Big or small, treat all forms of fire with respect

Did you know that smoke is responsible for three out of four fire-related deaths? Knowing what to expect and preparing for a fire before it happens can save your life. So plan ahead. Develop a fire safety plan with your employees that includes a review of fire hazards, an escape plan, installing smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and teaching your staff about fire safety. By following these fire safety strategies you might just save lives.

Safety tips, advice, and resources found in this section have been recommended by a number of reputable organizations devoted to fire safety.

SMOKE DETECTORS

  1. Make the whole building safe. Put smoke detectors on every floor.
  2. Maintain your equipment. Make sure detectors are dust free. Replace batteries once a year, or sooner.
  3. Testing, testing. Test your detectors at least once a month.
  4. Be sure they’re working. If your detectors are directly wired into your electrical system, make sure the signal lights are blinking. This lets you know that the alarm is active.
  5. Know what’s happening. Smoke detectors that are monitored by an accredited emergency response station can be installed and will notify you in case of emergency wherever you are.
  6. Fires don’t discriminate. Neither does safety. There are detectors available for people with impaired hearing.

FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

  1. An extinguisher in hand is worth two fire-trucks coming. A trusty extinguisher is your best bet against a small fire becoming a big one.
  2. Cover your bases. Purchase an “ABC” type extinguisher for extinguishing all types of fires.
  3. Mount them and let people know where they are. Fire extinguishers should be put in the kitchen, garage, and workshop.
  4. Learn how to use it before you need it! All employees should also be taught how to operate fire extinguishers.
  5. Use only on small fires. If there is a large fire, get out of the area immediately and call 911 from another location.

HAVE AN ESCAPE PLAN AND BE PREPARED

  1. POST EMERGENCY NUMBERS CLOSE TO EACH PHONE!
  2. Make sure you’re ready for anything. Check the batteries in your phone; many phones use a battery to retain memory when power is lost.
  3. Practice makes perfect. Create a floor plan of your home showing two ways out of each room. Have fire drills regularly. Practice your escape at different times of the year.
  4. Privacy can also mean added safety. Closed doors can give you extra time in case of a fire.
  5. Give yourself a way out. Window escape ladders are available through many stores.
  6. Location, location… Agree on a meeting place a safe distance from your home where your staff can gather for a head count.
  7. Clear the way. Make sure stairways, hallways and all escape routes are free of obstructions and combustibles.

IN CASE OF FIRE

  1. Get out fast. Don’t waste time collecting possessions after a fire starts.
  2. Get out alive. Wake or tell all occupants and leave the building.
  3. Never open doors without checking for heat. Test them with your hands. If they feel warm, fire may be on the other side. If so, leave closed and find another way out.
  4. Never go back into a burning building. Stay together away from the fire. Call 911 from another location.
  5. Stay down, cover your mouth, crawl to safety. If trapped inside a burning building, stay close to the floor and cover your mouth with a cloth to conserve breath.
  6. Don’t give fire a place to go. Keep all doors and windows closed except for escape purposes.

FIREPLACE

  1. Screen it. Use a screen to prevent sparks from flying out.
  2. Keep combustibles away. Don’t have newspapers, kindling, matches, rugs, or wooden floor near a burning fireplace.
  3. Inspect it. Have a professional inspect your chimney prior to every heating season.
  4. Clean it. Clean your fireplace regularly to remove creosote build-up.
  5. Stop it. Prevent roof fires by installing a chimney spark arrester.
  6. Do it right. If you have a gas fireplace, strike a match first, then turn on the gas.

FURNACE/SPACE HEATERS

  1. Be careful. Space heaters can be extremely dangerous.
  2. Maintain well. Have your furnace inspected before every heating season.
  3. Keep potential fuel away. Don’t store newspapers, rags, or other combustible materials near a furnace, hot water heater or space heater.
  4. Turn it off. Don’t leave space heaters operating when you’re not in the room.
  5. Use the three feet rule. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from anything, including the wall.
  6. Extension cords and space heaters don’t mix. Never use extension cords with space heaters.
  7. Do it right. When lighting a gas space heater, strike your match first, then turn on the gas.
  8. Never, ever. Never use a gas range as a substitute for a furnace or space heater.

ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

Electricity entertains us, empowers us, and light up our lives. It can also be harmful.

  1. Extension cords are dangerous. If you feel you must use one, make sure it is not frayed or worn. Never run it under a rug or twist it around a nail or hook.
  2. Never overload a socket. Outlet extensions that accommodate several plugs are discouraged. Use outlet covers on all outlets to prevent shock hazards.
  3. Use the proper wattage. Read the label inside each fixture that tells the maximum wattage.
  4. Inspect your outlets Check for loose wall receptacles, loose wires, or loose lighting fixtures.
  5. Give them some breathing room. Allow air space around the TV to prevent overheating. The same goes for radios, stereos and hot lamps.
  6. Give it a break. If a circuit breaker trips or a fuse blows frequently, cut down on the number of appliances on that line.
  7. Never overload your system. Watch for these overload signals: dimming lights when an appliance goes on, a shrinking TV picture, slow heating appliances, or fuses blowing frequently. Call a qualified electrician to get expert help.

KITCHEN

  1. Never leave cooking unattended. Keep a fire extinguisher 10 feet away from the stove on the exit side of the kitchen.
  2. Never pour water on a grease fire. Turn off the stove and cover the pan with a lid, or close the oven door.
  3. Watch your kids in the kitchen. Keep pot handles on the stove pointing to the back.
  4. Don’t keep stuff on the stove. They could catch fire.
  5. Keep your appliances clean. Turn them off and disconnect them when not in use.
  6. Don’t overload outlets. And don’t use appliances with frayed or cracked wires.
  7. Don’t wear loose fitting clothes when you cook. Loose bathrobes, aprons, or sleeves can catch fire.
  8. Clean more than the counters. Make sure the exhaust hood and duct over the stove are cleaned regularly and wipe up spilled grease as soon as the surface of the stove is cool.
  9. Operate your microwave only when there is food in it.

GASOLINE AND OTHER FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS

  1. Keep the flames contained. Flammable liquids should be stored only in approved safety containers and should be kept outside the house and garage in a separate storage area.
  2. Matches and gas don’t mix. Never use flammable liquids near an open flame or sparks.
  3. Gas it up outside. Lawn equipment and snowblowers should be refueled in well ventilated outdoor locations, and away from sparks or heat.
  4. Follow the 10 feet rule. Start equipment 10 feet from where you filled it with fuel.
  5. Cool it first. Don’t fill a hot machine of any kind.
  6. Never clean floors with flammable liquids. Use appropriate solvents, and never smoke at the same time.

SMOKING SAFETY

  1. Quit. The best way to avoid smoking hazards is to stop smoking.
  2. Never smoke in bed. No matter what.
  3. Empty ashtrays. Use large, deep ashtrays, and empty them often.
  4. Wet your butts. Never dump an ashtray into the trash without wetting the ashes first.

Source: Voxcom.В