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Smoke and fire safety tips

Heidi, our super social media coordinator, wrote this document based on what people wrote on the page and what she could find online about “smoke and fire safety tips”!

Stay low to the ground & cover your nose and mouth with a wet cloth, and hold it there.
Remember that the most dangerous places to be in relation to the fire are uphill from the flames and downwind from the fire. Try to stay upwind of the fire.
Look for nearby areas that are free of trees and brush. Try to put a water body between you and the fire. Seek safety in the water or use it to keep some distance between you and the fire. If you become trapped, lie face-down and cover your body with anything that will protect you from the fire. Wet clothing or a wet blanket or even covering the back of your body with soil or mud. Places which have already burned are sometimes the safest place to go.

In a car
If your choices are on foot or using a vehicle, opt for the vehicle. It’s still extremely dangerous, but will give you better odds of surviving than being on foot.
Roll up the windows and close the air vents.

If you can, start driving. Do not drive through heavy smoke. If the smoke is too thick to see where you’re steering, it may be safer to park and wait it out. If the smoke is too thick to see the road, or if you cannot drive the car, should remain in the vehicle. Don’t worry about the gas tank. Vehicles with metal gas tanks rarely ever explode. You are much safer staying inside the car than you would be on foot.
Lie down on the floor of the vehicle and cover yourself with a blanket or coat, if possible. if the fire surrounds the car do not leave the vehicle. The temperature inside will increase considerably. It’s still safer inside the vehicle than outside.
Air currents low to the ground may rock the car. Some smoke and even sparks may enter the vehicle. Just stay low on the floor of the vehicle and keep breathing through a wet cloth to protect your airways

In a house
If you have time, shut off all fuel lines, including propane, natural gas, and oil. Move curtains and fabric-covered furniture away from windows and sliding doors. If the glass breaks, you do not want anything flammable near the window/doors.
Remove any combustible objects from the garden such as fuel cans, discard them as far from any structures as possible. You should also move any stacks of firewood as far from the building as possible.
Try to wet the area. Use hoses or sprinklers to saturate the roof of the building, the walls, and the ground. This will slow down the spread of the fire. Fill any large containers with water and surround the perimeter of the building with them.
Stay inside no matter what.
If the fire surrounds the building, you’re more likely to survive inside than out. Close all the doors, windows, and vents in the building to prevent a draft from spreading the fire inside.

Do not lock the doors to the building. If you need to escape, or if firefighters find you they’ll need easy access.
Stay away from exterior walls. If the building is big enough, try to get into the middle of the structure, like a centrally-located room. If you are with other people, stay together.
The safest room in your home is the bathroom.
Pack wet towels around doors to block gaps to prevent toxic smoke flooding in.
Touch the door handle with the back of your hand, (do not grab it with your palm) if it is hot do not open the door because the fire is raging behind it. Crawl and stay low because as heat rises, the cleaner air is near the floor. Wrap a damp cloth around your mouth and nose to limit smoke inhalation.
Stay against the wall on the side where the Exit is. It is very easy to get lost or disoriented in a smoky atmosphere

And beware of flammable nighties/pyjamas! They may look cute, but they light up like a candle.

Preparation & prevention
Agree an exit plan that family and friends are aware of.
Store flammable items such as wood logs as far from your house as possible.
Keep grass and vegetation trimmed short around all buildings

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