Fire Thoughts

The Smoke Alarm goes off.
Do not try to rise in a hurry you may fall over or make wrong judgements.
That may be because of smoke or fume inhalation or confusional arousal.
That’s when a person wakes up and remains in a confused unstable state for a time before fully waking up.


Anyway don’t stand up immediately, smoke rises.
The best air is low to the ground.


Turn a light on. If that fails use a torch.
Even if it works, hold on to a torch as electricity may fail in a fire.
Whether there is or isn’t smoke or odour, still act as though there is a fire.

Dump the old filament bulb types, today’s LED torches stand up to a ‘little’ more shock loading that the old bulbs do. Alloy bodies and something meaty also makes for a useful ‘self defence’ aid. I also prefer one with a wrist strap.

Get dressed in the absolute minimum, long-sleeved top, long bottoms, and something sound on your feet.

Slippers and flip-flops (beach wear) are not sound. Pumps, shoes, or boots are best.


If you have cotton or leather gloves, don them. Things may be hot and sparks flying. You need to cover up as much as possible. People with long hair should contain it, hat, scarf, or net. If you have a smoke hood, put it on.


Note:-This is just an example.
I don’t do recommendations.

Phone the emergency services. Current thinking is to get out before you phone.
My thinking is what if you are trapped. You waste time trying to escape and no one knows you are there. It takes 30 seconds to make a call, even if you just scream fire and drop the phone, a land line is traceable.
Then there is the bit about once out you can never find a public phone that is working.

If your land line phone is not working, use your mobile.
(See taking stuff a bit further down)
Generally the number is the same as the police i.e. UK 999, US 911, and Pan-European 112.


If your exit route is through the only door.
Feel the door for heat. The top will be hottest if fire is present.
Use the back of the hand WITHOUT A GLOVE ON.
Look for smoke entering through the door frame or bulging.
If the door is bulging it is probably air pressure built up by the fire.
DO NOT OPEN THAT DOOR as it will probably fly open under pressure followed by the fire.
If it is not bulging, open the door by lying down behind the door and open it slowly being ready to close it FAST if fire and or smoke surges through the gap.
If you have to stay in the room block up the gaps round the door.


If that happens, consider escape via a different route.
If you are in an elevated dwelling, consider that most modern high-rise buildings have a safety factor of one hour in a specified room. (usually includes the communal stairways).

If there is a fire escape ladder USE IT BUT as you progress downwards be careful passing windows or exits in case fire air pressure blows them out and showers you in glass.

If you exit a window NEVER JUMP.
If you have an escape ladder USE IT
If you have no escape ladder, lower yourself down to a full stretch before letting go.

Remember if the height to fall is more than you are tall, drop and roll “parachute landing” style. Feet together knees slightly bent, protect your eyes and face, and on contact roll. NEVER try to land standing.


If you can exit through the door, make your way to the fire exit closing any doors behind you. Only use stairs NEVER use a lift or escalator.
If in your home, make your way to the nearest exit portal, doors, patio doors, or ground floor window if all else is blocked.

Breaking a double glazed window.
If you have to break one to get out don’t aim at the centre and swing something large at it.
Whatever you use will probably bounce off.
It is best to use something sharply pointed and heavy and aim at the edges about 4 inches 100 cm from the corner. Crack the glass in all four corners and the whole glass will collapse with a blow to the centre. YOU MAY HAVE TO REPEAT THIS with the outer glass.


Before climbing through, drape cloth or a mat over the sill.
There may still be sharp shards of glass.

Doors locked.
Attack the lower panels unless reinforced. The UK’s love of UPVC doors is a godsend there.
Walls. If they are stud/partition and plaster board, aiming low you can batter your way through them. All walls are made up of a frame. If you start and find you are getting no joy, move a foot to one side. Remember there could be fire on the other side. Before breaking through completely, feel the next wall for heat.

What to take with you if it is safe to do so?
If you have a bug out bag take that and any medicines vital to life.
It might be a little time before you can resupply.

Now the controversial bit.
Taking stuff.

Current advice is to get out and not bother with “stuff”. I disagree. (within reason).
Consider your i.e. handbag, wallet, and car keys, bank books, etc.
If your valuables / documentation are in a single easy carry container, take them.
It could be ages before you can get replace them and you will need money.
Weapons and ammo. Your call.
Except if it was a riot, act of nature, or war, you may need to defend yourself at some time.

Coats and external wear.
If you have time and it is safe to do so, don it and take that.
In winter if you don’t have adequate clothing and rescue is hours away, you could freeze to death.

Others in the house.
All should have been briefed and practised at exiting the building in case of fire.
Unfortunately kids, some adults, and pets panic in real life.
Some may also be unable or too young to move on their own. They will need rescue.
If you can get to them, lead them out.

If you CAN’T get to them, get out and try rescue from the outside.
It’s no good you becoming immobilized by smoke inhalation if going outside you could have raised a ladder or whatever to reach them.

Bottom line (and this may cause a bit of hate mail) if they can’t be saved, save yourself.


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8 Responses to Fire Thoughts

  1. Rifleman III says:

    Reblogged this on .

  2. Rifleman III says:

    If, and only, if, the fir is in the incipient stage, you may possibly have time to gather. Rolling fires, and smoke, even deadlier, may reduce time so get out and stay out. When I was a volunteer firefighter, we were told in training that carpeting, when burned, gives off cyanide gases, which have no taste, smell or color, so get out quickly. Have a family rally point pre-arranged, and practice meeting. Sound the alarm, either home security alarm FIRE button, or telephone, or shout loudly to get neighbors’ attention if possible. Do not, go back into a fire building. One or more 25# A-B-C (Ash – Barrel – Current) fire extinguishers could be used if fire is located early, but get the alarm out, first. It may take a bit of time for a response, especially in rural areas. You could also wet a towel, wring quickly and cover faces of spouse and children, then yourself, for minor protection from smoke/gases inhalation. If ingested, get to the hospital, because at times, people have heart attacks two or three days after the fire event is out. Many hospitals hold patients 24 hours for observation, as precaution. They will take EKG, maybe administer oxygen, and then, the test of tapping the vein between first and second knuckle. You will feel it. Had it done three times, to check carbon monoxide in the blood.

    • Interesting notes, thank for for them.

      Towels? Nudged me did that as I’d forgotten them. Only I’m not sure I would waste the time. Bedrooms with sinks aren’t commonplace in the UK and the time you spend doing that could have you out of the doors.

      Anyway, (Un)Funny enough I don’t believe in fighting fires. IF I’m out and SWMBO is safe, I’ll let it burn. After all £ 2 million insurance is mandatory on a boat here.

      It’s also very apparent by observation that a lot people over estimate the effectiveness of fire extinguishers.

      Discharge times are a hoot and when watching the inexperienced trying to put out a fire, solid or not, it’s LOL time.

      In they go, extinguisher screaming away and 8 seconds later (typical 1 kg bottle dry powder) NOTHING!

      The fire gaily flickers on as the first 5 seconds was spent getting close enough to the fire.

      So what do they do? They try again.
      Only by now the flames are catching.

      On the 3rd attempt I’ll try to stop them. If they want to fry after that, I walk away.

      As for CO? Yep valid point.
      Only if you can’t get to a hospital for some reason there’s a 50:50 chance you’ll make it i.e. either you do or you don’t.

      Without the proper monitoring you just won’t know until it hits you. Just imagine a megger crisis and you walking to a hospital asking for CO monitoring for the next 2 days. Likely?

      So, I just get out.
      Simplistic? You bet.
      Like all of my thoughts are.
      The ideal world isn’t and sh1t always happens.

      • Rifleman III says:

        Saw many things while a volunteer firefighter. Wool and carpet give off cyanide. Saw car accidents, tanker truck (lorry) fires, house fires, was in one old 19th century mansion fire that totally reduced the place to cinders in nothing flat. We were inside. Smokey basement fires where only by feel we got around. You name it. Loved the taxpayer attached merchant store fires. Roofs soft as a mattress and sticky, cut holes in roof to ventilate. Then the overhaul after the fire. Lousy work.
        Two million Sterling, yes, get out quick, pop a cork on some bubbly. Think of what you would like, in your next scow.

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