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Association offers fire safety tips for businesses (9/4)

September 4, 2008
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In recognition of Fire Prevention Month in October, the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association is reminding businesses about the importance of fire safety planning and preparedness, centered on a balanced fire protection approach, according to a recent association press release.

Balanced fire protection, according to the release, means that fire safety should not rely on one single safeguard, but rather a complete and balanced design, including a variety of fire equipment products ranging from portable fire extinguishers and standpipe fire hose stations to pre-engineered suppression systems, as well as an evacuation plan.

“While employers and employees need to work together every day to minimize the risk of fires in the workplace, Fire Safety Month is a fitting time for businesses to re-evaluate their fire protection plan, ensure equipment is in proper working condition, and communicate evacuation steps with employees,” says Joe Beranek, president of the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association. “With a balanced design, proper training, and a well-identified evacuation plan, loss can be minimized and lives can be saved.”

The association offers businesses these seven simple steps to help save lives and protect property:
  1. Know building codes: Evaluate your building’s fire protection plan, communicate it with employees, and become familiar with local building code requirements, going above and beyond the minimum required for precautionary measures.
  2. Assess the building: When determining what fire equipment is needed, consider what type of building it is, what it is used for, and how it was built.
  3. Check fire extinguishers: Monthly, check to make sure fire extinguishers are operable and pressurized. Report any damage, such as leaks or corrosion, to the facilities manager. If damage is found, it should be replaced immediately.
  4. Inspect standpipe and occupant fire hose stations: Defend-in-place fire fighting equipment is a must-have item, and should be thoroughly inspected. This equipment is easy to use on small fires after the fire department has been called and everyone is safe.
  5. Understand fire suppression systems: Mandated by NFPA standards in special hazard situations, such as restaurants and industrial areas, fire suppression systems provide fast, on-site protection at the early stage of a fire.
  6. Implement and communicate an evacuation plan: Exit signage and emergency communications are important components of escape planning. Every building should have visibly placed signs to indicate exit routes, and emergency drills should be practiced regularly.
  7. Train and educate: Equipment training is critical. For training information and interactive programs, visit www.fireextinguisher.com, www.rackhosetraining.com and www.firesystemstraining.org.
The association also adds the following advice: Prior to attempting to extinguish a fire, an employee should first contact the fire department; assure everyone is safe; and confirm that the fire is small and does not appear to be spreading and that there is a clear path between the fire and the exit.

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