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Safety Nugget Week of September 14 - Fire Safety< Back to Blog

Sep 14, 2015
By: T. Cai
Categories: Safety

Per National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2013, there were 1,240,000 fires reported in the United States. These fires caused 3,240 civilian deaths, 15,925 civilian injuries, and $11.5 billion in property damage.

Per the 2013 U.S. fire loss clock,  a fire department responded to a fire every 25 seconds. One structure fire was reported every 65 seconds; one civilian fire injury was reported every 33 minutes; one civilian fire death occurred every 2 hours and 42 minutes; one outside fire was reported every 56 seconds; one vehicle fire was reported every 167 seconds.

If a fire or other emergency happened at your workplace, your home, or hotel stay, would you know what to do?

Following are fire safety tips:  They are a little long, but useful and practical.

Be prepared

  • Have a building evacuation plan, know the plan, and practice the plan (Fire Drills) & Post the plan throughout your workplace.
  • Learn the location of the two nearest exits from your work area.
  • Count the doors, desks, work stations, etc. between your work space and the nearest exit.  Due to smoke or power failure, an escape in the dark may be necessary.
  • Know the location of the nearest fire alarm; know how to use it and be familiar with its signal.
  • Never block exits with furniture, equipment, materials or trash.
  • Never block stairway doors open and keep all stairways and landings clear.  Nothing can be placed or stored in stairways.

Don't panic

  • Call 911 to report emergencies.  Don't assume anyone else called for help.  When talking to emergency personnel, remain calm and give the dispatcher as much information as you know.
  • Never use the elevator during a fire.  You may become trapped if the power goes out.
  • Feel a door handle with the back of your hand for heat, then, feel the door starting at the bottom and moving to the top.  If the door is hot, do not open it as smoke and flames may enter the room.  If the door is cool, open it slowly and be prepared to quickly close it if smoke or heat rushes in.
  • Leave quickly, closing doors as you go to contain fire and smoke.
  • If you encounter smoke or fire during your escape, use another exit.  If caught in smoke get as low as possible to the floor and move towards the exit.  Heat and smoke rise so cleaner air will be near the floor.
  • Once outside, move away from the building and proceed to your designated meeting location.  If coworkers are still inside, notify emergency personnel.  Do not attempt to re-enter the building to rescue coworkers.  Stay out of the building until Police or Fire officials say it is safe to re-enter.

If you are unable to evacuate

  • If you cannot escape safely, remain calm and protect yourself by closing as many doors as possible between you and the fire.
  • Seal all cracks where smoke can enter by using wet materials such as jackets, towels, etc.
  • If there's a telephone in the room where you are trapped, call 911 and tell them exactly where you are.
  • Wait at a window if possible and signal for help by waving an object that can be seen from the outside.
  • If possible, open a window for air, but do not break it as you may need to close the window if smoke rushes in.
  • Remain calm while waiting for emergency personnel to rescue you.

  (Source: http://legacy.ehs.psu.edu/occhealth/Office_Fire_Safety_Tips.pdf).

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