Malaysians were shocked and dismayed in recent years by several cases of fires which resulted in fatalities. One of the most recent fires was at a Tahfiz school in Keramat that killed 23 people including students as young as 6 and 8. Another case involved a fire which killed four members of a family in Subang Jaya.
These cases have highlighted the importance of having a fire escape plan for domestic residences and other buildings. Here are some ways in which you can improve the fire escape plans in your home.
1. You Must Be Able to Open Any Grille Easily
Many Malaysians install grilles on their windows and doors for safety purposes. This is understandable as they may face some crime in their neighborhoods. However, always ensure that the grills can be opened and the key to each grill lock is clearly labelled and kept in safe and easily accessible places, such as in your handbag or backpack.Avoid having all your windows as push glass panels or stationary glass panels that can’t be opened. Windows that slide or swing open are the best.
2. Plan An Escape Route
Call a family meeting and plan an escape route with several contingency plans depending on where the fire starts. Make sure everyone knows where the keys are kept and it’s better that everyone has a copy of these keys. Set a gathering point outside the home where everyone can head to and be counted.
3. Install an Escape Ladder
Should the fire start on the ground floor, it could be impossible to take the stairs and escape through the front door. In instances like this, an escape ladder will be a life saver from the upper floors. Usually these fire escape ladders are made of steel and can even be attached to a window. Ideally fire escape ladders should be installed near your bedroom(s). Alternatively, you can keep a portable escape ladder in several places on the upper floor.
4. Conduct Fire Drills
It may come across a little silly, but having a family fire drill could potentially save your life. Tell your family that you’ll have a fire drill some time this week, and give them the cue when everyone is home. This way, you can see the flaws and weaknesses in your escape plan and improve on it.
5. Avoid Automatic Gates, Doors and Windows
In the event of a fire, the electricity supply in your home may be cut off. This means that any automatic or remote controlled windows and doors won’t work and therefore won’t open. You may be trapped inside or be unable to get to the next exit. It’s always advisable to stick to conventional exit points for easy escape that aren’t dependent on any electricity or alternate power source. All your windows, doors and gates should open manually.
As Malaysians, our attempts at crime -proofing our homes can sometimes lead to us compromising the fire escape options in our home. It’s always best to strike a balance and not go overboard in shutting ourselves in a cage-like setting that will put us at risk during an actual fire. If you need help installing safer grilles and other features, just look up our renovation services here and they’ll give you a hand.