This past Tuesday, a fire broke out in the G Building on campus. The cause: an overheated coffee machine. Luckily, the fire was extinguished quickly, but it could have been much more serious. Imagine you were at the scene and the fire spread so quickly you had no way out? What do you do then? EM has five tips on how to stay calm and safely get out this situation.

1) Everyone look at me, please!

You’re in a tutorial, not suspecting anything is wrong, writing down your notes, when suddenly there’s a fire outside your classroom door. Stay calm! Escaping through the door is clearly not an option, but every classroom has windows. Break one of the windows and make sure someone on the outside notices you. Scream, jump up and down, wave: remember, you have to perform like your life depends on it, so it better be good!

2) You go, tiger!

The fire hasn’t reached your classroom door yet, but the entire hallway is full of smoke? Stay as close to the ground as possible. The best way to do this is to move like a tiger when it’s stalking its prey. This keeps you close to the floor, and since smoke rises, you’ll be able to breathe a bit easier. Try to find an exit.

3) Me, myself and I

If one of your friends has passed out, your first instinct is to stay with him or her. You can try to drag your friend to the exit, but you should stop if this proves to be too difficult for you. As bad as it sounds, you have to think of yourself first. The most important thing is to get yourself to safety. Then you can warn emergency services personnel that there are still people in the building.

4) Wet cloth or towel

Your instinct is to hold a cloth over your mouth to keep the smoke out. But a dry cloth or piece of clothing isn’t enough. Wet the cloth, using a bottle of water if you need to. Otherwise you’ll end up inhaling the dry smoke in the air and it won’t be long till you pass out.

5) Stair workout

Always avoid taking the lift, even if you’re stranded on the 15th floor of the H Building. Take the stairs. I already know you’re thinking ‘But the lift is quicker’. The problem is that the lift can malfunction and then you’re stuck in a burning building. The fire brigade can’t see you and because of the thickness of the lift doors, it will be very difficult for emergency services personnel to hear you. Just don’t take the lift.