Keeping up to date with fire safety is essential in any job, particularly in the lift industry, where being around hazardous substances and using dangerous tools heightens the chances of a fire starting. For instance, the commonly used angle grinder produces heat and sparks which poses a risk of fire. According to ‘Home Office Statistics Fires on construction sites in England (2014-2019)’ the number of fires decreased by 12.3% (365) from 2018-19 compared to 2017-18 (410)*. While this is positive, caution is still required. In this blog, we take a look at what to do in the event of a fire in your workplace to minimise the risk of injury or worse, fatality.
Fires can escalate very quickly, so it is important to evacuate if you suspect a fire on the premises. If you can, and if accessible, break the glass of a fire alarm to activate it and send someone to call 999. Depending on how big the fire is, you need to decide quickly whether you can handle the fire – if you have been trained in using a fire extinguisher and you think you can tackle the fire, then do so. If you haven’t been trained, then you should quickly and calmly evacuate the building. Ensure you follow all instructions given to you by either your Fire Warden or Premises Manager.
Tips during a fire evacuation:
- Always keep your back to the escape route as you fight the fire – this way you can see the fire and ensure you are not cut off.
- Watch out for smoke billowing around you – most fatalities are caused by smoke inhalation rather than the heat.
- When evacuating, close the doors behind you, this helps contain the smoke and fire until the fire brigade arrive.
Before operating a fire extinguisher, you need to be aware of the type of fire you are dealing with, to ensure you use the correct one. Using the wrong extinguisher could make the fire worse and increase the risk to your life and others. Remember that fire extinguishers are more suitable for smaller fires, so if you can stop a fire in its tracks, you could prevent it from getting out of control and causing a disaster.
Types of fires are categorised into classes (A-D) depending on what is burning – such as combustible materials, flammable liquids and electrical equipment. Once you have identified the class of fire, you can choose the most appropriate fire extinguisher. There are five extinguishers, each with a different chemical, including Carbon Dioxide (CO2), which is used for fires caused by flammable liquids and electrical equipment.
Fire extinguishers must be inspected every 30 days to ensure they function correctly – this should be done by a competent person, i.e. your fire warden. To know when a fire extinguisher needs replacing, they should check the gauge at the top of the extinguisher, if the gauge needle falls outside the green zone, the extinguisher should be replaced with a new one.
*for source click here.
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