PROVIDING LIFE SAVINGS SOLUTIONS SINCE 2009

Fire Safety Threats

Ella LaChance

Fire Safety Threats

Most fires are preventable. Those responsible for workplaces and other buildings to which the public have access can avoid them by taking responsibility for and adopting the right behaviours and procedures.

Fires need three things to start – a source of ignition (heat), a source of fuel (something that burns) and oxygen:

  1. sources of ignition include heaters, lighting, naked flames, electrical equipment, smokers’ materials (cigarettes, matches etc), and anything else that can get very hot or cause sparks
  2. sources of fuel include wood, paper, plastic, rubber or foam, loose packaging materials, waste rubbish and furniture
  3. sources of oxygen include the air around us

 

What do I have to do?

Employers (and/or building owners or occupiers) must carry out a fire safety risk assessment and keep it up to date. This shares the same approach as health and safety risk assessments and can be carried out either as part of an overall risk assessment or as a separate exercise.

Based on the findings of the assessment, employers need to ensure that adequate and appropriate fire safety measures are in place to minimized the risk of injury or loss of life in the event of a fire.

To help prevent fire in the workplace, your risk assessment should identify what could cause a fire to start, ie sources of ignition (heat or sparks) and substances that burn, and the people who may be at risk.

Once you have identified the risks, you can take appropriate action to control them. Consider whether you can avoid them altogether or, if this is not possible, how you can reduce the risks and manage them. Also consider how you will protect people if there is a fire.

  • Carry out a fire safety risk assessment
  • Keep sources of ignition and flammable substances apart
  • Avoid accidental fires, eg make sure heaters cannot be knocked over
  • Ensure good housekeeping at all times, eg avoid build-up of rubbish that could burn
  • Consider how to detect fires and how to warn people quickly if they start, eg installing smoke alarms and fire alarms or bells
  • Have the correct fire-fighting equipment for putting a fire out quickly
  • Keep fire exits and escape routes clearly marked and unobstructed at all times
  • Ensure your workers receive appropriate training on procedures they need to follow, including fire drills
  • Review and update your risk assessment regularly.

 

 

 

HOW FAST DOES FIRE MOVE

Ella LaChance

Fires can happen anywhere. A fire in a large building creates an enormous risk to everyone. Other reasons for evacuating buildings include natural gas leaks, earthquakes, hazardous material spills and storms. Knowing what to do is the key to surviving a fire emergency. Conducting regular fire drills will give you the knowledge and confidence to escape a fire safely. There are two steps for a good evacuation program – planning and practice.

Most home and business fires start within the building. For example, a smoldering cigarette dropped into a trash can full of paper could ignite into flames. If the fire is not extinguished while in this early phase, it could spread throughout the structure.

Growth and Speed of Fire

The following is a timeline of an actual 2-story house fire. It will show you just how fast fire spreads:

1:30 Fire ignites and grows rapidly.
1:04 From first flame, fire spreads and smoke begins to fill room.
1:35 Smoke layer descends rapidly, temperature exceeds 190°F.
1:50 Smoke detector at foot of stairs alarms. Still time to get out.
2:30 Temperature above couch over 400°F.
2:48 Smoke pours into other rooms.
3:03 Temperature three feet above floor in room of origin is over 500°F. (No one could survive.)
3:20 Upstairs hall filled with smoke – Escape more difficult.
3:41 FLASHOVER – Energy in room of origin ignites everything. Temperature is 1400°F.
3:50 Two minutes after smoke detectors sounds, 2nd exit is only way out.
4:33 Flames just now visible from exterior of house – first evidence of fire from outside.

Less than five minutes is all it took. This leaves you very little time to sit around and think about what you are going to do. Fire does not sit around and wait for you to decide. When a fire breaks out in your home, have a plan of action. Know what you are going to do, because the hesitation you may have if you are unprepared can mean the difference between life and death.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Basic First Aid

Ella LaChance

We have all been in a situation at some point where there has been an accident and first aid needs to be administered.  This can be a large accident or something as simple as a nose bleed but something needs to be done.  How do you know what to do?  Most of the time unless you have been to a formal first aid class you rely on things your mom and grandma told you or things you may have seen done in a similar situation good or bad.  Here we will list some common misconceptions on what to do or not to do.

Nosebleeds

Don’t: Lean the head back or lay the person down this can be harmful and could cause blood to get into the windpipe and possibly blocking their airway.

Do:  Sit in an upright position and lean slightly forward pinching the nose for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.  You may also apply an ice pack around the nose and on forehead.

Loss of tooth

Don’t:  Don’t scrub the tooth cleaning it as this can damage the root.  Avoid handling the root pick it up by the crown or top.

Do: Gently rinse the tooth and then place it in a glass of milk.  Go to the emergency room there is a possibility the tooth could be re-implanted?

Cuts and scrapes

Don’t: Breathe on and open wound.  Don’t try and clean a major wound.  Don’t try and push body parts back in.  Don’t apply a tourniquet.

Do:  Rinse wound with water.  Apply pressure to stop the bleeding. If wound is deep or large seek medical attention.  If wound is minor apply antibacterial ointment and cover with a bandage that will not stick to the wound.

Burns

Don’t: Apply ice, butter or any other greasy substance to the wound. Don’t try and remove any stuck clothing and do not break any blisters.

Do:  Gently flood affected area with cool water or you can use a soft drink or beer if no water is present.  Cover wound with plastic wrap or a clean dressing to keep it sterile.  Seek immediate medical attention.

Frostbite

Don’t: Rub the affected area and NEVER rub snow on the affected skin.

Do:  Get out of the cold.  Warm area by tucking hands under arms or warming area with dry gloved hands.  Seek medical attention immediately if case is severe.

Choking

Don’t:  Slap someone on the back you can force the object farther down the windpipe.

Do:  Let the person cough forcefully this is usually the best way to dislodge a piece of food.  If that does not work or the person is unable to cough, stand behind them and deliver 5 sharp blows between the shoulder blades with the heel of your hand. Checking mouth quickly after each blow to remove any obstruction.  If obstruction persists, try 5 abdominal thrusts known as the Heimlich maneuver. Place a clenched fist above the navel and pull inwards and upwards.

Twisted Knee or Sprained Ankle, Possible Broken Bones

Don’t:  Try walking it out or stretching it.  Don’t apply heat to loosen muscles.  Do not move limb unnecessarily but do support it with something like a splint or sling.

Do:  Call 911 if person is in severe pain, has deformity, swelling or an inability to move limb normally. If no break is suspected remember RICE   R-Rest Injured area.  I-Ice it for 20 minutes at a time for first 24 hours.  C-Compress lightly with a bandage before swelling starts.  E-Elevate above the heart to minimize swelling.

Poisoning

Don’t: Make the person vomit that could make I worse.  Don’t offer water or other fluids those could cause the poisoning to spread faster and farther.

Do: Call National Poison Center (800)222-1222.  If person is unconscious place on their side.  If poisoned by something corrosive look for signs of it on their clothes and removed those.  If severe seek medical attention.

Heart Attack

Don’t: Waste time start CPR immediately if person is unconscious.

Do:  Call an ambulance immediately.  If person is conscious get them to sit down and remain calm.  Give them a 300 mg aspirin to chew up.  Be prepared to resuscitate if necessary.

Electric Shock

Don’t: Approach someone who is still connected to electrical source.

Do:  Break contact between person and electrical supply by switching off the current. Immediately call 911.  If person is unconscious and has no pulse start CPR immediately.

Signs of a Stroke

Do: Know the signs of a stroke.  Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg especially on one side of the body.  Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.  Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.  Sudden trouble walking, dizziness or loss of balance.  Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

Shock

Don’t:  Give a person in shock anything to eat or drink.

Do:  Be aware of victims, witnesses or loved ones that can experience shock due to an accident or traumatic event.  Signs of shock include shallow, fast breathing; rapid pulse becoming weaker; pale, cold and sweaty skin, tinged with grey.  Lay the person down on a blanket or rug to keep them warm. Quickly reassure the person; raise and support the legs above the level of the heart, loosen any tight clothing and call an ambulance.

 

 

Winter Storm Fire Safety

Ella LaChance

Winter storms affect us all and can cause a multitude of problems, including fires.  If you are prepared and know what to do before, during and after will help keep your family safe.

  • Smoke Alarms, test the batteries to make sure they are operational, and check the date to make sure they are not over 10 years old. Have them on EVERY level of your home.
  • Carbon Monoxide detectors- check and test to make sure they are operational. Install outside every sleeping room and on EVERY floor.
  • Always have two exits from the home in case of an emergency. Clear and shovel drive and walkway to ensure easy access.
  • Be Aware of winter weather. Listen for updates on TV, Radio and online.
  • NEVER leave a portable heater on when you are not in the room or have gone to bed. Plug directly into the wall never in an extension cord.  Keep children away to avoid them getting burned.
  • Be prepared for power outages. Know where your flashlights are and make sure they have fresh batteries.  DO NOT use candles.
  • Generators should only be used outdoors. Don’t run in your garage even if door is open.
  • If heat goes off use extra layers of clothes and blankets to stay warm. If using an emergency heat source make sure it is far away from anything that can burn.
  • Outside the home make sure your house number can be easily seen in case of an emergency.
  • Check on neighbors especially the elderly.
  • Stay away from downed powerlines and report to the proper authorities.

There are more fires in the winter than any other time of the year so stay warm and be smart.  Heating equipment is the leading cause of home fires.

Why Install A Home Security System?

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Installing a home security system may be costly, but not installing one could cost even more.

Protect Your Home and Family from Intruders

The biggest reason a home owner should consider installing a home security system is that it extends protection to family members from intruders. According to “Securing Home and Business” by Simon Hakim/Erwin Blackstone, homes without security systems are 2.7 times more likely to be targeted by a burglar. This indicates, that the mere presence of an alarm system is enough to deter intruders and to protect the home and its occupants from break-in. In some cases, burglars may still target a home either knowingly or unknowingly when members of the family are inside. For the burglar who enters the home expecting it to be empty, finding members of the family inside can cause enough shock and panic to facilitate aggressive and violent behavior. The outcome in an instant like this can bring about tragedy.

At the same time, many home owners only rely upon smoke alarms to warn them of a fire outbreak, but many home security systems offer an early warning system. Monitored home alarm systems will not only warn home occupants of the presence of smoke in the home, but they will also warn of sources of heat and contact authorities. While heat detectors can be purchased without the installation of a home security system, using a heat detector alone will not signal authorities which may be a feature that you will need without your ability to prepare. Time is the biggest factor in any emergency, you will want to utilize all resources in order to make sure that your loved ones are unharmed.

Protect Your Valuables

Throughout our lifetimes we acquire many items that have varying meaning to us. From items with sentimental value to large purchases, these things represent who we are and represent the accomplishments that we have made. Burglars will only want to place a price tag on your valuables, even those that are priceless to you. As well as signaling authorities that the home has been burgled and increasing the chances that intruders will be caught, the cameras installed with many modern alarm systems can catch the intruders in the act and help the authorities capture the assailants. Having visual documentation of the home intrusion increases the likelihood that the burglar will be identified for the crime committed. Video footage also helps homeowners create a record of what has been taken from their home during a burglary.

Keep an Eye on Your Home Remotely

Many homeowners would like to be able to keep an eye on their home, even while they are away. As technology has advanced, many home alarm systems now allow users to log on to the internet via their computers or smartphone and access their home security system remotely. This type of system allows the home alarm to be remotely armed or disarmed, cameras to be monitored, household lights to be turned off and on, air conditioning or heating to be turned on or changed, and motion detectors to be monitored. All of these functions not only allow homeowners to watch for intruders, but they also help to protect the home remotely. Turning on lights at a specified time through remote access can help to give the illusion that someone is at home even when they are not. Accessing the heating or air conditioning can help to prepare the home for sudden temperature changes to prevent pipe damage and can also help to save on electric or gas bills (especially when you are away on vacation).

Get Medical Assistance When Needed

Medical conditions are a real concern for many homeowners and many home alarm companies offer medical alert pendants or emergency pulls. These types of devices are designed so that individuals can press a button or pull a cord and immediately have emergency services dispatched to their home. Most commonly these types of services are requested by children of elderly parents, family members of sick individuals and those living with loved ones who have special needs. One of the biggest concerns for family members of the elderly is the potential of falling; fortunately, with a medical alert feature, if an elderly person falls at home when they are alone, they can signal the authorities for help immediately. For families of sick or special needs individuals, this service can be used in a similar way, signaling authorities or medical professionals that assistance is needed in the event of seizures or other medical emergencies. This feature is not standard on many home security systems, but is common enough that it can be obtained for a fee.

Additional Benefits to Installing a Home Security System:

  • Security systems not only protect family and possessions, but they also provide protection for pets. If a fire were to break out when no one but the family pet was home, without a home alarm system that pet’s fate may be unpredictable.
  • Home security systems allow for homeowners to secure less frequented areas of the home such as the basement and the garage. This makes it more difficult for intruders to take their preferred methods of entry into the home and go unnoticed.
  • Home security systems mean that homeowners do not have to depend upon neighbors to watch over their home when they are away. There is less chance of human error with alarm systems.
  • Home alarm systems prevent home intruders from staying too long if they do gain access to the house since there is a higher likelihood of them being scared away when an alarm is sounding loudly.
  • Modern wireless alarm systems are affordable and much easier to set up and maintain than the wired systems of the past.
  • Having a home alarm system installed actually increases your home value when it comes to selling your home. As an added bonus, it also keeps your home protected throughout the selling process where a number of strangers will be inside your home.
  • Homes with security systems installed have a quicker emergency response time because they cut out the middle man and directly contact authorities for faster dispatch.
  • The majority of large home protection companies offer 24/7 monitoring and support of their alarm systems which reduces the likelihood that the alarm system will fail and your home safety would be at risk.
  • Some home alarm systems that come equipped with outdoor cameras allow for homeowners and their families to see who is at the front door without going close to it. This feature is particularly useful for families with children of working parents who often have to leave children at home alone.

Facts to Consider

If you still have any doubts about whether or not your home or family could benefit from a home alarm system take a look at some of the following facts:

  • Approximately every twenty seconds a home fire is reported.
  • The majority of burglars gain entry to the home via the front door, back door and first floor windows.
  • Only 13% of reported burglaries are solved by the police.
  • Only 15% of property that is stolen in burglaries is ever recovered by the police.

 

The benefits of Fire Detection System

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Why are Fire Alarms so crucial to fire safety? The answer is simple…fire alarms save lives!

This article will explain the purpose of fire alarms; discuss the advantages of installing fire alarm systems, and the great safety benefits of fire alarm systems.