SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Worksite Fire Emergencies
I was teaching an OSHA course at the University of
California San Diego, OSHA Training Institute and was
asking questions of my students about fire prevention
and the use of fire extinguishers and also about their emergency
evacuation plans and found that many of the students
did not know the various classes of fire extinguishers.
I then asked them if they had an emergency evacuation
plan for their homes and also one to protect their family?
Many of the safety professionals and other students
attending the class that day responded that they did not
have one. Many also lived in homes that were more than
one story high and they did not have an emergency escape
ladder to get out of the house in the event of a fire.
If the worst should happen and a fire did break out at
your worksite or home would you know what to do?
Knowing what to do and how to react in a fire emergency
can literally mean the difference between life and death.
Your First Move
Many small and self-contained fires can be safely extinguished
on the spot. However, if you have any doubt as to
the seriousness of the fire sound the fire alarm immediately
and begin evacuating the building. Know where fire
alarm boxes are located throughout your workplace, learn
your company’s evacuation procedures, and know the
locations of established escape routes. Have this information
prominently located for everyone to see.
Fighting Small Fires
If you are certain that a small or
self-contained fire does not pose an
immediate threat to you, your
coworkers or the surrounding area,
you may be able to put it out with
the appropriate extinguisher.
There are many varieties of fire
extinguishers, but each is rated
according to type or types of fires
that it can put out. Before you use
an extinguisher, check to see if it is
rated for the type of fire that you
are confronting: this information
must be prominently listed on the
extinguisher itself. Please don’t
wait for a fire to start to learn
where fire extinguishers are located
and what ratings they carry.
And, before you find yourself in a
fire emergency, take a moment to
learn the four basic types of fires.
Four Types Of Fires
Type A: Wood, paper, cloth, rubbish, etc.
or “ASH” type fires
Type B: Flammable gas, liquids, (like oil
and grease, paint etc.)
Type C: Electrical fires
Type D: Combustible metals
Your safety and your family’s safety is first. If you have a
fire extinguisher at home, please make sure that you have
the right extinguisher and everyone knows how to use it.
If you are in doubt about the seriousness of any fire, don’t
hesitate, call 911 and evacuate the area.
Until next month stay safe.
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.