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Fire safety is important at work and at home

posted Oct 8, 2019, 8:05 AM by Randall Donner   [ updated Oct 21, 2019, 7:23 AM ]
October is the month not only for Halloween and trick or treating, but it is also Fire Prevention Month. Fires happen at a far greater pace than most would expect. Here are some statistics from 2017:
  • 1,319,500 fires were responded to – one every 24 seconds.
  • 499,000 of those were structure fires.
  • 72% of structure fires were homes.
  • 3,400 people died in fires.
  • 77% of those deaths were in private homes. 
When it comes to fire safety, there are five life-saving factors.
  1. Plan
  2. Prevention
  3. Alert
  4. Evacuation
  5. Response
Plan: You always want to have a plan in place. Fires don’t stop the doorway when you leave work for the day, so this is important at home too. Your plan should include emergency contacts, evacuation plan and available safety equipment at a minimum. This could be as easy as posting these three pieces of information on a notepad on the refrigerator. 

Prevention: This is the most important factor. You don’t have to worry about fires, if you work to prevent them from starting. Here are the basics. Keep combustibles away from sources of ignition. Don’t use extension cords for anything other than temporary use. Use extra care around open flames such as candles or fireplaces. Learn more and find great prevention and safety tips here. 

Fire extinguishers are also a prevention component when it comes to preventing fires from spreading. Do you know where the nearest fire extinguisher is at work? Do you have a fire extinguisher in your home? Here’s a home fire extinguisher tip: most home fire extinguishers are made by Kiddie. If it has a plastic discharge head, these are categorized as disposable fire extinguishers and should be deemed as expired 12 years from the manufacture date. If it has a metal head, it is a rechargeable extinguisher and should be recharged every 6 years. 

Alert: Most people are familiar with the loud alarms and strobes in the workplace. Those are tested at least annually. Do you know where the nearest alarm pull is located in your workplace? In case of a fire, you want to alert everyone within the occupancy as soon as possible. 

At home, have you checked your smoke alarms lately? Do you have smoke alarms? If you have correctly placed and operating smoke alarms in a home, your chance of survival goes up by 50% or greater. Almost three of every five home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms (40%) or no smoke alarms that were working (17%). Refer to the NFPA link for more information regarding home smoke alarms. Learn more about smoke detectors and alarms.

Evacuation: In the workplace, you should be able to observe a posted evacuation map. Again this should be observed within the plan phase. You don’t want to have to stop and look for your evacuation points during a fire. Know your primary and secondary evacuation routes. At home, do the same thing. Think of primary and secondary evacuation routes and points, i.e., egress windows, stairs, two points of entry, etc. 

Response: Response is the stage that you contact 911 to report a fire. Getting the fire department and rescue to the area as soon as possible is key, especially if it’s a building with multiple occupants that you cannot account for. Make sure you and others know how to emergency dial on a cell phone. 

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