What to Do When there is a Fire at Work?
A fire in the workplace can be a dangerous and potentially a deadly situation. Unfortunately, much of the risk arises from not knowing the guidelines to safely protect you and your colleagues. As this may very well be a matter of life and death, it is critical to become aware of the steps that need to be taken if you discover that a fire has broken out.
First, everyone in the area should already be clear in regards to an escape plan. This route must be clearly marked. If you discover the fire yourself, make certain that EVERYONE is made aware of the situation. If possible, perform a head count so that no one (such as a co-worker in the bathroom) is missing.
Do not hesitate
Physical items are replaceable. Human lives are not, so never delay when leaving. Do not stay behind for valuables, personal items or paperwork. Make certain that others follow your lead. Hesitation can lead to incapacitation and an even more dangerous situation.
Steps to take
As you leave, there are a number of rules to remember. A handful of these are:
- Do not investigate the cause of the fire.
- Stay low to the ground or crawl if smoke is present.
- Open only those doors which are required as you leave; close others. This will help to slow down the spread of the fire.
- Make certain that the group stays together.
- Feel any doors for heat (with the back of your hand) before opening them.
There could be a possibility of your clothes catching on fire. If this happens, do NOT run around. This will only fan the flames and cause them to increase in intensity. you should instead stop, drop and roll. Try to smother the flames with a heavy (and non-flammable) material. Rolling on the floor will help to deprive them of oxygen.
Means of escaping
An escape route may also be blocked due to an obstruction or a fire. Should your office be located on the ground floor, escape through a window. If it is locked, utilise a heavy object to break the glass. Be certain to cover any sharp edges with cloth or similar protective objects. If available, place cushions and other soft items on the outside to help prevent the chances of an injury during the escape. Should children or the elderly be present, try to lower them down safely by hand. If none of these options are possible or if you are on a higher floor, group everyone into a room (preferably with a window). Planning ahead will make certain that the room has a telephone to dial 999. When speaking to an operator, be sure to give them your complete address as well as what floor the fire is on and where trapped individuals are located. To prevent smoke from entering, it is wise to place clothes, towels or any fabric around the edges and the bottom of the door. Try to use the window to signal for help.
All of these decisions need to be made in an extremely brief period of time so it is a legal requirement for all employers to provide staff with sufficient fire safety training course. For information on the fire safety training courses we offer here at Cheshire Fire, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.