Fire Safety On The Job !
FIRE SAFETY EDUCATION PAGE
OFFICE BUILDING FIRES DO HAPPEN
Every year about 7 thousand fires break out in office buildings, causing deaths, injuries and millions of dollars in fire damage. Most of this could be eliminated if everyone practiced good fire prevention on the job and planned ahead for a fire emergency. Here are some tips to remember....
Smoke only where it is permitted. Use large non-tip ashtrays and empty them only when you are sure the ashes, matches and butts are cold. Make sure that no one, including visitors, has left cigarettes smoldering in wastebaskets or on furniture.
Be alert around electrical equipment. If electrical equipment is not working properly or is it gives off an unusual odor - often the first sign of a problem that could cause a fire - disconnect the equipment and call the appropriate maintenance department.
Promptly replace any electrical cord that is cracked or has a broken connection
When using extension cords, protect them from damage: do not put them across doorways or any place where they will be stepped on or chafed. Check the amperage load specified by the manufacturer or the "listing laboratory" and do not exceed it! Do not plug one extension cord into another and do not plug more than one extension cord into an outlet.
Keep all heat producing appliances away from the wall and away from anything that might burn. Leave plenty of space for air to circulate around copy machines, word processors and other equipment that normally gives off heat.
Make sure all appliances in your work area - such as coffee makers and hot plates - are turned off at the end of each work day - especially before the weekend! It's best to assign one person to make this check every day.
Do your part to keep storage areas, stairway landings and other out-of-the-way locations free of waste paper, empty cartons, dirty rags and other material that could fuel a fire.
Arson is the largest single cause of fires in office buildings. Therefore, proper security measures to keep unauthorized people out of the building will help prevent both theft and fire. In addition, make sure that alleys and other areas around your building are well-lit.
PREPARING FOR A FIRE CAN SAVE LIVES
How you react in a real fire will depend on how well you've prepared yourself before it happens....
Know the location of the two exits closest to your work area. Count the number of doors between your office and each of those exits - in case you must escape through a darkened, smoke-filled corridor where you can't read the names on the doors.
Learn where the nearest fire alarm is located and how to activate it.
Post the fire department emergency number on your telephone. The emergency number at work may not be same as at home.
Learn the sound of your buildings fire alarm. If you don't know the sound, encourage management to schedule regular fire drills so that everyone will know how the alarm sounds and how to escape.
Evacuation plans for your building should be posted where everyone can see them and they should be discussed with new employees during orientation.
Learn the evacuation plans and participate in fire drills. During fire drills, practice moving in a crawling position, as everyone should do in smoke. because smoke rises, breathing will be easiest near the floor.
If you have any disability that could delay you in an evacuation or could prevent you from using the stairs to escape, let someone in authority know. Each person with a disability should be assigned a co-worker (and an alternate) to render assistance in case of an emergency. Participating in drills is especially important for people with disabilities.
Remember, never use an elevator during a fire emergency. Most modern elevators are heat-activated, so they might go to the fire floor and stop there with the doors open, exposing pasengers to deadly heat and smoke.
Be sure that stairwell doors are never locked.
IF A FIRE BREAKS OUT...
SOUND THE ALARM AND ESCAPE QUICKLY
No matter how small the fire seems to be, sound the fire alarm and call the fire department. Large fires start as small ones.
Leave the fire area quickly, closing the door to the room where you saw the fire. Close all other doors that you pass through on your escape route.
Proceed directly to the nearest fire exit.
Do not use an elevator.
If smoke is evident in the corridor or stairwell of your nearest exit, use your alternate escape route.
If you must use an escape route where there is smoke, stay as low as possible. Crawling lets you breathe the cleaner air near the floor as you move toward an exit.
Before you open a closed door, feel it with the back of your hand. It it is hot, leave it closed and use your alternate escape route. It it feels normal, brace your body against the door and open it a crack - be prepared to close it shut if heat or smoke starts to rush in.
As you are evacuating, follow the directions from the fire and security personnel. Once outside, move well away from the building so you will not be in the way of the firefighters.
WHEN SHOULD YOU USE
A PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHER?
Portable fire extinguishers are useful only if you know how to use them, if they are right for the type of fire you are fighting and if the fire is discovered immediately. If there is a portable fire extinguisher in or near your work area, take time now to read the operating instructions and get training on how to use it.
You should not attempt to fight even a small fire until people have been evacuated from the area and the fire fire department has been called. Never attempt to fight a fire if any of the following is true:
You are uncertain about how to use the extinguisher
The fire is spreading beyond the immediate area where it started
The fire could block your escape route