When it comes to buying a fire alarm system, you can either choose an ionization unit or a photoelectric unit. An ionization unit can detect the smallest of fire particles from wood, fat, or paper. It sounds an alarm when the radiation that it emits is blocked from reaching its sensor. A photoelectric unit would be good to sense smoky fires caused by things like smoldering mattresses. It gets triggered when the beam of light emitted by it is blocked by smoke. If you are not sure about the type of fire your building might be susceptible to, you can buy a combination of photoelectric and ionization models.
Getting a fire protection system installed is definitely the best way to detect a fire. But there are a few steps you need to take in case a fire breaks out despite such detection:
The first thing you need to do when a fire breaks out is to evacuate the occupants of your building as soon as possible. You might be tempted to collect your valuables and keepsakes before evacuating. But it is definitely not recommendable. Don’t even stop to make a call to the fire department. You can do this once you get out of the building.
The next step you need to take is to notify the authorities of the fire department. If you have installed an automatic fire protection system, this part should be taken care of. Once the authorities arrive, describe to them the layout of your building and let them know if there are any occupants stuck within the building. Give them exact details of their location in the building if you know.
If the fire is small you can try putting it out with a fire extinguisher. While using this extinguisher you have to make sure you position yourself well. Ideally you should stand near an escape route so that you can leave before the fire hurts you. Aim the nozzle of the fire extinguisher at the bottom of the flames and work with a sweeping motion. While leaving the building make sure you close all the doors behind you so that the fire can be contained.
It is important to have a cool head and focus on getting to safety whenever there is a fire. But if you are trapped inside it is better to stay as close to the floor as possible. Open the windows so that you can let out the smoke and breathe. Before getting out through any door, make sure you feel it with your hand. Don’t open it if it is too hot. Crawl along the floor if you are passing through a smoke-filled area. Take short breaths and cover your nose with a wet handkerchief until you reach safety.