In 2018, 225 people died and 3,550 were injured in a domestic fire in France. Most occur during the night and it is usually not the flames but the smoke that kills with poisoning in a matter of minutes. We will try to see how to protect ourselves and how to react when a fire breaks out.
Buy a fire extinguisher, there are different types of fire. The best is to get to know the different fires. A fire extinguisher costs between 20 and 60 euros.
Buy smoke detector(s) (place as high as possible and away from sources of steam). The detector will allow you to be notified in time. It’s better if it rings for nothing every now and then than to die in your sleep.
Buy fire extinguisher blankets: the goal is simply to throw them on small fires to smother them
You can prevent a fire from happening by limiting certain behaviors:
Avoid smoking near a flammable place: your bed for example ...
Do not plug too many devices into the same outlet
Have your electrical and gas installation checked
Keep flammable products away from heat sources (convectors, light bulbs, hot plates, etc.)
Have the chimney swept
Beware of oil on the fire
Beware of the toaster
Beware of the barbecue (do not use alcohol or gasoline to relight it ...)
Beware of matches and lighters (keep away from children and / or overly drunk people).
If the fire is minimal and there is still time to stop it
Water is not always the right solution. Better to try to smother the fire:
If the fire starts because your son threw his underpants at a lamp: take a thick tray (or a pan or a wet cloth) and smother the fire (not your son)
If the fire is related to gas, shut off the gas supply
Things not to do
Put oil on the fire
Avoid to put water on the fire if the ignited material is hydrocarbon or oil. It is better, once again, to try to smother the fire.
If you don't know where the fire is: touch the doors before opening them, if they are hot, you better find another way out
If you know that you are on a floor below the fire, you can escape through the emergency exits for example
If you know you are on the floor of the fire or on a higher floor, do not take the elevator or the stairs while braving the smoke. Stay put. Close the doors. If the smoke starts to pass under the door, water the door, plug it with wet cloths. Wait for help by manifesting at a window. If there is a lot of smoke in the room, lie down on the floor (smoke goes upwards) and crawl until you are to safety. Cover your nose and mouth with a damp tissue.
If you are the one burning
Roll on the ground
If your hair catches fire: Smother it with a towel, blanket, or something thick. If that doesn't work again, roll over on the ground.
Do not try to remove burnt clothes (it sticks to your skin and you could injure yourself more seriously)
As soon as possible water yourself to cool any burns. Pass your burns under cold water if possible or call for help (the 15th for the SAMU in France)
If the fire is in the forest or elsewhere than in your house:
Try to react quickly by extinguishing the fire (water, sand ... (we avoid branches)), if this is not possible call 18 and give all the information requested by the person you are talking to.