Emergency Preparedness and Response

Facing a Real Fire: Are Your Workers Prepared

In yesterday’s article, we looked at a few situations that can arise in a real fire that you might be overlooking in your fire safety training. Today, we’ll look at two more possibilities your employees need to be prepared to face, and what you can do to keep your fire safety preparation real.

In a fire drill, workers may pride themselves on getting out of the building quickly— but the drill may not effectively simulate real fire conditions, leaving workers unprepared for the complications they may encounter. Make sure that you prepare them for the possibility of:

Dead ends. One of the worst hazards of fire is the possibility that workers will become trapped inside, unable to exit the building. This can happen when:

  • Workers become disoriented and miss turns or enter dead-end areas. This can happen as a result of obscured visibility and decreased oxygen levels, as discussed in yesterday’s article. To prevent this, exit routes should have as few turns as possible and should be clearly marked as close to the floor as possible. In some cases, emergency escape respirators that provide oxygen may be called for as well.

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  • Workers go all the way to the bottom of a stairwell. Some stairwells are continuous from the basement to the top floor. In a fire, this can be confusing, leading workers to continue going down until they reach the bottom, rather than stopping at the level of the exit. To prevent this, clearly indicate what floor the exit is on. This can be done by separating stairwells that lead to basement areas from stairwells that go up from the first floor. It can also be done by putting a gate across the stairwell into the basement, forcing workers in an emergency situation to stop and realize where they are before proceeding down the stairs.

Workers may also encounter dead ends if egress routes are improperly selected. Make sure that your egress routes do not pass through doors that can be locked (for example, office or bathroom doors) or areas that are routinely secured


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Injured coworkers. When everybody’s healthy and there is no fire, all of your workers can walk out under their own power. In a real fire situation, however, workers may have coworkers who are injured or incapacitated by the fire. Have workers prepare for this situation first of all by telling them that this might occur, and also by teaching them how to safely carry an unconscious person or assist an injured person.

Emergency evacuation training is just one of the thorny training problems you must deal with. Let BLR help you keep it all under control with the 7-Minute Safety Trainer.

Keep Your Workers Healthy and Safe

Companies with strong health and safety cultures put an emphasis on employee training. And to train employees in a broad range of safety and health topics, savvy safety professionals have for years relied on the BLR® 7-Minute Safety Trainer. This essential training resource allows you to provide concise, memorable training easily and effectively in just a few minutes. Materials are ready to use, and each session supplies a detailed trainer’s outline as well as a handout, quiz, and quiz answers to get your points across quickly—and cost-effectively.

All told, this “trainer’s bible” contains 50 prewritten meetings covering almost every aspect of safety you’d want or need to train on, in a format designed to be taught in as little as 7 minutes. Major topics include:

—Confined spaces

—Electrical safety

—Fire safety and emergency response

—HazCom

—Machine guarding and lockout/tagout

—Material handling

—PPE use and care

—Housekeeping/slips, trips, and falls

—And dozens more

Just make as many copies as you need of the included handouts and quizzes, and you’re ready to train.

Equally important is that the program ships new meetings every quarter to respond to new and changed regulations. This service is included in the program price, which averages just over $1 a working day. In fact, this is one of BLR’s most popular safety programs.

If you’d like to personally evaluate 7-Minute Safety Trainer and see how it can build safety awareness, we’ll be happy to send it to you for 30 days on a no-cost, no-obligation trial basis. Just let us know, and we’ll arrange it.