Fire and safety concerns are trivial in nature and even then most companies lose their business over this particular reason…especially where the companies are involved with global clients and exports.
Be it placing of fire extinguishers or their timely replacement, conducting mock drills, exit signs or any such empirical matter considerable concerns are not shown by the companies.
Aren’t we unnecessarily pushing human resources and other resources towards an uncalled for accident…
Tell me the truth or may be ask yourself- How many of you conduct a regular mock drill in your companies? How many employees are trained to use the extinguishers? Are you sure just a handful of people can take care of the fire(God Forbid) if that happens in a large facility. Some of you can very well pass the buck by saying that it is the administration department’s job and not HRs, but I’m afraid, my dear friends it is not the case. Each one of us is responsible for safety from fire.
What all things are important and need to be considered in terms of Fire Safety? May be this can work as your checklist:
# Fire hazards: Reporting of such things as overloaded electrical sockets and improperly contained flammable materials must be maintained as the responsibility of every employee. Further, adherence to following safety procedures within the workplace is essential to preventing fires. It is imperative that if you see any possible fire hazard you immediately notify a manager. A huge proportion of fires are started by faulty electrical equipments. Storage cupboards full of paperwork or piles of empty cardboard boxes stacked against an outside wall are classic examples of potential hazards, providing plenty of fuel if a fire does start.
# Fire Safety and education: Actions in the event of a fire, while a fire is certainly a terrifying thing and not something to be taken lightly, it is also something that can be controlled and extinguished. Firstly, it is important that you do not attempt to handle the situation alone. Educating employees is very empirical for the prevention of fire, there are specialized training programs offered by many institutions and free lancers also, we need to get our staff trained about the know how of fire safety, prevention and to do list. Hand outs can also be given so that people can study them as and when they get the time, also educating them about cleanliness, hazardous material, fire causing material is also very important.
# Fire alarms: There are various types of alarms available in the market these days, we just need to ensure which suits the best for the facility and can be heard by all the employees when required. There are certain levels of sound an alarm should create, so do check before you install it in your premises.
# Means of escape – exit points; Clear signs of exit points should always be there in the premises, which can be readable and can be seen in the dark as well. Stairways, corridors and any such escape routes should be kept clear of all obstructions. Nothing should impede the evacuation route so that in the last minute there is no clearing required for these areas. Another important aspect is being human even in the times of difficulties, shoving and pushing people while escaping is actually being selfish and can invite another mishap like a stampede. So don’t forget the humanistic approach.
# Fire extinguisher training: Pulling the pin will allow you to squeeze the handle in order to discharge the extinguisher. Intending at the base of the fire helps as it souses easily; aiming at the middle will do no good. The agent will pass through the flames, then Squeeze the handle which will release the pressurized extinguishing agent keep sweeping from side to side and cover the entire area that is on fire. Continue until the fire is extinguished. Keep an eye on the area for re-lighting.
# Types of fire extinguishers:
@ CO2 type extinguishers contains carbon di oxide and can work on flammable liquids and solids, gases and electric wires
@ ABC type with nitrogen gas, which can take care of fire due to rubber products, paper, flammable gases, liquids and solids and electric related fire.
@ DCP Extinguisher contains sodium bi carbonate as the extinguisher media used for flammable liquids, gases, solids and fire from metal related.
@ Special DCP – which has synthetic foam to take care of fire rising from flammable liquids and solids.
# Mock drills: Conducting mock drills is again an important part of fire safety and education. Mock drills actually help in understanding the events that can occur at the time of fire and also prepare the employees to what to expect at the time of a fire and how to find an escape route and gather at a pre decided point.
# Sprinklers, Heat and smoke detectors: Smoke detectors are more efficient at detecting fire, precaution needs to be taken in installing them at the correct place and heat detectors can also be placed where chances of increased heat is high such as boilers and server rooms for example. Sprinklers help in dousing the fire and works when a predetermined temperature has been reached.
Just do not let the ferocious fire take unnecessarily advantage of ignorance… Just handle it with care and let it not destroy us.