October is Fire Prevention Safety Month

By Colliers Engineering & Design

Fire Prevention Safety Month is held every October, and commemorates the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which led to the death of more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,400 buildings.

There are many ways that you can prevent unsafe conditions that lead to fire, but you should also always know what to do if there is a fire before the fire happens!

In the Event of Fire

  • Pull the nearest alarm station and call 911.
  • Immediately exit the building and meet at the designated emergency assembly location for your office.
  • Shut office doors behind you. Feel interior doors and knobs before you open them.
  • If the area is filling with smoke, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth and crawl out.

If you hear an alarm, do not assume it is a drill, and evacuate immediately. Your life may depend on it!

Using a Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are present in all areas. However, you should evacuate and make no attempt to fight a fire. There are very limited times when you should use a fire extinguisher, including:

  • You are properly trained in the use of fire extinguishers.
  • The extinguisher matches the fire type.
  • The alarm has been sounded.
  • You are confident you can put the fire out.
  • The fire is small and confined.
  • You can fight the fire with your back toward an escape route (move towards exit).

Evacuating During a Fire

Under most circumstances, evacuation is the preferred action during a fire. Prior to the occurrence of fire, make sure you know some things about your work area that will make it faster and easier to get safely out of the area:

  • Know the location of the closest alarm pull stations in your area (if the office is so equipped).
  • Know who is in your area so that everyone can be accounted for after evacuation.
  • Know who your Office Safety Coordinator or discipline contact is for accountability in an evacuation.
  • Know the evacuation route and assembly location.
  • Avoid elevators during a fire…if the power goes out, you could be trapped.
  • Keep all egress routes clear of boxes, tables, and other clutter.
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