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School Fire Safety

School Fire Safety

Keeping schools safe from fire should be a priority at all levels of school. Regularly scheduled fire drills are a start, but more things can be done to prevent fires and improve existing protection.

Here are some things we think school systems everywhere should be thinking about in addition to escape plans and drills.

Back to Basics

A lot of safety measures available to schools simply involve common sense. That means making sure that staff and students have an overall awareness of fire safety and can integrate it into their day-to-day activities. For example – nothing flammable or combustible should be near a heating unit of any kind. Or perhaps it’s as simple as simply checking the chords connected to a teacher’s electrical device to make sure they’re not stretched or damaged.

Simply put – the best fire safety practices just involve groups of people being more conscious of what can cause fires and what simple things they can do to avoid them.

Doors and Hallways

It’s imperative that schools make sure their emergency exit doors and signage is as well maintained as possible. Keeping these in good, working order ensures that everyone knows where to go in the event of a fire, and that the fire can be contained more easily.

Also – a common mistake staff make on a consistent basis is leaving swinging doors and fire doors propped open to improve the flow of foot traffic in the hallways. This is actually a mistake. Those doors should be closed as much as possible because in the event there is a fire – it’ll be a lot more difficult for the fire to spread. That means safer kids and significantly less damage.

Secondary schools

Once you get into middle and high school, you’re introduced to things like chemistry rooms, bunsen burners, and the like. Some include non-traditional classroom settings, workshops, woodshops, kitchens, and other skill-developing spaces. This represents a whole new level of awareness for the people using the space and more safety guidelines to follow – and every school should make sure their staff are thoroughly trained in the dos and don’ts of each.

For example, it’s important for Home Economics teachers to know what to do in the case of a grease fire. Workshops should be kept free of potentially flammable debris. Labs should have any toxic or potentially flammable liquids stored and disposed of properly. And in all of those settings, there should be proper ventilation.

Whether it’s smoke detectors, extinguishers, exists or sprinkler systems – it’s important for schools to make sure their facilities are up to code and ready in the case of a fire.

For more information on this or any other fire protection topic, please call Protegis Fire & Safety.

 

 

Five Fire Safety Myths

 

Fire safety is an important part of the operation of any building – whether it’s commercial or residential. There’s a lot to do to make sure you’re ready in the event of a fire, but there’s also a lot of noise out there regarding what people know and take as fact. Today, we’re going to discuss some of those myths and why you shouldn’t take them to heart.

New Buildings Are Safer

They’re not. Let’s face it – age is just a number. Any fire can be life-threatening, no matter how old or new your building may be. What’s important here isn’t the age – it’s the type of fire protection system you have that’ll make the difference. Is yours outdated and aging? Is it adequate for the makeup of the building or the type of business that resides within it? It’s smart to consult with a fire safety professional to understand what systems are best for your building.

Smoke Detectors Are Enough

No way. Not even close. Smoke detectors save lives. There’s no questioning that. But they won’t help extinguish flames or tell you where a fire is located. Sometimes, smoke detectors can even fail, and when they do – lives could be at stake. Smoke detectors are a must-have for any building – but they’re not enough on their own to protect you.

People Panic In Fires

The thinking here isn’t all that outrageous. Many people don’t handle stress well. But in the event of a fire, research has actually proven to be the opposite. Having a plan and going over it with your employees and residents is the most important thing. If they’re prepared, their chances of getting to safety unharmed increase almost eightfold. By having regular drills and practicing evacuation procedures, the people in your building will be prepared, and you can count on them to most likely act with a level head and get out safely.

Small Fires Can Be Put Out Just By You

While people think a fire extinguisher might solve their problem – the fact is, and the research suggests that the most damaging fires often start small. No matter how big or small a fire is, follow the safety protocols that you’ve set in place.

Sprinkler Systems Freeze When It Gets Cold

They don’t. There are many new ways to install and maintain sprinkler systems today, that weather and temperature play almost no role in their failures. Trust the people installing them that even if it’s frigid outside, your system will work. Now, malfunctions may occur elsewhere and for different reasons. That’s why maintenance on an ongoing basis is a must-have. But the temperature won’t cause your system to malfunction.

Now that you know the facts, it’s time to make sure your building is fully prepared for any emergency that might arise. Give us a call, and we’ll help you map out a plan or system that works best for your building.

 

 

The Three Essential Components of a Workplace Fire Safety Training Program

Fires are a very real threat to almost any workplace. While it’s true that industrial and manufacturing settings are at a higher risk than a more traditional office setting – anyone can be the victim of a fire. 

Therefore, it is vital that you have an evacuation and safety plan in place. Even more importantly, your employees need to be trained so that they know how to react in the event that the worst happens. But what should that training entail and what are the important details that they need to know? That’s the question we’re going to answer today.

Here are some of the things that should be included when it comes to training your employees on fire safety. Let’s jump right in.

Recognizing Fire Hazards

Perhaps the most important aspect of any workplace fire safety training program is teaching employees how to recognize potential fire hazards. All fires need three things in order to happen:

  1. Heat (a source of ignition)
  2. Fuel (anything flammable)
  3. Oxygen (what keeps the fire going)

When all three of these things exist, fire’s can start and maintain themselves. Preventing fires starts by keeping these things away from each other and also recognizing when they aren’t. This helps to prevent fires from happening, period.

Any workplace fire safety training should first teach employees what fire-starting components are and how they can identify them. The better they know how to look out for these things the better off they’ll be at preventing fires. 

What To Do If There Is A Fire

You may have a fire safety plan but do your employees know exactly what they’re supposed to do? When that alarm goes off, do they know what to do and where to go? In any sound fire safety training program, employees should know:

1.) Their role in executing the plan

2.) How to leave/exit the building

3.) What to do as they evacuate;

4.) Where to regroup 

5.) What to do if they physically encounter heat, smoke, or fire

By covering these basics, you will ensure that your employees will be as prepared as possible in the event the worst occurs. 

How Equipment Works

The third foundational component of workplace fire safety training needs to be about equipment and how it works. How pull stations work and are activated; how to find and operate fire extinguishers; who to call and notify if something goes wrong; and also how sprinklers and other suppression systems work.

These programs should all be taught by professionals. They’ll be able to cover a variety of materials including differences among fire extinguishers, what chemicals are used for what, what – exactly – they should do, and the like.

If you have questions about how to implement fire safety training in your workplace, feel free to give us a call and we’re happy to walk you through the process. Until then, good luck!

Common Causes of Industrial Fires

Every few years, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) releases reports on the different kinds of fires that started in the United States over a given period of time. In the last four years, there were over 37,000 fires at industrial facilities to the tune of almost $1.2 billion in actual property damage, and at the cost of 16 lives and nearly 300 people injured. 

Industrial fires are serious business – and anyone dealing with an industrial business needs to take fire safety seriously. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the different kinds of fires you’ll commonly encounter in an industrial facility and discuss some of the ways you can prevent them. Let’s jump right in!

Dust Fires

In most industrial settings, combustible dust is a common thing you’ll have to deal with. Even when particles and materials aren’t considered flammable, they can be combustible when mixed in with other elements in a specific concentration. 

When these particles explode- they first cause particles to become airborne and then the cloud from the dust can create a secondary explosion that’s even worse than the first one. Given the right conditions, combustible dust explosions can level an entire facility. 

Preventing these fires is a considerable priority for most industrial businesses and having a hazardous dust inspection, ongoing testing, and cleaning program is a must. Never leave dust residues out in the open and clean them up whenever you can using the proper collection systems. And above all else, make sure there’s no smoking, open flames, or sparks of any kind. 

Liquid and Gas Fires

The most common kind of fire in chemical plants is flammable liquid and gas fires. They can ignite from a whole bunch of sources and sparks – and can be particularly difficult to contain if you don’t have the proper equipment. 

Every industrial business should be aware of the hazards that each flammable liquid and gas present to a business. Make sure employees read and follow the information provided in safety data sheets and manuals and make sure any materials are stored according to OSHA regulations. The other important piece is to make sure all personnel are wearing proper PPE (personal protective equipment) like gloves, bodysuits, goggles, and the like. And of course – keep any sort of ignition sources well clear of any area where flammable liquids and gases are being used. 

Electrical Fires

Industrial facilities take a real building. Heavy machinery is roaring, equipment is banging away, production lines are whirring and your employees are always on the move. As such, it can be easy for things like wires to become exposed or not perform up to code. Outlets can be overloaded, there can be circuit overloads and even static discharge. And even worse – a spark from an electrical source can cause the ignition of combustible dust and flammable liquids and gas. 

Staying safe from electrical fires is a whole blog itself, but the key takeaways are to practice basic electrical safety like you would at home. That includes things like not overloading circuits, not overloading outlets, not using unnecessary extension cords, and just like at home – unplug high-energy consumption assets when they’re not in use. 

Employees should always follow a regular cleaning schedule and should be trained and equipped as recommended by OSHA and NFPA. 

If you would like more information on this or any other fire protection topics, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.

Why Workplace Fire Safety Training Is So Important

Fire safety training is one of the best investments you can make for your employees. Not only does this keep your workers safe, but it also helps prevent fires and the potentially catastrophic losses they can create. Here are some of the reasons you should be investing in a fire safety training program for your employees.

Preventing Fires

The best way to fight fires is to make sure you never have to deal with one in the first place. Fire safety training classes teach your employees how to recognize fire hazards before they become actual fires. They’ll notice things like electrical cords and wires placed near heat sources. They’ll see things like blocked emergency exits. And they’ll be more proactive about their own safety and in turn, other’s safety as well. The end result is a safer, healthier place to work.

Assessing Risk

During any training, the fire protection trainer will evaluate your company’s risk for fire. Do you have emergency routes planned? Is there sufficient exit lighting? How will people with disabilities be factored in? Are your alarms up to date and are your extinguishers full and located in the correct places? These answers and more will be unpacked and cobbled together into an all-encompassing fire safety action plan that can save lives and thousands of dollars. 

Taking action

Every company should have some sort of fire evacuation plan and that plan should be taught to every employee. This way, they’ll know where emergency exits are. They’ll know where extinguishers are located. They’ll know where pull stations are in case they need to signal an alarm themselves. Most importantly – they’ll know how to recognize the warning signs of a fire and when and how to take action. 

Especially with regards to industrial businesses, it’s vital that your employees know what to do and when to do it. It’s not just about saving money, jobs and productivity – it’s about saving lives.

If you have a question about this or any other fire and life safety topic, please contact Protegis Fire & Safety.