Why is Fire Safety Training Important?
Fires destroy property, cause injuries, and take lives. A fire in the workplace can also mean the termination of jobs, as many of the offices and factories destroyed by fire worldwide are never rebuilt. One of the key strategies to maintaining a safe workplace and preventing fires is fire safety training.
With proper training workers can eliminate fire hazards and respond quickly and efficiently if a fire breaks out. Without proper training a small occurrence can quickly grow to become a major incident with devastating outcomes.
Everyone is at risk if there is a fire. However, there are some workers who may be at greater risk because of when or where they work, or because they’re not familiar with the premises or the equipment at the work site.
Fire safety training can teach workers how to recognize fire hazards, conduct a fire safety risk assessment, prevent a workplace fire, and respond if a fire occurs.
Recognizing Fire Hazards
Fire safety training begins by identifying the basic properties of fire. All fires start when heat (a source of ignition) comes into contact with fuel (anything that burns) and oxygen is present. To prevent a fire the goal is to keep sources of ignition and fuel apart.
Conducting a Fire Safety Risk Assessment
The fire safety risk assessment helps identify what a workplace needs to do to prevent a fire and keep people safe. The assessment looks at:
- Emergency routes and exits.
- Fire detection and warning systems
- Firefighting equipment
- Removal or safe storage of dangerous substances
- The emergency fire evacuation plan
- The needs of vulnerable people
- Communication with employees and others on the premises
- Staff fire safety training
The Use of Extinguishers
Most workplaces contain portable fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers can only put out small, contained fires, such as a fire in a wastebasket. Extinguishers in different workplaces may or may not be suitable for dealing with grease or electrical fires.
Workers that have not received training in the proper use of portable extinguishers should not attempt to fight a fire.
Through training workers learn to never fight a fire:
- if the fire is large or spreading
- if their escape route may be blocked by the spread of fire
- if they are not trained in the correct use of the extinguisher or are unsure of the type of fire
Everyone is responsible for preventing fires in the workplace – employers and employees alike.
In addition to possible injury and loss of life, a serious fire can close down a workplace resulting in significant job losses. It is possible to reduce the threat of fire to people and property by teaching everyone to work together to prevent fires with comprehensive fire safety training.