Most of us are taught the importance of fire safety as children. As grade schoolers, fire drills may have been a welcome opportunity to take a break from our classes. We learn the things we can do to prevent a fire, such as not playing with matches or being careful around fireworks. As we grow up, we periodically hear stories about the devastation fires cause, the loss of homes and cherished possessions. We hear of mass fires that result in a tragic loss of life, for which the whole community mourns. While we may have smoke alarms and a fire safety plan in our homes, many of us do not give much thought to what we would do if a fire broke out in a public building. Fire-related injuries cause devastating damages. Familiarize yourself with the risks concerning mass fire events, as well as what to do in the event of a fire emergency to ensure you and your loved ones are safe.
Fires in Public Buildings
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), over one million fires were reported in the United States in the last year alone. Of these fires, close to three quarters occurred outside of the home. Fires can erupt in wooded areas or forests, in vehicles as the result of car accidents or malfunctions, or on public property. Common public places where fires occur include:
- Convention centers;
- Concerts and sporting events;
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities;
- Educational facilities;
- Office buildings;
- Storage warehouses; and
- Big box stores and shopping malls.
While these fires result in billions of dollars in property damages, the greatest toll is in injury and loss of life. One person is injured in a fire-related incident every 33 seconds, and injuries caused by fires kill approximately eight people each day.
Fire Safety Tips
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you should always make sure you know where emergency exits are located in public places. At a concert, convention, or when staying in a hotel, make sure you are familiar with evacuation routes, and plan a place to meet with family members outside if you should become separated. The CDC insists that it is vitally important for people to know how to respond in the event of a public or mass fire emergency. Follow these fire safety tips in the event you or your loved ones are involved in a public structure fire:
- Do not ignore a fire alarm, even if you suspect it is just a drill;
- Use steps to exit a building, never an elevator;
- Test doorknobs to see if they are hot. If they are, use another exit;
- Smoke rises, so crawl low to the ground;
- Cover your nose and mouth with a moist cloth;
- If you are trapped, call the fire department and let them know where you are;
- If you do not have access to a phone, close all doors and seal the open spaces. Yell for help, and if you have a window, use a sheet or curtain to attract attention; and
- Never attempt to reenter a burning building. Get a firefighter to help you.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Attorneys Today
If you or your loved one has been injured in a fire, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys today. At Hogan Frick, we will fight to get you the compensation you need for your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Reach out to us today for help.