When it comes to emergency evacuation procedures, you can never be too prepared. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps that you need to take to build the ultimate emergency evacuation procedure checklist. By following these tips, you can ensure that your business is ready for any type of emergency situation.
The first step in creating your emergency evacuation procedure checklist is to identify the potential hazards that could affect your business. This could include fires, severe weather, floods, or even earthquakes. Once you have identified the potential hazards, you can begin to create your checklist.
The next step in creating your emergency evacuation procedure checklist is to plan a response to each possible hazard situation. This includes deciding everyone’s roles in the event of an evacuation, the safest routes out of the building, where everyone will meet, and how you will communicate with employees during the process.
It is important to have a clear and concise plan that everyone can follow, including those with disabilities. In fact, those who may need assistance during an evacuation may benefit from a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan, or PEEP. Be sure to include any special considerations as part of your overall evacuation plan.
The third step in creating your emergency evacuation procedure checklist is to prepare your emergency kits. This should include all of the supplies that you may need in the event of an evacuation, such as flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies, and food and water. Make sure that everyone on staff knows where these emergency kits are located and how to use the supplies.
In addition, you should also include any medications that your staff may need in the event of an evacuation. This could include things like asthma inhalers or insulin. By including these items in your emergency kits, you can ensure that everyone on your staff has the supplies they need to stay safe and healthy during an evacuation.
The fourth and final step in creating your emergency evacuation procedure checklist is to make sure that everyone on your staff knows the plan. There’s no use in coming up with detailed evacuation procedures if people don’t know about them!
The first thing you should do is post clear signage throughout the building so that everyone knows where to find the emergency exits, kits, and safety equipment. An evacuation map or diagram showing the different routes and locations throughout the building would also be helpful.
Once you’ve gone over the plans with your employees and showed them where to find the signs, you’ll then want to start organizing regular evacuation drills. This is crucial, as it’s important to see how your evacuation plan works in practice. You may find that you need to tweak your plan here and there to make it as safe and effective as possible, so be sure not to skip this step.
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While it’s often a good idea to stay cool, calm, and collected whenever a fire breaks out, it’s not always a reality. Some people start to panic when they come face-to-face with the spreading smoke and flames. And who can blame them? A fire is a dangerous situation! It can be absolutely overwhelming when your safety is at risk, which can make it difficult to remember and follow proper fire safety procedures.
This panic is completely understandable, so experts have created certain acronyms to help make fire safety best practices easier to remember. RACE, for example, stands for Remove/Rescue, Alarm/Alert, Confine/Contain, and Extinguish/Evacuate, and this is exactly what you need to do if you encounter a fire. Let’s take a closer look at the RACE acronym below.
After you’ve been alerted to the presence of a fire, you should immediately stop what you’re doing and take a quick scan around the room. Not only is it important to make sure that you have a clear escape route, but you should also see if anyone else needs assistance getting out of the building. Sometimes, helping others can bring a sense of calmness to a chaotic situation, which can result in better decision-making during an emergency.
If you do happen to see others, focus on helping those who are injured or are otherwise unable to get to safety. Those who don’t have any issues should be able to get out themselves.
Let others know about the fire. If the alarm system hasn’t been activated yet and it’s safe to do so, go ahead and pull the trigger. This will alert everyone else in the building and may also alarm the local fire department.
On the other hand, if you’re unable to get to a fire alarm pull station, then call 911 once you’ve reached safety. The operator will probably ask about your location, details about the fire, and if there are any injuries, so try and be ready with this information.
This is referring to confining/containing the fire, as it can help slow or stop it from spreading quickly around the area. Once everyone is safely out of the room or building housing the fire, you should try to close every door and window you pass as you make your way to safety.
However, make sure you’re not blocking or trapping anyone as you’re closing everything. Always keep your eyes and ears open as you make your way through the building just in case.
If the fire is small, you can safely reach a fire extinguisher, and you’re confident in your ability to use it, then attempt to put out the fire. Just remember to PASS:
Those who aren’t confident in their extinguishing abilities or simply aren’t near one should just focus on evacuating the building. Remember, everyone’s safety should be the top priority in a fire, so don’t put yourself at risk if it isn’t necessary.
Want to learn more about fire extinguishers and other fire safety tips? Contact Fire-Alert today to see how we can help!
It may not be something that many of us want to think about, but it’s important that your family knows what to do if a fire breaks out in your home. Even the youngest members of your household should join in on the conversation, as it’s never too early to start teaching your kids about fire safety. In fact, research shows that children under 5 are twice as likely to die in a home fire than any other age group, so providing them with the right information could very well save lives.
Since it can be challenging to teach kids about such a serious topic, we’ve put together some tips on how to educate your family on fire safety. Check them out below.
The most important thing for your kids to understand is that they should not go near the fire. Under no circumstances should they try to extinguish the fire or grab anything that is anywhere near the flames. Remind them that their possessions can be replaced, but they cannot. Their number one priority should be getting away from the fire and calling for help
Here are some other simple yet essential things to teach your kids:
Fire drills aren’t just for school! It’s also important to plan and practice fire escape routes at home. After all, this is usually where your family spends most of its time together. By doing this on a regular basis, you can be confident that everyone will know what to do and where to go in an emergency situation.
The first thing to do is familiarize everyone with the sound of your home’s smoke alarms. They should all know exactly what to do when they hear that particular sound: start getting out of the building.
The next step should be finding the safest escape route. When designing your plan, it’s recommended that you identify at least two escape routes for every room. That way, if one happens to be blocked by fire, your family can quickly locate another way out. If one of your routes happens to be through a window, make sure it can be opened easily. You may even consider investing in escape ladders to throw out the window if it’s on the second story or higher.
Finally, come up with a designated outside meeting place. This is where everyone will immediately go after they’ve escaped the building.
It’s important to practice your fire escape plan regularly, as it will help everyone remember what to do if a fire breaks out in your home. By familiarizing your family with the basics of fire safety and your home escape plan, you can help protect them from a potentially dangerous, life-threatening situation.
Looking for more ways to help keep your family safe from fire? Learn about Fire-Alert’s residential services here.
While many people may not know everything about fire safety, they can almost certainly recognize one essential piece of equipment: the fire extinguisher. Indeed, this red fire-fighting device is often the first line of defense against small fires in many homes and businesses. However, it’s only going to be effective if you know how to use it properly.
While you can take a course in fire safety if you really want to get comfortable with a fire extinguisher, it’s not necessary. The next time you go to use a fire extinguisher, all you need to remember is PASS: Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep. Let’s learn more about the PASS method and other fire safety basics below.
Before you use an extinguisher, you need to make sure you have the right one for the type of fire. The following are the different classes of fires and extinguishers.
Look for one of these classifications on the label of a fire extinguisher to determine if it’s appropriate for the job.
The PASS method is an easy way to remember how to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency. After verifying that you’re using the correct extinguisher for the type of fire, follow these steps:
The first thing you need to do is pull out the pin that prevents you from pressing the handle on the fire extinguisher. This is a safety feature that helps ensure the extinguisher won’t accidentally go off in someone’s hands.
Look for the pin near the top of the extinguisher. After you locate it, just pull it out to unlock the handle.
Standing from a safe distance, aim the nozzle low, toward the base of the fire.
Once the nozzle is pointing in the right direction, squeeze the handle. Try and squeeze it slowly and evenly for best results. Then, to stop the stream, simply release the handle.
While squeezing, sweep the nozzle of the extinguisher from side-to-side. Make sure you’re always pointing toward the base of the flames as you sweep the area.
Though the steps are fairly basic, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) doesn’t believe that children shouldn’t use portable fire extinguishers. This is due to many reasons, such as:
If an adult is around, they should always be the one to operate a fire extinguisher. Children should be taught to leave the situation as soon as possible.
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If you ask someone where to find a fire extinguisher in their home or workplace, there’s a good chance they’ll be able to point you in the right direction. However, if you try asking a follow up question about how to use the fire extinguisher, then…well…they may be less helpful.
This isn’t surprising, as many people go their whole lives without ever having to use a fire extinguisher. While it’s great that they haven’t been put in such a dangerous situation, this also means their inexperience with fire extinguishers could work against them in an emergency situation.
If this sounds like you, then you’ve found the right article. Let’s go over the basics of fire extinguishers to help keep you and everyone around you safe in a dangerous situation.
A fire extinguisher isn’t a one size fits all deal – you have to use different ones for different types of fires. There are 5 common classes of fire, including:
A lot of fire extinguishers found in homes and businesses are labelled as Class ABC, so they can be used for multiple types of fires. You can typically find the remaining two types, Classes D and K, in factories and commercial kitchens respectively.
There are various types of fire extinguishers available, but the following are the most common ones.
Portable fire extinguishers tend to be quite effective. In fact, a survey by The National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors reported that they were able to extinguish fires nearly 95% of the time. This may be because they have been designed so that anyone can use them – all you have to remember to do is PASS.
Keep in mind that portable fire extinguishers are only meant for small fires, so they only contain so much of the extinguishing agent. Therefore, you should always have an escape route ready to go in case the extinguisher runs out before the fire does.
For more on fire extinguishers, and to take advantage of our mobile extinguisher services, click here to contact Fire-Alert today!
Construction sites are full of potential safety hazards. For example, there’s the risk of injury from tools, falling materials, and falling from a certain height yourself. This is exactly why most sites require workers to wear appropriate PPE, such as hard hats, safety boots, and work gloves. This equipment can be quite effective in protecting workers from certain dangers, but there’s one situation where they’re pretty much useless: a fire.
Since fires can cause so much devastation so quickly, it’s important that workers are able to identify and minimize fire risks while going about their daily tasks. Let’s take a look at the basics of construction fire safety.
There are 3 elements that must be present to create a fire: the right amount of oxygen, heat, and fuel. This is commonly referred to as the fire triangle. Then, if you add in the chemical reaction that is fire, you have the fire tetrahedron.
The basics of fire safety are all about keeping these elements away from each other, especially the fuel and heat/ignition sources. Since there are often a ton of these components at a construction site, there are many situations where workers may be at risk.
With so many potential fire hazards around, it can be next to impossible to completely eliminate each and every one. Therefore, the best way for workers to practice fire safety is to try and minimize their risk.
Here are some tips for practicing fire safety at a construction site.
Hot work refers to any kind of work that could create an ignition source, like an open flame or spark. This includes cutting, grinding, and welding.
In order to keep safe during hot work, construction sites should have the following:
These are potential fuel sources. As such, it is important to store all flammable and combustible materials far away from any ignition sources. If they must be used in a risky area, then monitor them closely.
If heaters are required on-site, then they should be used as directed, monitored closely, and be UL certified. A UL certification means that the product has met the safety standards of UL, a leader in safety-related science.
All smoking should be prohibited on construction sites, as cigarettes are a huge fire hazard. Smoking should be limited to designated smoking areas that are far away from any fuel sources, like flammable and combustible materials.
Like smoking, all heat-producing cooking equipment should be banned from construction sites. This includes hot plates, microwave ovens, and grills. This isn’t to say that workers can’t have their breaks on-site – they just can’t cook them there.
Sometimes, workers can take every precaution and fire will still break out. To minimize the damage, be sure to do the following:
While a lot of people like the freedom and independence that comes along with driving, it’s probably safe to say that no one likes having to stop for gas (have you seen the prices lately?!). Not only does it add to your total travel time, but it puts you and everyone around you at an increased risk of being a victim of a fire or explosion.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help prevent gas station fires. Here are our 4 fire safety tips for gas stations.
This should be a no-brainer. A gas station is filled with a ton of highly flammable material, so don’t use anything that has the potential to start a fire while you’re there. This includes lighters, matches, even a magnifying glass in the right light.
This doesn’t just apply to when you are outside of your vehicle, either. Even if you are parked there with the windows up, do not use any potential sources of ignition. And if you’re a smoker, make sure your cigarette is out before you pull into the gas station, and don’t light another one up until you have left.
Even if you’re not much of a driver yourself, you probably know that you’re supposed to turn the engine off before filling up at the pump. While a major fire or explosion is unlikely, it is entirely possible that a running engine could ignite a fire, especially if fuel manages to leak through the nozzle while you’re refuelling your vehicle.
After you turn the engine off, it’s also not a bad idea to take the keys out of the ignition, especially if you have kids. This helps ensure they don’t accidentally turn it on while they’re waiting for you to finish at the pump.
This may be an even more unlikely scenario, but it is technically possible to start a fire with a mobile phone. In fact, a spark only needs about 0.2 mJ of energy to ignite gas vapour, which is a very small portion of the energy stored in a phone battery. However, since cell phones aren’t designed to make sparks, the odds of this actually happening are extremely slim.
Cell phones can be fire hazards in other ways, though. If you’re scrolling through your phone while refuelling, for example, you may end up overfilling your tank without realizing it, causing gas to spill everywhere. Mobile phones can be the ultimate distraction, so it’s best to put them away while you’re at the pump.
Again, this is a rarity, but static electricity can cause sparks. If you’ve built up a big static charge sliding in and out of your vehicle and the conditions are right, you can discharge a spark that could ignite a fire.
Therefore, you should try and discharge any built-up static before even touching the pump. It’s easy enough to do – simply touch a metal part of your vehicle. Problem solved!
Although sprinkler systems are not a requirement per the Canadian fire safety guidelines, it is crucial to have one or several in place as part of your fire safety strategy. They serve as the first line of defense during a fire incident. They can be fitted in commercial buildings, multi-family homes, warehouses, commercial kitchens, and restaurants. However, for them to be effective, they have to be well maintained.
Below are 4 reasons why you should install a sprinkler system on your property and properly maintain it.
A fire sprinkler system can significantly reduce the number of casualties or deaths that may result from a fire. Since they get activated as soon the fire starts, they catch it in the early stages allowing the building’s occupants ample time to exit.
By reducing the fire progression, they also minimize the amount of smoke produced. Smoke is one of the deadliest elements when there is a fire. In some instances, it causes more fatalities than the heat.
Smoke carries toxic fumes and tiny particles, which, when inhaled, can penetrate the lungs causing severe breathing difficulties. They also aggravate chronic cardio-respiratory illnesses such as asthma, angina, lung disease, and heart disease.
An uncontained fire can ravage the property within a few minutes, damaging it. The sprinkler curbs the flames preventing them from rising too high. Low flames cause minimal damage to the items inside the property. They also cause minimal damage to the building’s structure. While the floors and concrete may not be combustible, prolonged exposure to high heat may compromise its structure, causing it to collapse. Extensive damage to the building’s structure could lead to its demolition.
Keep in mind that even though water sprinklers use a minimal amount of water to contain the fire, they might cause some level of water damage on the property and the items therein. However, compared to the extent of damage the fire would have caused, the water damage will be easier and less costly to repair. Besides, the water damage will be less than that caused by firefighters’ 2 1/2-inch hose lines.
The sprinkler systems are designed to contain the fire long enough for the firefighters to arrive and extinguish the fire fully. In some cases, the sprinklers extinguish fire such that the firefighters only need to vent out any fumes and check for hot spots.
Well-maintained and regularly inspected automatic sprinkler systems are almost fail-proof. In the case of a fire, the high heat triggers and activates the fire sprinkler system, which discharges water or other fire suppression elements.
Automatic sprinkler systems play a crucial role in fire suppression. Therefore, as you assess your fire risk and develop a fire safety plan, determine how to incorporate sprinkler systems. It is best to have them installed and maintained by a professional.
Whether you’re at home or in a workplace, you can’t avoid COVID-19. Most of our lives have now revolved around what practices are best to prevent and reduce the spread of the virus. You may not consider it, but even a routine fire inspection needs to be tweaked before going through your home or office environment.
Here are some simple and effective ways a fire inspection can still be done while actively preventing the spread of coronavirus.
If you’re in a multi-story building or office environment, make sure there’s just one person who is performing the fire inspection.
Not every employee is trained to check all of the fire equipment, so this might be a job for a professional fire inspection service.
Your workplace fire marshal can be a good person to turn to for routine inspections of entrances, exits, fire extinguishers, and other safety tools. In this case, they’ll have to be careful during inspection and sanitize surfaces as they go.
Here’s what we outline on our website as a safe practice to check your fire extinguisher:
Fire extinguishers should be maintained at regular intervals (at least once a year), or when specifically indicated by an inspection. A fire extinguisher inspection is intended to give maximum assurance that an extinguisher will operate effectively and safely. It includes a detailed examination and any necessary repairs, recharging or replacement. It will normally reveal the need for pressure testing (hydrostatic testing) of an extinguisher to ensure the cylinder is safe to use.
If you’re at work during COVID-19, you’ve probably already gotten the sanitization drill. Wiping down surfaces is vital to making sure everything is safe to use in the workplace.
Make sure your office has cleaning supplies and it is accessible to everyone. It’s best to go around at least 3 times a day to wipe down commonly used surfaces. This is important in the event of an emergency where people will need to evacuate. That way, evacuation can be done as safely as possible with a lesser chance of contamination.
The National Fire Protection Association also makes this point about making sure entrances are not only sanitize, but accessible:
“Many buildings have adjusted their entries and lobbies to now require such features as staggered entry, mask deployments and temperature checks. How have these important and pragmatic changes taken people with disabilities into account? The following questions should be considered: Are entries free and clear of obstruction? Is the entry accessible for those using wheelchairs or other mobility devices?”
Calling in a professional fire inspector to perform a routine inspection is often the best route to take. This is especially true if you’re in an office environment.
However, not all companies will be able to provide complete service due to physical distancing rules. Before asking for a fire inspection, call and ask what their policy is during COVID-19.
The Ontario Fire Marshal outlines certain protocols that need to be taken into place during the pandemic:
“Fire Departments should consider on a case by case basis and per local municipal policies during COVID-19 restrictions: To limit fire inspection activities that require entry into buildings to fire safety matters that involve serious risk to life safety, or, fire safety matters that the Fire Chief or their delegate have assessed and deemed to be necessary. Fire inspection related entry into buildings should be undertaken in compliance with any COVID-19 safety protocols adopted by municipalities and in compliance with any additional protocols adopted in buildings where entry is required.”
Working in a restaurant setting has a lot of obstacles to overcome. There are plenty of routine inspections to handle on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.
A restaurant kitchen is fraught with safety hazards and staff need to make sure that there’s the right safety protocol in place to keep everything in order. This goes especially for fire safety. Kitchens are naturally going to be prone to fire safety issues and that’s why it’s necessary to have the right rules in place to avoid and prevent any accidents. Here are some easy tips you can follow to ensure your restaurant is following safety standards.
Performing a routine fire inspection is a must for any workplace, especially for restaurants. A restaurant setting can be unpredictable at times because equipment can fail or malfunction and potential accidents can happen.
The best course of action to combat this is to be as prepared as possible for any possible scenario. The first step to this is prevention, and this can be done through routine inspections. Check equipment to see if it’s properly set up and clean, and check that all fire safety equipment is up to date and in the right place.
Markel Insurance indicates these fire prevention tips when performing routine inspections:
“Schedule regular maintenance on electrical equipment, and watch for hazards like frayed cords or wiring, cracked or broken switch plates and combustible items near power sources.
Have your exhaust system inspected for grease buildup. The NFPA Fire Code calls for quarterly inspections of systems in high-volume cooking operations and semi-annual inspections in moderate-volume operations. Monthly inspections are required for exhaust systems serving solid-fuel cooking equipment, like wood or charcoal-burning ovens.”
All employees in a restaurant should be wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE). This means supplying all of your employees with the uniforms that will protect against burns, spills, cuts, and scrapes.
Working in a kitchen and near any sort of hardware with heat, water, or sharp objects, PPE goes hand-in-hand with giving employees the right training. If employees are fully trained on how to use hardware like a grill or stove, then they need to be equipped with the right PPE while they’re using it. This acts as a first line of defence against any potential accidents that could happen.
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety points out that wearing the right PPE is important:
“It is also important to remember that wearing the right PPE is important. PPE does not reduce the workplace hazard nor does it guarantee permanent or total protection for the wearer. Simply having Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) available is not enough.”
Your restaurant business should have its own set of safety rules in place. Once you do, it’s important to also check with the building safety rules as well.
Cross-reference these rules with your own business and see if there’s anything you may have missed. Often, restaurant buildings are rented by the business owners and naturally, not everyone is as familiar with the building. There may be certain rules and protocol in place already. Plus, when planning your evacuation plans, there could already be one outlined by the building manager.
The city of Red Deer, Alberta has a great document highlighting what fire safety protocol needs to take place in an emergency, and is a great example to follow in your own workspace. Here’s an example:
“A Fire Safety Plan shall include:
- a) The emergency procedures to be used in case of a fire, including
- Sounding of the fire alarm,
- Notifying of the fire department,
iii. Instructing occupants on procedures to be followed when the fire alarm sounds,
Evacuating occupants, including special provisions for persons requiring assistance,
Confining, controlling and extinguishing the fire.”