It is very important to have a fire plan in the workplace to ensure that all employees/workers can get out of the building safely. No matter whether you are an employee or an employer, you need to be prepared for a number of things and properly deal with a fire at work. Having ‘Hazy idea’ of what evacuation procedures and fire fighting steps should be, can result into a risky situation.
Ensure to have a fire escape plan and it’s known to all employees. There must be minimum two ways to get out of a building, in case one of them has been blocked by fire. As an employer, make sure that all employees know what their escape options are.
Fire exits must be ALWAYS be a clear path as obstacles can cause accidents out of trip and fall adding more possibility of injuries.
Make sure all escape routes are clearly marked with fire safety signs such as auto-glow fire exits signages, so trying to escape the building is not difficult.
When it comes to fire escape options, it is essential to ensure the doors are unlocked when there are employees or visitors in the building. This is important as employees should not get stuck at the fire exits because the door has been chained or locked.
And as fire needs oxygen to survive, a fresh feed of air through wedged open fire doors may only lead to building the fire hazard. Fire safety posters can play a big role to create awareness on fire safety in a workplace.
A fire extinguisher is a must have in your workplace. If a small fire is caught soon enough, a fire extinguisher may be enough to put it out and save property and lives. The fire extinguisher signs must be installed to educate employees and visitor to locate it and instruction on how to use it. Make sure you have an ample number of fire extinguishers available through the building, which are designed for use in your particular industry (eg. if chemical-related fire then use specific extinguisher, etc.).
Regular inspection routine must be carried out for fire extinguishers to keep them in good working condition.
No untrained worker should attempt to deal with a fire. A fire marshal must carry out the procedure to keep out fire. In case you have been given permission to deal with a fire, one must consider these steps:
- Follow the fire training procedures – one should never put themselves at risk.
- Always ensure to have an escape route between you and the fire.
- In case your clothes catch fire, get on the floor and roll around. This will help to extinguish the flames. In training it is called as ‘stop, drop and roll’.
An evacuation plan is an essential guideline and every employee must know where they should go outside the building and meet at the Evacuation point once they are safe. A full proof plan ensures that everyone checks in with another person so you know that all employees and visitors are accounted for – and have escaped safely and are not trapped inside.
Discovering a Fire-
In case of fire follow these steps:
- Stay calm, don’t panic.
- Pull the fire alarm to alert all the occupants to evacuate. A fire alarm can be identified with the help of fire alarm sign put next to it.
- Alert the fire brigade by dialling 000 (or your Security Staff – depending on what procedures are currently in place).
- Exit the building immediately via the closest escape route. Never use the lift (elevator).
- Assemble with other staff at the evacuation assembly point.
- Upon their arrival, inform the firefighters of the situation.
Evacuating the Building-
When told to evacuate, or hearing the fire alarm, follow these steps:
- Stay calm.
- Stop what you are doing. Exit the building immediately via the closest escape route. Never use the lift as you may get caught in the smoke which leads to choking hazards.
- Walk briskly, and don’t turn around.
- Leave your belongings as it is.
- Always follow the Fire Warden’s instructions.
- Be careful while opening any door, feel the door and door handle. Avoid opening a warm door as there could be a fire behind it.
- In case the door is hot when you feel it, take another route. A window might be one of your option.
- If you encounter smoke during your evacuation, get on to the floor and crawl.
- While evacuating the premises close all doors and windows behind you, as fresh air ignites more fire.
- Assemble and stay at the evacuation assembly point. Never return to the building until you are told by either the fire brigade or your sub-ordinates that it is safe.
- Notify about injuries you have sustained, as soon as possible.
If for some reason you can not get out of the building.
- Alert others about it – via a phone call, standing by the window, or by opening the window and hanging a sheet or something to alert fire fighters of your presence.
- Keep a wet cloth over your mouth.
- Stay closest to the ground.
- Keep all the door closed to stop smoke getting into the room.
- Block up the cracks around all the doors with wet cloths, to stop smoke getting inside the room.
- If there is a lot of smoke, keep your hand against the wall to guide you if you need to move about.
- In case your clothes catch fire, immediately get on to the floor and roll around. This will help to extinguish the flames.
The Fire Service Week (FSW) is observed nation-wide under the guidance of the Fire Adviser, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India during April 14 – 20. This is observed to remember the lives lost in the devastating fire that erupted and the explosions took place on 14th April, 1944 at the Victoria Dock in the Bombay Port and to prevent fire in all industries.
Kaizen India celebrates Fire service week to propagate Fire Safety awareness amongst employees, their families and the public.