VIDEO: Mum's escape from smoke-filled house
PUBLISHED: 08:00 21 June 2012
A WESTON mum had to battle her way out of a smoke-filled house on Tuesday with smoke alarms blaring and fire crews rushing to her aid.
But she was not in danger - instead, she was taking part in an Avon Fire and Rescue Service exercise to highlight the risks of not having a proper escape plan in place when fire breaks out.
Alliance Homes donated the use of the house in Coleridge Road for the day, and it was filled with thick smoke to help carry out the mock escape.
Lou Eddins, aged 31, made her way from the first floor bedroom, feeling her way through dense safety smoke down the stairs and through the front door to safety and a reunion with her 20-month old son Dexter.
Mrs Eddins, of Ashleigh Close, said: “It was absolutely terrifying and I could barely see anything in front of me.
“In my own home there are things on the floor like shoes everywhere.
“It makes me realise it’s ridiculous me and my husband have gone this far without making a plan in our home.
“We really need to make sure we know what to do in a real emergency situation if we had to grab Dexter and get him out.”
Fire crews stationed in the house made sure the escape went safely.
Mercury reporter Alex Evans also took part in the exercise - as shown in this video shot during his own escape attempt.
He said: “As soon as I got onto the stairs, I found myself blinded, bewildered and very out of my comfort zone – and that is without considering the heat, noise and panic a real fire would create.
“The smoke fills everything, making the escape a disorientating fumble down the stairs with absolutely no vision.
At one point, the fire officer behind me had to grab my arm and stop me hurtling down the staircase.”
For families, fire crews stress the importance of having a plan in place to remove as much risk as possible in a real fire situation.
Station manager Stuart Matthews, also interviewed in the video, said: “Thick smoke from a fire can quickly cause you to become disorientated, even in the most familiar surroundings.
“Our advice to any householder is to ensure they have a clear and unobstructed escape route as this really could make the difference between life or death.
“It is actually the smoke that causes most deaths in fires, as just a couple of breaths can be fatal. The easier it is to escape, the better the chances are of surviving.” better the chances are of surviving.”