x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

How to deal with a fire at your property

How to in the UAE: At the first sign of a fire, the young and elderly should be attended to and escorted to safety.

Once out of the building, call 997 and get Civil Defence on the line.
Once out of the building, call 997 and get Civil Defence on the line.

If a blaze breaks out in your home, you should already have an escape plan you can put into action.

At the first sign of a fire, the young and elderly should be attended to and escorted to safety.

"There should be no heroics. Don't try to put out the fire or go to the wardrobe and collect the designer handbags," said Barry Bell, managing director at Wagner Fire Safety Management Consultants in Dubai.

Once out of the building, call 997 and get Civil Defence on the line.

"Don't stay in the house or go back in," Mr Bell said. "There is so much combustible material in houses.

"It may look or start out small but it can blow up so easily in your face."

Neighbouring villas should be alerted to the fire.

"Make sure they are up and awake in case the fire jumps across if there's a breeze or wind," Mr Bell said. "Your neighbour's house could easily [be affected]."

Those living in an apartment block should alert their neighbours, even if the building's fire alarm rings.

When Civil Defence is on its way, check to make sure the fire service can get close to the scene.

Contingency plans should be put in place when people move into a new house or building.

Those who move into a tower should ask the building manager or the apartment's owner what the evacuation plans are.

"In a villa, you can jump off the balcony," Mr Bell said. "Even a family living in their own house should understand what they should do and how they should call for help."

eharnan@thenational.ae