All, Facility Management
Every Facility Manager should be well-versed with the guidelines for fire safety. To begin with, the equipment that every building mandatorily needs to have is fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, smoke alarms, fire panels, smoke control systems, fire hydrants, emergency power supply, mechanical ventilation, air conditioning systems, and emergency exit signs. Now let’s look at the steps that need to be followed for fire safety:
The first step is to review the premise’s safety and functionality. Make a note of possible violations of building or fire codes, safety hazards, security lapses or accessibility issues. Review the earlier maintenance records to check if everything is in place or if there are changes required in regards to more safety. Assess the fire equipment already present in the premises along with the old electrical equipment like printers, cameras, laminating machines, microwave, to check their functionality and avoid mishaps.
Understand the fire strategy for the building and then accordingly have a fire prevention plan in place. Make sure it is updated with all the national and state-based fire safety regulations and standards in respect to the training, maintenance and protection equipment, legal and ethical requirements. It would help to take advice from a fire protection specialist as well on a regular basis.
One of the most important steps to do is to perform regular fire safety inspections to make sure that there are zero fire hazards and the fire protection systems are active and functioning properly. Conduct a detailed fire safety audit on a quarterly basis which will help you highlight the potential fire risks. This would include covering basics like keeping a track of the electrical equipment, missing or broken fire safety equipment, accumulated wastage that may cause fire, blocked stairways and open fire doors. Many occupants use the refuge areas for personal purposes, which should be stopped and the society committee should enforce strict guidelines to ensure ease of access to such areas.
Besides the necessary fire protection equipment, you also need to try and have fire doors fitted and have suppression systems installed. When deciding on these, do keep in mind the type and the size of the building along with legislation’s and standards to be followed.
All the fire equipment needs to be periodically serviced and maintained as this would guarantee the functionality of the equipment and help detect any faults that may result in a malfunction. Create a fire log book to list all fire equipments along with tagging numbers and to record the periodic service reports.
The maintenance team along with the security team should prepare an evacuation plan and the appropriate signage should be put in place for activating the evacuation plan, in case of emergencies.
Fire drills and training are done on a periodic basis to train the occupants and staff on how to act if there is an emergency. Every employee on site should be completely trained in how to operate the fire equipment and in the procedures to follow if there is an emergency. A mock drill should be conducted twice a year to check the preparedness of the site for emergencies.
1. Cooking is one of the primary reasons for fires. Make sure that you don’t leave cooking unattended. Always keep the cooking areas clean, uncluttered and install commercial exhaust systems in your kitchen.
2. Keep a track of electrical appliances and replace the damaged chords. Do not overload the electrical circuits.
3. Smoke in designated areas and wet the contents of the ashtray before trashing them in the garbage. Store the matches, lighters, flammable and combustible liquids in a locked cabinet away from children.
4. Do not use your balcony for storage; it may block a means of escape if there is an emergency.
5. If there is a fire in your apartment:
• Pull the fire alarm if it isn’t already activated
• Check the door before opening it. If the handle is hot, do not use it. Try and find an alternate escape route and ensure that you close the door behind you
• If fire blocks your way out, close the door of the room and cover all the openings around the doors from where smoke could enter, using wet towels if possible
• Always use the stairs and not the elevator
• If your clothes catch fire, please do not run; running will increase the flames. Roll on the ground, which will put out the flames
• Most importantly, never re-enter a burning building
– Kunal Lala, Vice – President, SILA
Employee Experiences, All, Human Resource