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Posts Tagged ‘fire hazards’

Getting Involved With Fire Prevention Week

Monday, October 4th, 2010
This Year For Fire Prevention Week, Thank a Firefighter!

This Year For Fire Prevention Week, Thank a Firefighter!

Fire is a frequent topic of safety discussions because it is a primal force that strikes fear in the heart of man and beast. It is also a relatively common occurrence compared to other disasters, and can cause severe damage to people as well as structures.

Raising awareness about fire safety is a priority of fire departments. October 3-9 is the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) official Fire Prevention Week. The NFPA has been the official sponsor of Fire Prevention Week for nearly 90 years, and has made great strides in the area of fire safety for the public.

It took a great tragedy to encourage the development of a week dedicated to fire safety. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire roared through Chicago, leaving more than 100,000 people homeless and 17,000 structures destroyed. While most people believe a cow started the fire, many historians note other possible culprits. Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the fire, and marked the start of fire departments’ role in education and prevention, in addition to the physical acts of fighting fires.

Fire Prevention Week reinforces the basics of fire safety to the public. The theme of this years’ Fire Prevention Week is Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With! The NFPA is making a big push for smoke alarms to be installed, properly upgraded and maintained in residential and commercial buildings.

The NFPA has several initiatives for this years’ Fire Prevention Week which are offered to fire departments and other similar agencies for fire education initiatives:

Video Tutorials and Audio PSAs:

  • A video about smoke alarm safety includes information about the benefits of interconnecting alarms, testing alarms, checking for expiration dates and regularly replacing batteries.
  • Downloadable MP3 audio files that discuss fire alarm safety.

How can building owners participate in Fire Prevention Week?

  • Distribute free safety materials from the NFPA, FEMA and other agencies
  • Review your overall fire safety plan including evacuation routes, location of extinguishers, rules on stairwell and elevator usage, etc.
  • Invite your local fire department to fire safety activities. Firefighters are sometimes willing to conduct special events such as parades. Organize an interactive event where employees and facility management can speak directly to firefighters.

Fire Prevention Week is an opportunity for building owners to engage staff and employees in preventing the threat of fire. To learn more about fire safety, review the many fire-related topics that we have covered in previous posts, including: fire evacuation procedures, flammable materials, extinguishers and sprinkler systems, and fire hazards.

When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives.  For the latest emergency management training for facility/building managers, contact Allied Universal, Inc. Our new Version 2.0 e-based training system offers the best emergency training system with automated and integrated features. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

Fire Hazards in Office Buildings

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

Only You Can Prevent Office Fires

Only You Can Prevent Office Fires

According to data from the National Fire Protection Agency, there were 112,000 non-residential structure fires in 2008 which resulted in 120 deaths and $3.8 billion in property damages.  High-rise buildings are especially at risk as fires can spread rapidly and higher floors are often out of reach of most firefighting aerial equipment.

Building owners should work closely with tenants and discuss potential fire hazards to prevent loss of property or life. Tenants should understand the potential losses of sensitive data or documents that can be destroyed so they should be more apt to listen.

Reducing the incidence of fire in buildings can be accomplished by identifying contributing factors and minimizing risks. Come to think of it, that’s the way to handle any type of risk!

Space heaters:

  • Often kept in enclosed spaces near papers, space heaters can lead to fast-moving fires
  • Space heaters use a high amount of electricity and multiple users can increase utility bills
  • Older space heaters don’t have auto shutoff safety can start fires if tipped over

Office Equipment and Appliances:

  • Coffee makers, copiers and computers all need space around them for air circulation
  • Papers should not be stacked on or around equipment
  • Restrict use of hotplates and other portable heating items

Wiring and Power:

  • Older wiring that is mixed with newer wiring can lead to sparking which can turn into fire
  • Buildings that do not keep current with electrical code standards are at risk
  • Overuse of extension cords and power strips has greatly expanded as offices have more and more electronic devices. Overloaded circuits or power cords routed under combustible carpets can both be fire risks

Combustible materials:

  • Modern offices typically have many combustible materials such as file folders, wooden partitions, upholstered furniture, carpeted floors, and wooden doors
  • Combustibles can be decreased by choosing metal furniture, installing fire-rated doors, and moving towards paperless record keeping

Smoking:

Don’t forget about cigarettes and cigars! A leading cause of fires is recreational smoking. Even when buildings restrict smoking inside buildings, some tenants may fail to comply. The best way to combat this is to enforce strict no-smoking policies and provide safe alternative outdoor smoking areas. Outside ash containers should be heavy so they don’t tip over. And care should be taken to ensure safe disposal of ash and cigarette butts.

Fire risks can be greatly decreased by establishing and enforcing set policies for all of your tenants. The Allied Universal Training System can help you mitigate these and other safety risks. Visit www.rjwestmore.com and ask us about the recently released Version 2.0 of our award-winning training program. Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training!

Most importantly, IT SAVES LIVES!