Fire safety manuals are important documents that all employers -- and employees -- should be familiar with and have readily available in case of an emergency.
Fire Safety Manual Contents
The manual should give detailed instructions on what to do if there is a fire emergency. It may also include general safety procedures that are observed at all times. Examples of what should be included in fire safety manuals include:
- All staff members should familiarize themselves about where the fire exits are located. These doors should be kept closed.
- Workers should also know where fire extinguishers, hoses and blankets are kept so they can be located quickly if needed.
- Fire extinguishers should be serviced by a qualified technician on a regular basis.
- Furniture or supplies should never be placed in front of a designated fire door.
- Combustible materials, such as oily rags, should never be left out on a surface. Instead, they should be placed inside a covered container when not in use.
- Keeping the work area neat and free from clutter will help to lower the risk of a fire. All employees can play a part in fire safety by making sure their work area is kept clean and by picking up litter as necessary.
In Case of a Fire
- If you smell smoke or see a fire, pull the fire alarm.
- When the fire alarm sounds, everyone in the building should make their way calmly to the closet fire exit.
- Before opening a door, touch the surface. If the door feels warm, don't open it. This is a sign that the fire is close. Opening the door will cause a rush of air to flow toward the flames, which may result in a fireball. Move away from the hot door and look for an alternate way to get out of the building.
- If you suspect a fire, stay out of the elevator. It will go to the floor where the fire is located and stop there. Take the stairs to safety instead. (Be sure to check the door to the stairwell before opening it.)
- A person whose clothing has caught fire should "Stop, Drop and Roll": Stop moving, drop to the floor or ground, and roll back and forth until the fire has been extinguished. Fire blankets can be wrapped around the victim to help to extinguish the flames.
- Once you have left the building, move a safe distance away from it. Don't go back inside for any reason until you have been told that it is safe to do so by a Fire Department official.
Reviewing the Fire Safety Manual
Fire safety manuals aren't an effective safety tool unless they are reviewed periodically. Managers and employees should be encouraged to read them at regular intervals so they are familiar with the correct procedures to follow in case of a fire emergency. Fire safety procedures should be part of the training provided to new workers as well. Along with reviewing the fire safety manual regularly, fire drills should be conducted to ensure that all employees know how to exit the building quickly and efficiently. Some drills can be announced in advance to make employees aware of the event, while others should be given without warning. If a real fire broke out, workers wouldn't have any notice, and they need to be prepared to take appropriate action if the fire alarm sounds.
Fire safety manuals are an essential part of any workplace. Following its instructions means that employees can take measures to prevent fires, as well as know what to do if a fire starts while they are on the job.