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.

 

 

 

An Emergency Evacuation Plan is a Necessity

Ella LaChance

No one knows when disaster could strike, it can happen anywhere at any time.  The best thing we can do for ourselves and our employees is to have an emergency evacuation plan.

It is important to establish a Chain of Command by designating certain people to ensure that proper emergency procedures are being followed during an emergency evacuation.

The first person in the chain is the designated Point Person. This person would be the one to alert emergency services and decide if it is necessary to evacuate the facilities.  The next person in the chain is the designated Coordinator, this person completes a list of safety tasks such as shutting off gas lines, checking offices and bathrooms to ensure everyone has evacuated safely.  The next person is the Head Counter, this person does a head count to make sure everyone is present and accounted for.  If someone is missing it is this persons job to let emergency services know so that they can begin a search and rescue protocol.  The last person in the chain is a Triage Person, this person would handle minor first aid for cuts and burns until emergency services arrives and can take over.  All of these positions are necessary but multiple positions can be fulfilled by one person.

The next important thing in your emergency evacuation plan is a designated meeting place.  This is VERY important because it allows the Head Counter to get a quick and accurate head count making sure everyone is present and accounted for.

Practice makes Perfect.  It is important to practice evacuation drills on a regular basis to ensure everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do.  It helps eliminate chaos and regular practice makes sure even new employees know exactly what they are supposed to do.

A good evacuation plan keeps employees calm and gives them a checklist for exactly what they are supposed to do. It keeps them focused on the task at hand and their #1 goal which is to get to safety.  It is also important for all employees to know what they are supposed to do so that they can aid any visitors that may be present. Also, make good use of the practice drill time by making sure that escape routes are clear from clutter and that all fire safety devices are in working order, (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors etc.) and to ensure that all first aid devices are in their proper place.

A good plan is a plan well executed.

 

Home Invasion – are you PREPARED?

Ella LaChance

Home invasions happen every 18 seconds in the United States and 30% of burglars enter through an unlocked door or window.  Most criminals can burglarize a home in less than 10 minutes and most happen between 10am and 3pm.  There is someone home during 3 out of every 10 burglaries.

When it comes to home invasion the most important thing you can do is have a plan and be prepared.  It is important for your safety and the safety of your family to have a plan and practice it just like you would a fire drill.  I have included some tips for you to be aware of to help make you and your family safe.

Not everyone has a safe room but everyone can have a safe place.  Work with your children and teach them to crawl under their bed and stay there until you and only you come and get them.  They will be at ease if they know they have a safe place.  Have a code word to alert the children to go to their safe place.

There are many other things you can do to help prevent a burglary.  Home security systems are one of them.  Criminals tend to steer clear of a home with a security system or looks to have a security system.  If you have one put the signs and stickers up this is a real deterrent.

Plant thorny bushes in front of windows this deters the criminals from being getting up close to the windows to look inside and to try and see if the window is open.  Place a wooden dowel rod or broom stick in the track of the sliding door to prevent opening.  They would rather open windows versus breaking them because the noise draws attention.

Make your home look occupied.  Burglars are less likely to break in if the think someone is home.  Lock all outside doors and windows before you leave the house or go to bed.  Make it difficult to break in install deadbolt locks and lock the door when you are home.

Refrain from posting on Social Media when you are going to be gone or even pictures of new electronics or jewelry.  Don’t check in at businesses away from your home.  Wait until you get home to post your vacation pictures. Do not make yourself a target.

If you lose your keys or move in to a new home replace the locks insuring someone hasn’t helped themselves to a set of keys.

Get a dog.  Most burglars would run away if they came face to face with a large dog.  Barking draws attention.

Do your best to be prepared.

Why Install A Home Security System?

admin

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.

 

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