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Fire Safety & Prevention

Fires destroy property, cause injuries, and take lives. The goal of fire prevention is to educate the public to take precautions to prevent potentially harmful fires. The general population needs education about the dangers of fires and how to survive a fire. Fire prevention is a proactive method of reducing emergencies and the damage caused by them. To prevent a fire, the objective is to keep sources of ignition and fuel separate from one another.

The best defense against fire in the home is preparation. People should create an evacuation plan. This plan should be regularly rehearsed to avoid panic and confusion in the event of a fire. Fire hazards, such as matches and lighters, should be kept out of the reach of young children. Small fires should be put out with a fire extinguisher if possible. Large fires, or fires that begin to spread, should be left for firefighters.
Smoke alarms should be placed properly in homes and checked regularly to ensure the smoke alarms will notify people when a fire occurs. To get help as quickly as possible, children should know to dial 911 as soon as a fire is noticed. People are approximately 66% more likely to sustain a serious injury or death in homes without smoke alarms. Smoke alarms will not eliminate the risk of dangerous situations, but smoke alarms can reduce the risk of serious injury or damage occurring in the home from fires.

Fire safety and education should start early even if this training is only basic, to begin with for children. A fire extinguisher is an active fire protection device used to extinguish or control small fires in emergency situations. A fire will generally be a more traumatic experience for children than for adults. Developing and reviewing a simple fire plan can help children to minimize panic and to stay focused on escaping the dangerous situation. Children must know how to call for help, use a fire extinguisher, how to get out of a burning building, and what actions to take should their clothes catch on fire. Young children may learn this kind of information using simpler language and visuals, so they understand as much as possible.

Mental or physical disabilities can create barriers that can increase the risk of serious injury or death from a fire. Each person needs to have a strategy for getting out of a building quickly in the event of a fire or another emergency. Fires can happen whether we are at home, at work, or in a public area such as a mall, theater, or hotel. Anyone who has reduced mobility, a speech, hearing or visual impairment, or a cognitive limitation may need assistance to evacuate a building in an emergency. Preparation and planning are the keys to surviving in an emergency situation. Strategies should be in place to prevent injuries for all building occupants. The more information captured in emergency procedures and plans, then the better equipped emergency managers will be in the event of an emergency.

In most Canadian provinces, building managers are required to maintain a list of at-risk individuals in their building, whether a workplace or a residential building. While individuals are not obligated to identify as being at risk, it is in their best interest to communicate their evacuation needs and abilities to avoid putting themselves and others at risk. Emergency managers and individuals should work together to plan the best, most suitable evacuation and assistance strategy. When proper fire safety planning and education takes place, everyone will be more likely to be safe from fires and other dangerous hazards.

Sources:
Canada Fire Safety and Prevention
Disability Barriers and Hazards
General Fire Safety Tips
Stats Canada

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.

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Voices of our Nation

The most boring article on Fire Safety in the Workplace

Fire prevention is an important component of workplace health and safety programs. An effective fire prevention program provides employees with the tools and information needed to work safely, and protect the workplace and employees from the devastation of fire. Human personnel, property, and environmental losses can have a significant negative impact on workplace ‘production, morale, and continued expectations of success. The damage resulting from even a small fire incident can be detrimental to a workplace’s ability to remain in business.

There is specific legislation about fire prevention in the Canadian provinces. There are fourteen jurisdictions in Canada. One federal jurisdiction, ten provincial, and three territorial. Each with occupational health and safety legislation. This legislation outlines the general rights and responsibilities of the employer, the supervisor, and the worker.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, gives the Government of Ontario the power to make regulations while also setting out the general principles and duties for workplaces. The Ontario Fire Code is a regulation made under the Fire Protection and Protection and Prevention Act, consisting of the minimum requirements for fire safety within workplaces.

The business owner is responsible for complying with the Ontario Fire Code. The Building Code Act is the legislative framework governing the construction, renovation, and uses of workplaces. The purposes of the Ontario Building Code include public health, safety, and fire prevention; although, its primary purpose is the promotion of public safety through the application of building standards. The Ontario Electrical is intended to ensure safety considerations and protections for workplaces keep pace with the new technology and building needs.

All workplace personnel have a role to play in ensuring health and safety requirements are met within the workplace. Workplace assessments can be useful in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of employees and employers in a workplace. The reason for fire risk assessments is to keep people safe. By establishing current risks and possible barriers to safety, solutions can be found before an emergency situation occurs. It will be more difficult to develop during a life-threatening fire event, especially when barriers to safety arise.

Analyzing the issues and factors that are creating the current issues in your workplace helps to develop effective solutions to accomplish workplace goals and to allow the workplace to become more successful. Accommodations for employees, if needed, ensure the health and safety of each employee including those persons with disabilities. Workplaces should be responsible for complying with safety regulations and guidelines to ensure a better opportunity for a successful workplace.

Sources:
Canada Acts and Regulations
Fire Safety Procedures For The Workplace
The Effectiveness of Workplace Assessments

This article was written by volunteer blogger Shan Simpson and edited by volunteer editor Scott Jacobsen.