I'm rather pleased with myself because I managed to nab a coveted spot on another free Professional Development course that my new employers run, and this time there was more in-depth training on the Health & Safety aspects of fire hazards, which goes hand-in-hand with my new role as a Fire Evacuation Steward. These are transferable skills I can use in any situation, including when I'm at home.
The highly experienced trainer pulled no punches and I have to admit his shock tactics worked. I now know that the majority of fires are caused by electrics, and that you should never use a multi-way for plugging in anything that produces heat (hair straighteners, fan heater, etc). I also learnt that it takes just two and a half minutes from the first wisp of smoke before you become unconscious, and that given the amount of electrics in bedrooms nowadays you should have a smoke detector in them, with an absolute minimum of two in each home. We were also warned that despite the romance of a candle-lit bath, fibreglass (which many baths are made from) is highly flammable and you really don't want to find yourself sitting inside a ring of fire!
As landings, stairs and hallways are your pathway out of a burning building you should never have anything in them that would be a trip hazard in a dark / smoky environment. Also, closing all doors wherever possible is the best way to keep any potential fire at bay long enough for you to exit safely, and unless you're a fully trained fireman, never ever attempt to put a fire out yourself or return to a burning building. The main message however was just three simple things; in the event of a fire, shout out, get out and stay out!