Fire - 9. "In case of a fire" | Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control | JPSS, the information site of studying in Japan

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Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control

"In case of a fire"

During the cold winter time, the risk of fires becomes higher. There are two possible reasons; one is the dry air which makes things flammable, the other is the frequent use of the heating apparatus. However, these aren't the only causes of fire. In most cases, fires are caused by the careless housekeeping practices such as cooking stove, carelessness in extinguishing the cigarettes, outlets covered with dust, too much electrical cords bound together or leaving a lamp left on near the curtain etc.

Common fire hazard in daily life

It is common that fires break out of careless daily practices. To prevent fires, it is needed to know what may cause a fire. The followings are the situations which make fires to break out.

- cooking stoves

The flame of the cooking stove caught the clothes (sleeves, hem of the jacket etc.) while cooking.
The flame of the cooking stove caught the garbage bag nearby.
Gas leaked while using burner/hot plates.
Used spray near hot plates.
The hot plate turned on by accidentally falling down.

- smoking

Threw away the cigarette before extinguishing it completely.
Smoke while lying down and the futon caught fire.
The cigarette left in the ashtray fell on the tatami.
Threw away the cigarette butt among other garbage.

- wiring, outlet, plug

Dust and humidity collected on the plug which was stuck into the outlet for quite a long time caught fire.
Bound electric cords pressed under the furniture caught fire.
Hung a wet towel over the desk/floor lamp.
An ashtray made of glass broke for having left the iron on it and a fire broke out.

- heating devices

Clothes hung over a heater fell and caught fire.
The curtain was touching the heater.
While heating the changing room before taking a bath, a paper bag fell on the heater and caught fire.
Used a spray near the fire.
When using the oil heater, oil was leaking.

Safety Procedures

The above mentioned fires could be prevented if you pay enough attention. You need to be alert and not careless when using any electric devices or fire. What is needed in daily life not to cause fire?

Notice
  • - Don't place a shelf above the hot plate/cooking stove, nor don't place the garbage, plastic bag, wrap or anything flammable around it.
  • - Don't use the heater near the curtain, laundry, futon or anything flammable.
  • - Don't leave the place while cooking. If it is strongly needed, don't forget to turn off the heat.
  • - Don't leave the plug stuck in the outlet. In the case of big household appliances such as refrigerator or washing machine, try to keep the outlet clean.
  • - Avoid binding the electric cords and try not to be squashed under any object.
  • - Use the electric devices properly by following the instruction.
  • - Cigarette while smoking is anything but fire. It's different from chewing gum or candies. Not only when throwing away but also while smoking, it is important to pay enough attention not to catch fire.
  • - Arson to be one common cause of the fire, it is important not to leave flammables around the house. Don't take out the garbage except the collecting day. Don't leave mails in the letter box.
Preparation
  • - Is there a fire extinguisher near by? Do you know how to use it? Is it always available?
  • - What do you do if you cannot use the front door to escape the fire? Are there other exits such as window or balcony so that you can escape to the ground or to other houses as a means to escape from fire?
  • - Where is the emergency stairs? Where is the emergency ladder?
  • - Is your room equipped with smoke alarms?
  • - It will be helpful to have bucket filled with water.

* Fire codes require all residences to have fire detection equipment installed.

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If a fire breaks out, the followings are required.

  1. 1. Let others know by shouting "Fire!" in a loud voice. Active the fire alarm if there is one.
  2. 2. Call "119" which is the fire station. (Or ask someone nearby to call.)

    When you call 119…
    (one example of the exchange)
    Fires station: "Fire or medical emergency?"
    I: "It's fire."
    Fire station: "Where is it happening?"
    I: "It's (address)"
    Fire station: "What is burning?"
    I: "There is fire in the kitchen. I can't put out the fire with an extinguisher!"
    Fire station: "Is there someone injured?"
    I: "Yes, one of my fried got burned/ No, nobody is injured."

  3. 3. First fire fighting

    If the fire is lower than your height two minutes after the break out, try first fire fight using the extinguisher, water or wet blanket etc.

Type of first fire fighting distinguished by the cause of fires
- When a fire broke out from the pan while cooking

You should not pour water on it when you use oil. Use the extinguisher or cover the pan with a wet towel or blanket to block the air to put out the fire. Nor you should try to move the pan. It's highly dangerous.

- When a fire broke out from the oil heater

Don't pour water on it. Use the extinguisher or cover the heater with a wet towel or blanket to block the air to put out the fire.

- When a fire broke out from electric devices such as electric heater, or from outlets or cords etc.

There is a risk to get an electric shock if you pour water on them. Cover the fire with a wet towel or blanket immediately then shut down the circuit breaker. After that, pour water on it.

- When curtains, fusuma (a framed and papered sliding door), clothes or furniture catch fire

Put out the fire by pouring water on it before reaching the ceiling.

If the fire reaches the ceiling, first fire fighting is no more effective. Please evacuate immediately.

Evacuation

Please evacuate immediately when the fire is about to reach the ceiling. Please leave quickly without caring your appearance or your belongings. Cover your mouth and nose with a wet towel, drop to the floor and crawl on your knees so that you don't breathe the smoke, and try getting outdoors. In addition, when evacuating, close the door and windows of the room with fire and shut the air, so that the fire doesn't get stronger and also prevent the fire to spread.

Moreover, it is required to check how to evacuate in case of a fire; the location of the emergency stairs and emergency ladders; if there is a balcony, check whether you can move to the neighbor's one easily, and don't put any object that could be an obstacle in case of emergency; whether there are no obstacles in the stairs or the corridors of the apartment or flat. Try to have good maintenance of the exit ways.

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