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The Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association recognizes Fire Prevention Month by reminding facility managers about the importance of fire safety planning and preparedness, centered on a balanced fire protection approach.
According to the Association, balanced fire protection means that fire safety should not rely on one single safeguard, but rather a complete and balanced design, including a variety of fire equipment products ranging from portable fire extinguishers and standpipe fire hose stations to pre-engineered suppression systems, as well as an evacuation plan.
“While property managers and tenants need to work together everyday to minimize the risk of fires in their buildings, Fire Safety Month is a fitting time…to re-evaluate [a] fire protection plan, ensure equipment is in proper working condition, and communicate evacuation steps with tenants,” says Joe Beranek, president of the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association. “With a balanced design, proper training, and a well-identified evacuation plan, loss can be minimized and lives can be saved.”
The Association is offering facility managers the following fire safety checklist, including seven steps to help save lives and protect property:
1. Know building codes: Evaluate your building’s fire protection plan, communicate it with occupants, and become familiar with local building code requirements, going above and beyond the minimum required for precautionary measures.
2. Assess the building: When determining what fire equipment is needed, consider what type of building it is, what it is used for, and how it was built.
3. Check fire extinguishers: Monthly, check to make sure fire extinguishers are operable and pressurized. Report any damage, such as leaks or corrosion to your equipment distributor. If damage is found, it should be replaced immediately.
4. Inspect standpipe and occupant fire hose stations: Defend-in-place fire fighting equipment is a must have item, and should be thoroughly inspected. This equipment is easy-to-use on small fires after the fire department has been called and everyone is safe.
5. Understand fire suppression systems: Mandated by National Fire Protection Association standards in special hazard situations, such as in commercial kitchens and industrial areas, fire suppression systems provide fast, on-site protection at the early stage of a fire.
6. Implement and communicate an evacuation plan: Exit signage and emergency communications are important components of escape planning. Every building should have visibly placed signs to indicate exit routes, and emergency drills should be practiced regularly.
7. Train and educate: Equipment training is critical. For training information and interactive programs, facility managers can visit www.fireextinguisher.com, www.rackhosetraining.com, and www.firesystemstraining.org.
During the first few minutes of a fire, an occupant’s first defense is a portable fire extinguisher or a standpipe occupant fire hose station. But prior to attempting to extinguish a fire, the occupant should first contact the fire department; assure everyone is safe; confirm the fire is small and does not appear to be spreading; and there is a clear path between the fire and the exit.
About the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association
Located in Cleveland, OH, the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association is a more than 60 year-old non-profit trade association dedicated to saving lives and protecting property by providing education of a balanced fire protection design.