11/12/2003

Tips: Fire Safety in the Workplace

In case of fire or another emergency everybody at your workplace needs to know
what to do. Planning ahead can help you avoid panicking if an emergency does
occur. Safety professionals recommend taking the following steps to prevent
accidents and loss of life in workplace emergencies. While many of them will
already be familiar, important safety precautions such as these deserve to be
repeated often.

Be prepared


  • Know the location of the nearest fire alarm. Know how to use it, and be
    familiar with its signal.
  • Learn the location of the two nearest exits from your work area.


Don't panic


  • Don't assume anyone else has called emergency services personnel. When
    calling the fire department, remain calm and give the dispatcher as much
    information as you know.
  • · Never take the elevator during a fire. You may be trapped if the power
    goes out.
  • Leave quickly, closing doors as you go to contain fire and smoke.
  • If you encounter smoke or flame during your escape, use another exit. Heat
    and smoke rise, so cleaner air will be near the floor. Get as low as possible
    to the floor and move toward the exit.
  • Once outside, move away from the building and stay out until emergency
    personnel say it is safe.
  • If co-workers are still inside, notify firefighters. Don't attempt to
    rescue co-workers yourself once you've made it outside.


If you stay


  • 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 -- jackets,
    towels, etc.
  • If there's a telephone in the room where you're trapped, call the fire
    department emergency number 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 a distance.
  • If possible, open a window for air, but do not break it as you may need to
    close the window if smoke rushes in.


Employer's role

  • Your workplace should conduct regular, mandatory fire drills at least
    twice a year.
  • Building evacuation routes should also be posted throughout workplace
    buildings.
  • Employees with special needs should be include in the emergency planning
    process.
  • Fire exits and doorways should never be blocked. Promptly report any signs
    of malfunction or blockage to building management.

Further information


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