Last week i posted an article on fire safety for construction sites and promised to continue later, well this is the continuation and i hope you guys are still with me… Ok then, lets do this!
Developing a Fire Safety Plan
A fire safety plan is required by all construction sites based on number of people working on the site and building types. Generally, the Primary contractor of each site is responsible for the preparation of a fire safety plan.
What’s in a fire safety plan
· Key contact information
· Utility services (Including shut-off valves for water, gas and electric)
· Access issues
· Dangerous stored materials
· Location of people with special needs
· Connections to sprinkler system
· Layout, drawing, and site plan of building
· Maintenance schedules for life safety systems
· Personnel training and fire drill procedures
Use of fire safety plans
Fire safety plans are a useful tool for fire fighters to have because they allow them to know critical information about a site that they may have to go into. Using this, fire fighters can locate and avoid potential dangers such as hazardous material (hazmat) storage areas and flammable chemicals.
In addition to this, fire safety plans can also provide specialized information that, in the case of a
hospital fire, can provide information about the location of things like the nuclear medicine ward. In addition to this, fire safety plans also greatly improve the safety of fire fighters.
Seven Simple Steps to Designing a Life Safety Plan
Step 1: Know the Codes
Codes and standards are bare minimum requirements for buildings and sites.
Step 2: Assess Your Construction site/ Building
Know and understand the functions of your site/ building. When designing an effective Life Safety Plan for your building or facility, you need to consider what type of building it is, what it is used for, and how it was built. Here are some questions to ask
• What types of people come into this site?
• Does it include an operating room or other care unit that has an oxygen enriched environment?
• Does the site contain flammable or combustible materials?
• Does the site contain telecommunications, data centers, or other storage rooms?
• Does it have commercial cooking appliances in a kitchen or eating area?
Step 3: Portable fire extinguishers
Know the Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers. Take a good assessment of your site and the hazards involved and consider exceeding these requirements to create a good, solid Life Safety Plan.
Step 4: Standpipe fire hose stations
A Life Safety Plan should include on-site, defend-in-place fire protection equipment designed to protect individuals against initial developing fires. In addition to portable fire extinguishers, standpipe fire hose stations are designed exactly for that purpose and could be a key component in your Life Safety Plan. This equipment is needed in buildings, such as offices, dormitories, schools, airports, hotels, hospitals, and anywhere else where fire department response time may exceed five minutes.
Step 5: Fire suppression systems
Fire suppression systems provide fast, on-site protection at the earliest stage of a fire. Fire suppression systems are pre-tested by their manufacturers to effectively extinguish specific types of fires in special hazard situations.
Step 6: Evacuation Plan
Exit signage and emergency communications are important components of escape planning. Every site/ building should have well-lit and visibly placed exit signs and building occupants should practice escape planning regularly – from knowing where the primary and secondary exits are located to learning how to crawl on the floor to avoid toxic smoke.
- Some things to remember include:
Practicing the evacuation and using the stairs, staying low to the ground to avoid smoke, staying by a window to protect yourself from smoke, and signaling to firefighters with a light or colored cloth so they know where you are located.
Step 7: Training and Education
Key personnel must be properly trained according to their specified responsibilities and all training documentation must be kept on file within the human resources department of each business. Some ways to go about education and training for site/ building occupants and employees include hosting in-house safety seminars by manufacturers, bringing in the local fire department for hands-on fire extinguisher training or evacuation plan safety tips, and visiting consulting sites like http://www.rifosonsnigltd.com, http://www.rackhosetraining.com, and http://www.firesystemstraining.org.
Fires are classified into five categories in the present day, based on the fuel burning.
- Class ‘A’: These are fires of ordinary combustible materials, sometimes referred to as ‘Free burning materials’. They include wood, paper, cotton materials, thatch, grass, etc.
- Class ‘B’: These are fires involving highly flammable liquids or liquefiable solids. They include Petrol, Kerosene, gasoline, paint, lubricating oil, etc. liquefiable solids include Hydrocarbon materials such as plastics, Rubber, etc.
- Class ‘C’: They are basically fire involving gases. They include Butane, Methane, Propane, Acetylene, etc.
- Class ‘D’: These are fires that involve metallic substances, e.g. Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Aluminum, etc. They react violently with water. Special extinguishing agent is required on such fires, e.g. Dry Chemical Powder
- Class K: Kitchen Fire.
Stop, drop and roll
On a final note, If your clothing catches on fire, the most effective method of extinguishing the fire is to stop, drop to the ground, and roll back and forth to smother the flame. Don’t run around because it fans the flames.