Reporting Susan Koeppen
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There are nearly 200 high rise buildings in Downtown Pittsburgh. Thousands of workers are in those offices every day.
Think about this… if your office caught on fire, would you know what to do?
Every year, there are nearly 3,500 office fires in the United States, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones says most office workers probably don’t know how to escape their buildings. When the alarm sounds and you are told to evacuate, “you have two minutes or less to make your escape. It’s not a lot of time,” says Jones.
Not only do you need to move fast, but you need to know how to get out. And that means learning all the exits on your floor, in case your primary exit is blocked by smoke or fire.
“I’m a creature of habit,” says Jones. “I am always looking for the exits when I walk into a building. You should do that before an emergency. During the fire, is not the time to try to figure it out.”
If you can’t make it to an exit, Chief Jones says retreat to an office and close the door. Seal off the door with clothes, cushions, pillows or whatever you can find to keep out the smoke. It can buy you the time you need for firefighters to rescue you.
Make sure you call 911 and let rescue crews know your location.
Butterfly Safety Products, a Buffalo-based company, is hoping that its Butterfly Smoke Seal will make its way into office buildings, dorms, hotels and homes.
The company makes a door seal that will keep out smoke in a fire. It takes 30 seconds to install. The company also makes a travel version for consumers who want to take the fire and smoke protection with them.
And finally, experts say if you are holed up in an office, never break a window. It can actually work against you and draw the fire to your location.