Have you ever heard a fire alarm and brushed it off, thinking it was just a test? Or perhaps you found the situation confusing, unsure what to do next.  It’s a common scenario, but when that alarm rings, hesitation can be risky. Other times, people can panic, acting in a way that places themselves and others in danger. In this article, we’ll provide a guide on what actions to take when confronted with a fire alarm, along with what not to do in order to keep yourself and others safe.

Responding to the Alarm: What You Should Do

The first rule of thumb when you hear a fire alarm is to stop what you’re doing and take action. Never assume it’s a false alarm or just a routine test. Every alarm must be taken seriously, as it could signal a potentially life-threatening situation. Here’s what you should do:

  1. Evacuate Immediately: Regardless of your location or what you’re doing within the building, your priority is to evacuate promptly. Head towards the nearest fire exit or stairway, ensuring everyone in your vicinity is aware of the alarm and is moving towards safety. This applies regardless of whether you’re at work, a shopping centre, restaurant, or any other venue. Taking appropriate action will also encourage others around you to do the same.
  2. Move to the Assembly Area: Once outside, gather at the designated assembly area if you know where it is, if you do not know where the assembly area is, ensure that you move a safe distance away from the building so that you are clear from any emergency personnel attending the site and clear from any dangers which may be present. This ensures everyone is accounted for and allows emergency responders to assess the situation efficiently.
  3. Keep out of the way: Keep in mind that emergency responders will be operating around the building’s front. Avoid obstructing their access and follow any instructions they provide.

What You Shouldn’t Do

While knowing what actions to take is crucial, understanding what not to do is equally important. Here are some actions to avoid when the fire alarm sounds:

  1. Don’t panic: Often times, disaster victims can act in an indecisive or stunned manner, others may become confused, or paralysed, resulting in unhelpful or dangerous behaviours.
  2. Don’t Delay: Unless within arm’s reach, resist the urge to retrieve personal belongings before evacuating. Your safety takes precedence over possessions, which can be replaced.
  3. Avoid Extinguishing Large Fires: In the event of a significant fire, leave firefighting to the professionals. Attempting to extinguish a large fire can pose serious risks to yourself and others.
  4. Never Use Elevators: Elevators should never be used during a fire alarm activation. Stick to stairways, as elevators can malfunction or become trapped, putting occupants at risk.
  5. Stay Out: Once you’ve evacuated, do not re-enter the building until authorities declare it safe to do so. Even if you suspect the fire has been extinguished, it’s essential to wait for official confirmation.
  6. Close Doors and Maintain Clear Escape Routes: As you evacuate, ensure all doors, including fire doors, are closed behind you. Additionally, avoid blocking escape routes, such as staircases and corridors, to facilitate a smooth evacuation process for others.

Remember when the fire alarm sounds, swift and decisive action is your priority. Evacuate immediately, gather at the assembly area, and avoid actions that could jeopardize your safety or the safety of others. By following this simple fire alarm guide, you can help ensure a safe outcome in the event of a fire emergency.

For more information about how to protect your business and property from fire contact the fire safety experts at Global Fire on 1300 88 70 18 or inquiries@globalfire.com.au