Awareness Properties of Fire Safe Practices Human Behavior and Fire Fire Safety Systems

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Properties of Fire

Safe Practices

Human Behavior and Fire


• Fires and explosions kill more than 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers each year

• There is a long and tragic history of workplace fires in this country caused by problems with fire exits and extinguishing systems

• OSHA requires employers to provide proper exits, fire fighting equipment, and employee training to prevent fire deaths and injuries in the workplace


• Between 1998 and

2008 there were 46,900 deaths due to fires

• That’s an average of

almost 4,700 people per year

• Annually, about 100


Natural Disasters



Hurricanes 2,126








• America today has the highest fire losses

in terms of both frequency and total losses

of any modern technological society.

(America at Risk – Federal Emergency Management Agency, May 2000)

• People with developmental disabilities are

five times more likely than the general

population to die in a fire


All fires need an ignition source which

could be sparks, flames, or high heat.

Fuel which could possibly be wood,

paper, gasoline, oil, or gaseous

vapors. And all fires of course need



Fires require 3

components to ignite and


• Oxygen

• Heat

• Fuel

Depriving a fire of

any one of these

things prevents or puts

out the fire


Ordinary combustibles like paper, wood,

plastic, etc.

Flammable liquids like gasoline, propane,

and kerosene

Electrical equipment like stoves and



There are 3 stages of a fire. First the

Incipient Stage which includes the

heating of materials. The next is the

Free Burning Stage which includes

flames, and heat production. The last

stage is the Smoldering Stage which

is where the oxygen depletes, most

dangerous stage because of low


• 50%-80% of fire

deaths are the result of smoke inhalation

• Most of the things in our homes are made of, or treated with, chemicals and plastics that give off dangerous fumes when burned


The smoke from a fire is a combination of poisonous gases and particles which displaces oxygen in the room. The smoke then rises and fills upper section of room and banks downward and creates the THERMAL BARRIER.


Flashover occurs when the heat from a fire heats the walls,

room contents and combustible gases in the room to their “auto ignition temperature.” When this happens the entire room can become engulfed in flames within a matter of seconds. This is a very dangerous phase in any fire.


A backdraft is an explosive event at a fire resulting from rapid re-introduction of oxygen to combustion in an oxygen-starved

environment, for example, the breaking of a window or opening of a door to an enclosed space. Backdrafts present a serious threat to firefighters, even those with a high level of experience. There is some controversy surrounding the question of whether backdrafts should be considered a type of flashover.


Click on the Link above to view a Flashover Event


• The following physical factors can affect a persons ability to withstand a fire and escape safely.

• Age : The young and elderly are at increased risk

• Size: Larger size can better tolerate smoke

• Physical Condition: cardiac stability, aerobic fitness, and mobility all effect survivability

• Respiratory Capacity: Chronic Respiratory conditions lower lung capacity and increase chance of death from smoke inhalation

• Medication, drugs, and alcohol: Can significantly


A small amount of stress tends to improve

people's abilities to perform tasks, but a high

amount of stress tends to interfere with

performance, especially problem solving

Doing fire drills properly reduces the amount of

problem solving needed in a real fire


People tend to notice far less of their

surroundings under conditions of high stress so

you may remember some things and not others

Chemicals that the body produces under stress

may interfere with performance

In a real fire you will need to stay calm and

keep others calm so you can assess the situation

as it is happening


Anxiety associated with danger is a very

aversive and unpleasant emotion

People are strongly motivated to avoid feeling


Training for participants and staff so that

everyone knows what to do and how important

it is one key to overcoming anxiety and


In addition to a person’s physical and mental

abilities to deal with a fire and the immense

stress and anxiety felt during a fire, the heat

and toxic gases released during a fire further

inhibit your ability to think clearly and respond



Smoke and toxic gases adversely effect

bodily functions:

Slower mental processes

Slower physical action or movement



• Carbon Monoxide

• Causes asphyxiation by displacing oxygen in blood

• Carbon Dioxide

• Displaces oxygen, increases inhalation and thus toxics, and can produce signs of intoxication in 30 minutes

• Hydrogen Cyanide

• Inhibits use of oxygen by all living cells of body tissue

• Hydrogen Chloride

• Causes upper respiratory damage leading to asphyxiation

• Nitrogen Dioxide


• As we discussed earlier the temperature in a fire can range from 150-2000 degrees

• In such conditions, individuals can become overheated and dehydrated quickly; resulting in:

• Decreased reaction time

• Reduced mental acuity

• Heat Syncope- a condition that causes decreased blood flow to the brain, resulting in fainting.

• Heat Exhaustion- Fainting, profuse sweating, headache, ashen color, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting

• Heat Stroke- fainting, disorientation, excessive fatigue, delirium, loss of consciousness, convulsions, hot dry skin.


You need to thoroughly know fire systems for your site, including their locations.


• Some systems are internal systems and some connect to the fire dispatcher

• You need to know how the system works and how to run a drill

• If the system is not working, you need to walk through the entire site every 10 minutes until it is repaired (or sooner based on site specific


• If you hear a carbon monoxide detector

sound, evacuate the site and wait for

emergency personnel to arrive


• Sprinklers are activated by heat

• Make sure furniture, decorations, etc. aren’t

blocking the sprinkler head

• If too many sprinkler heads are activated the water pressure is decreased thus reducing their effectiveness


• If your site has pull stations, know how to use them and where they are


• Must maintain in a fully charged and operable condition

• Must remain in their designated places at all times except during use

• Must conduct an annual maintenance check

• Must record the annual maintenance date and retain this record for one year after the last entry or the life of the shell,


Class A – ordinary combustibles (wood, cloth, paper)

Class B – flammable liquids, gases, greases

Class C – energized electrical equipment

Class D – combustible metals

Letter classification given an extinguisher to designate the class or classes of fire on which it will be effective.



Ordinary Combustibles Combustible Metals Flammable Liquids Electrical Equipment


When using a Fire Extinguisher,

use the P.A.S.S. system:

Pull Pin

Aim Hose at


Squeeze trigger


• Fire doors are designed to slow the spread of a fire

• Doors with automatic closers are generally fire doors and should not be propped open • Fire evacuation plans should

avoid going through a fire door, if possible

• Some fire doors have magnets to keep them open and

release the door when the alarm sound


• Emergency exits must be kept clear of obstacles at all times • Outside paths from all

emergency exits to the

meeting area must be kept clear at all times

• Some sites have emergency exit signs. These must be kept unobstructed and properly lit.

• If a bulb is burned out contact maintenance.


• Identify incompatible chemicals – check the Material Safety Data Sheet

• Isolate and separate incompatible materials

• Isolate by storing in another area or room

• Degree of isolation depends on quantities, chemical properties and packaging


1. Eliminate the Heat

• Avoid overloading outlets

• Avoid using extension cords

• Do not use Halogen bulbs 1,000o

• Do not use space heaters

• Avoid using equipment with frayed electrical cords

• Avoid candles or other open flames

• Keep grills away from the building and overhangs.

2. If not, then eliminate the Fuel

• Avoid deep fried food-grease fires spread quickly

• Immediately dispose of oily rags

• Keep the range clear when cooking

• Avoid the use of live Christmas Trees

• Clear clutter from furnaces, water heaters or other heat sources.


You should empty the trap

after each load of clothes.













Be sure to

keep light

bulbs in


Be sure to

change the

batteries in your



…and check

them regularly.


Do NOT use

the oven to

store objects

such as pizza



Keep at least 3 feet clearance around

the furnace and hot water tank.


Although they can be pretty, open flames are not permitted in certified settings.


Christmas Trees represent a serious fire safety hazard. As trees dry out the heat

generated by the lights can cause the tree to catch fire


• Exit routes must be free and unobstructed

• Keep exit routes free of explosive or highly flammable materials

• Arrange exit routes so that employees will not have to travel toward a high hazard area, unless it is effectively shielded

• Emergency safeguards (e.g., sprinkler systems, alarm systems, fire doors, exit lighting) must be in proper working

order at all times

Obstructed exit route


• Must be able to open from the inside at all times without keys, tools, or special knowledge

• Device such as a panic bar that locks only from the outside is permitted

• Must be free of any device or alarm that could restrict emergency use if the device or alarm fails

• May be locked from the inside only in mental, penal, or correctional facilities

where there is constant supervision Locked and


• Each exit must be clearly visible and marked with an “Exit” sign

• Each exit route door must be free of decorations or signs that obscure the visibility of the door


Human error is the

most significant

factor in the cause

and spread of fire.

90% of fire

fatalities occur at



R - Rescue people in danger

A - Alarm, sound the alarm

C - Confine the fire

E - Evacuate the site

When exiting a fire make sure to stay low, DON’T WALK, and cover your mouth and nose. Also, make sure to

check all doors and before exiting, go to the designated meeting place and ensure all occupants have evacuated.


• Before entering a room, place the back of your hand on the door

• If the door is hot, DO NOT ENTER

It is presumed that

anyone in the room

is already dead


• Describes actions that must be taken to ensure employee safety in emergencies

• Includes floor plans or maps which show emergency escape routes

• Tells employees what actions to take in emergency situations

• Covers reasonably expected

emergencies, such as fires, explosions, toxic chemical releases, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and floods


• A continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from any point within a workplace to a place of safety (including refuge areas)

• Each exit discharge must lead directly outside or to a street,

walkway, refuge area, public way, or open space with access to the outside that is large enough to

accommodate all building occupants likely to use the exit route


• Opening a hot door could result in backdraft resulting in the death of the rescuer and spreading the fire

• If the door knob is not hot, open the door slowly before entering

• If you must go where there is smoke or flames, stay low - heat and smoke rise


• If you or someone else is on fire, remember to:

• Stop

• Drop, and

• Roll

• Use a blanket, coat, drapes or whatever you can to pat out the fire


In a real fire, if

someone is

unable to walk

on their own

you may need

to use a


Or, you may need to

carry the person

using a two person

carry side by side or

front and back

Or, drag the person

by yourself on a


Removing or evacuating individuals must not

compromise a staff member’s personal safety.

Assist evacuation:

Only if it can be done and remain safe

Prioritize assistance to those individuals who

will most benefit


• By now the fire alarm should be sounding. • If it is not, yell “Fire”


Try to confine the fire by:

Closing all the doors and


Stuffing damp towels

under doors

Don’t go through closed

fire doors unless it is


• Evacuate everyone in the site according to the evacuation plan.

• Do not use the elevator

• If someone is unwilling to evacuate during an actual fire you may need to use a SCIP-R Personal Intervention


• Do a head count (including staff) to make sure everyone is evacuated

• After everyone is evacuated call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor - Do not delay evacuation to take a cell phone.

• Give the following information

• The exact address of the emergency (with any location instructions that may be necessary)

• The phone number you are calling from

• Your name


• Report evacuation progress

• Accountability for individual’s and staff

• Report individuals that may be in areas of refuge or safe areas • Be available to provide building information • Alarm panel • Gas shutoffs • Electrical entrance

• Fire sprinkler information

• Floor plan (O2 and medical equipment locations)


• Do not re-enter the site until you receive the all clear from the fire department - wait for the fire department.

Sometimes fires will re-ignite.

• Make sure the fire has been reported to the


ALL fires, no matter the

size or damage MUST

be reported as a

Serious Reportable-

Sensitive Situation.


• Questions or concerns can be directed to the Staff Development Department at 1845 Kenmore Ave, or

• the Nursing Department at 984-8419 or 880--7412

OSHA Emergency Hot-Line


• Hot-line for reporting workplace safety or health emergencies • Provides a 24-hour point of contact to report imminent dangers


• Introduction to Fire Science Section 1, Unit 4 - Human Behavior and Fire, Flannery Associates © Copyright January 2001

• Video Footage:





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