Fire Safety for Offices

What to do in the event of a Fire Outbreak

 

-          Firstly, Don’t Panic

-          Raise an Alarm

-          Evacuate the building quickly but without rush

-          Assemble at the nearest “Muster Point” for a roll call by your department head

-          Stay out until told to return

 

Elements of a fire safety policy

· Building and maintaining a facility and conducting yourself in accordance with the provisions of the fire code. This is based on the occupants and operators of the building being aware of the applicable regulations and advice.

Examples of these include:

· Not exceeding the maximum occupancy within any part of the building.

· Maintaining proper fire exits and proper exit signage (e.g., exit signs pointing to them that can function in a power failure)

· Placing and maintaining fire extinguishers in easily accessible places.

· Properly storing/using, hazardous materials that may be needed inside the building for storage or operational requirements (such as solvents in spray booths).

· Prohibiting flammable materials in certain areas of the facility.

· Periodically inspecting buildings for violations.

· Maintaining fire alarm systems for detection and warning of fire.

· Obtaining and maintaining a complete inventory of firestops.

· Ensuring that spray fireproofing remains undamaged.

· Maintaining a high level of training and awareness of occupants and users of the building to avoid obvious mistakes, such as the propping open of fire doors.

· Conduct fire drills at regular intervals throughout the year.

Also in planning an effective fire policy, the occupancy of a building must come into consideration. Occupancy can mean the number of persons using an undivided space, such as a meeting room, ballroom, auditorium, or stadium. As with building codes, authorities should set a limit on the number of people that can occupy a space, primarily because they must be able to leave the building through the available number of exits in a reasonable amount of time, without tripping or trampling each other in a panicked stampede, possibly blinded by smoke.

Classifying fires

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.

 

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.

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