Fire inside an office can be a very confusing situation to deal with. The number of people in the office or the whole building may make this a lot more difficult than it is. Bad decisions can worsen the fire and help it spread, along with the panic. To avoid this, one needs to remember the basic rules of controlling a fire started in an office:
- Containing the fire by closing the doors
It should go without saying, the first priority is to get everyone out of the first affected room and then seal it by closing all the doors. This will make it more difficult for the fire to spread beyond its walls. Some people mistakenly think of ventilating the room, but that only fans the fire and brings it more oxygen.
- Head to the alarm
If the alarm is close to you, you may pull it immediately. But if it’s harder to reach, first do as above. Then reach for the alarm. Get to a pull station, which should normally be near the building’s exit. Also dial the emergency number to have a quick response.
- Fight or flight?
What are you going to do about the fire, try to extinguish it or flee from it? The decision is a risky one and depends on how big and fast the fire is, on how inflammable the materials around it are etc. If it looks manageable and you have the proper equipment, you may proceed to extinguishing it. This should only come after the steps mentioned at points 1 and 2.
- Leave on time
If you decided to fight the fire, you need to make sure there’s a sure way to leave the office or building. Avoid being trapped inside. This can easily happen even when there’s a way out but the fire consumes the ceiling and the structure collapses, blocking the door. Also, smoke can be lethal. When present, you must leave it behind and flee. Smoke can kill before the fire reaches anyone. Listen to your supervisor’s commands and leave if you’re told to.
Consider professional firm alarm installation services for office buildings, to maximize everyone’s chance of survival. Do not attempt to use fire extinguishing equipment if you never received specific training. Don’t allow anyone untrained to do that. For this reason, the best policy is usually evacuation.