February 2015 - How Do I Get Out Of Here?

It’s approximately 2:30 in the morning and you are awakened by the shrill sound of a fire alarm going off. It is quite dark and when you attempt to turn the lights on, they don’t work. Now you are frantically looking for your clothes and you have no idea of how quickly you need to evacuate the facility. You know better than to try and take all of your belongings, but it would be good to have your shoes and your identification.

Now you’re ready to go, but where should you go? Did you take the time to look at the emergency evacuation card on the back of the door? Did you actually go and look to see where the stairs were located? Do you know how to safely exit a door leading from one area to another? What happened to all that fire safety information that your teachers tried to drum into you when you were in grade school? Remember, feel the doors surface with the back of your hand to see if it’s hot. If staying in place, put a towel at the base of the door to prevent smoke from coming in. If you are going to leave, know where you are going and if necessary, stay low or crawl and cover your head with a damp towel. Don’t head for the elevator; go to the stairwell and know what floor you are on so you can keep track of how far you have to go to get down to an exit.

These are lots of hypothetical things that can all too easily become a reality if you are not prepared for the unexpected. Any time you are checking into a lodging facility away from home, you should be acutely aware of your surroundings. If you don’t understand signage or directions, don’t be embarrassed to ask a staff member for clarification or directions. Remember, the only dumb question is the one you don’t ask. Ignorance turns to stupidity in an instant when you forgo the opportunity to dispel your ignorance.

Do you understand that when you follow exit signs they will lead you to a point of egress that opens onto a public way: street, sidewalk, alley, etc. Rules and regulations have been developed to protect people in emergency situations. If you need detailed information about these rules, take a look at the National Fire Protection Association publication, Life Safety 101. It will give you detailed information about occupancy loading, emergency lighting requirements, hardware for doors as well as what direction they should open, width of hallways, minimum head clearance, and lots of other information that the average person may take for granted.

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you will want to be aware of your surroundings. You must always take your personal safety very seriously. No one wants to encounter an unwanted event, but being prepared for the unexpected may actually safe your life.

SCATS offers classes on a variety of subjects on a regular basis. You can register for classes on our website at www.4safenv.state.nv.us.

For more information or for a schedule of training courses offered at no charge by SCATS, call toll free 1.877.4SAFENV [1-(877)-472-3368], or visit, www.4safenv.state.nv.us.