Tips For Surviving A Building Collapse

Jem Mall
 
In light of the recent first floor ceiling collapse at the JEM mall, we thought we should come up with this guide with tips on what you should do in the event of a building collapse. We hope you find this guide useful to you and that the events in JEM never repeat themselves again in Singapore.
 
What to do if there is a threat of collapse in the building you are currently in
 
1. Listen very carefully for creaking sounds. That might be the ceiling infrastructure buckling under some pressure.
 
2. Be watchful for any puddles of water on the ground, ceiling leaks could be a sign of leaking water pipes. Warning bells should go off in your mind if you see many large pools of water on the ground around you.
 
3. If you hear an alert over the intercom/PA system, remain calm and follow the instructions to exit the building as soon as possible. Do not use the lifts, especially if there is a fire alert. Head for the nearest stairs and make you way to the exit.
 
4. If you cannot leave the building, take shelter under any object that could shield your body from falling debris. Once you have exited the building do not endanger yourself by re entering it before the all clear sign is given.
 
If the building is on fire
 
1. Exit the building immediately. Do not linger and head for the nearest exit in a calm and collected manner.
 
2. Crawl on the ground if there is smoke billowing into the area. Smoke, like hot air, floats upwards so you're better off crawling on the ground.
 
3. Use a wet cloth to cover your nose and mouth (if possible). This will help filter out some of the airborne particles so you're not inhaling them. It's not a good substitute for a gas mask but it works in a pinch.
 
4. Check doors for heat or signs of fire (such as smoke coming out from the bottom of the door) before opening them. Use the back of your hand to feel the upper, lower, and middle parts of all doors. Find another exit if the door you are at is hot. This is to avoid being caught in a backdraft.
 
5. If you catch on fire, three simple words: Stop. Drop. And roll. This will extinguish the flames. 
 
6. Assist other people when if you are well and able to. Once you have exited the burning building never endanger yourself by going back into it. 
 
If you are trapped under debris after a building collapse
 
1. If possible, use a flashlight or whistle to signal to rescuers. Your cell phone's bright screen works as a good substitute for a flash light if you don't have one.
 
2. Avoid any unnecessary big movement that would throw up more dust.
 
3. Cover your nose and mouth with a fabric to filter your air. A handkerchief works really well here. 
 
4. If you are trapped and there's a pipe or wall near you tap on them to signal rescuers. The sound will help them locate and find you.
 
5. Shout for help only as a last resort to minimize inhaling potentially harmful dust.
 
6. Always remain calm and do not panic so you do not use up your air supply quickly.
 
JEM continues to remain empty after its first floor ceiling collapsed due to a leaking water pipe last week.
 

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