Most people have heard the warning, “Never use the elevator during a fire.” You may have seen this fire safety tip plastered on the wall in a public building. However, have you ever wondered why attempting to use an elevator during a fire emergency is dangerous? Here is why you should never use an elevator and other safety tips during a fire emergency.
Why It’s Unsafe to Use the Elevator During a Fire Emergency
There are many reasons why you should never use the elevator when a fire emerges. First, if there is a fire in the building, it can cause electrics to short circuit. These electrics power many things, including elevators. If the power goes out, elevators have backup power that will allow the elevator to stop on the current floor. However, if you’re trying to escape a fire, you don’t want to be on the same floor.
Secondly, you have to think about not only fire but smoke. An elevator’s movement will act as a billow (a large mass of smoke that rises and falls) in a building, circulating air and making it easier for a fire to spread. Once a fire spreads, smoke can flood an elevator shaft within a few moments. MedStar Health reported via the National Fire Protection Agency that inhaling smoke kills twice as many people as burns. Therefore, being in an elevator where you can’t escape is dangerous.
Third, the elevators will become much heavier if everyone uses the elevator to evacuate. Elevators have weight a weight limit, and when it exceeds this, it stops. Therefore, you’d have a bunch of people trapped inside.
The fourth point is that using the steps is quicker. Imagine the scary feeling of trying to escape a burning building only to discover that you have to wait for an elevator to open. This approach will waste valuable time when you could be safe, sound, and out of the building when using the steps.
Finally, in the best-case scenario, when you have high-quality fire sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers, a fire won’t spread. However, if firefighters have to arrive on the scene, their priority should be dousing the fire. However, if they find that people are stuck inside elevators, that will be their priority, delaying them from putting out the fire.
Fire Safety Tips: How to Stay Safe During a Fire Emergency
So, now you know why you should never use an elevator during a fire emergency. What should you do instead? These fire safety tips offer advice on evacuating and staying safe during a fire emergency.
- Raise the Alarm: Pull a fire alarm if there is one nearby. If there isn’t, shout to alert others that there is a fire.
- Fight the fire if you can: If it is small, you can usually extinguish it within moments by remembering the P.A.S.S. acronym. If you’re unsure if you can handle extinguishing the fire, do not attempt to do so. Raise the alarm and leave the building as quickly as possible.
- Follow the fire evacuation plan: If you’re in a public building, there should be a fire evacuation plan. Ensure you follow and execute it to get out of the building as quickly as possible.
Tips on Evacuating the Building
These tips address the safest way to evacuate.
- If the smoke is thick, crawl on the ground to avoid inhaling too much smoke.
- Do not prolong evacuating the building to stop and grab your belongings.
- Feel doors before you open them to see if it’s warm and if there is a fire behind them. If so, do not open the door.
- Keep doors that you don’t have to use closed to prevent to stop the fire from spreading.
Contact Chesapeake Sprinkler Company Today!
Chesapeake Sprinkler Company is a leading fire sprinkler contractor in the region, which is now a 100% employee-owned (ESOP) company. As a full-service fire protection company, we offer design, fabrication, installation, testing, maintenance, and inspection of fire protection systems—everything you need from your fire suppression specialist.
For more information, please email or call our Odenton location at 410-674-7041, our Ashburn location at 703-729-5150, or for service/maintenance Chesapeake Protection Services at 410-674-7577. Feel free to keep in touch through Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!