us for the day and he shared some serious life experiences of the dangers he and his colleagues have to face every day. A team of brave men and women selflessly put their lives at risk for the health and safety of others. This is so admirable and inspiring, they are not just a team of people working together, they are family, they are friends, they socialize and even have a marching band that most of them participate in and go to different events together including marching in the St Patricks Day Parade. Seeing them interact with each other was very humbling as they would literally do anything for the other person and that shines through even in simple conversations or a nod of the head.
Now I’m not saying I am ready to fight off a huge fire and save the lives of everyone as firstly I am not equip with the knowledge or training to do so and secondly I really don’t think I am that brave but I will step forward in the event of an emergency and unsure that I can help to evacuate my building safety and quickly. I now have the skills to do this and in some cases I can handle a fire extinguisher or fire blanket to hopefully control and stop a fire but I now also have the mind set and common sense to know that in a lot of cases the best thing to do is to walk away from a fire, ensure people are out and close the door behind you trapping the fire inside until the professionals are at the scene.
After the day at the fire station I went home and checked my fire extinguisher to ensure it was up to code, just these few simple steps which could help you to be prepared in the event of a fire:
• On most but not all extinguishers there is a small circular gauge with red and green colours on it, the needle on the gauge must be in the green otherwise the extinguisher will not work when you go to use it. If it is in the red, you will need to replace the extinguisher.
• Ensure there are no visible cracks on the bottle or the hose
• Also another important lesson I learned yesterday was if there is a fire indoors and you are evacuating try to take the fire extinguisher out with you as if the fire gets very big the extinguisher can act like a missile and even shoot out through windows and hit someone on the other side, potentially life threatening!
• A fire blanket is always great to have as it can help to extinguish any type of fire so please invest in one if you can.
I could list so many other facts and dos and don’ts but I would be here all day and this post would be a heck of a lot longer than it is so instead I encourage you to do a small bit of research and give yourself a better fighting chance against fires and evacuation procedures. Be equipped with the knowledge of your workplace procedures but above all, do no try to be the hero let the professionals handle it. Make the call to the emergency services and follow their orders… Stay Safe!!!