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The recent fire in Valenzuela—in which more than 70 people perished and where workers were trapped in the second floor of the factory—has brought up comparisons with another devastating fire-related tragedy.
In 1996, the Ozone Disco in Quezon City went up in flames, the worst case of deaths by fire in recent history. The inferno was caused by overloaded wiring from the DJ’s booth. To make matters worse, there was only one exit—a door that opened inward at the end of a corridor. The death toll reached 162 people.
What should you do if you find yourself trapped in a fire?
Most important of all, you should try to keep calm. If you're in a panic, you won't be able to think clearly. Also, your heart and breathing rates will go up, making it more likely for you to inhale toxic fumes.
Crawl on the floor
Toxic fumes from the fire rise up to the ceiling. To avoid inhaling the smoke, crawl along on the floor and use a wet piece of cloth to cover your nose and mouth.
Delay the spread
If possible, close the door of the burning room behind you as you leave, as well as any other door you go through, to delay the spread of fire and smoke.
Stop, drop, and roll
If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop to the floor, and roll to put the flames out.
Catch firefighters' attention
If you can’t get out of the building, stay beside the nearest window so that the people outside can see you. Remove any flammable material, like curtains, from the windows and wave a piece of cloth to grab the attention of rescuers. Lighter colors are easier to spot against the black smoke.
But more than knowing what to do in case of fire, we should also work on making sure a fire doesn’t break out in the first place.
Regularly check on the state of the electrical wiring in your homes and, if found to be damaged, replace them as soon as possible. Never place electrical appliances in places where they can get wet or where children can play with them. It’s also important to make sure that electrical sockets and extension cords don’t get overloaded. According to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the number one cause of fires in the Philippines is the overloading of electrical wires. — TJD, GMA News