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Fire Safety Essentials for office staff


Fire Safety Essentials for office staff – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Fire Safety Essentials for office staff

Fire Safety Essentials for office staff
  • What you need to know

City University London 2001
Fire can have major consequences we all need
to be aware of the risks in our workplace.
About this presentation
  • The aim of this presentation is to provide you
    with basic fire safety information. Following the
    guidelines will ensure that the risk of fire and
    any subsequent damage to property and injury to
    staff and students is kept to as low a level as

About this presentation
  • The key issues that will be covered are
    Who is responsible for fire safety?
  • Basic Fire prevention methods
  • Fire detection and fire fighting
  • Means of escape

Who is responsible for fire safety?
  • The University Safety Policy states - The Head
    or manager of each Department/School or other
    unit is responsible for ensuring fire safety
  • They will be assisted by a nominated Fire Officer
    and Deputy from within the department/School
  • The Director of Facilities Management is
    responsible for fire safety requirements
    associated with the building and services, e.g.
    fire detection systems, fire extinguishers, etc

Key fire personnel and duties
  • Depending on the size and activities carried out
    in your department one or all of the following
    will be involved in fire safety
  • The Fire Officer (will be responsible for
    coordinating fire alarm tests, evacuation drills,
    liaison with fire authority, etc.)
  • The Building manager (likely to be involved in
    fire alarm testing and in ensuring a call is made
    to the fire authority)
  • Fire wardens (some buildings may have additional
    staff acting as fire wardens). Their job is to
    ensure the building is cleared of people in an
    emergency and to report to the assembly point
    and pass on relevant information to the Fire

What about individual responsibilities?
  • You as an employee have legal duties which cover
    fire safety, i.e.
  • You must look after yourself and others who may
    be affected by your acts or omissions
  • You must cooperate with your employer so that
    they can meet their legal duties
  • You must not interfere with or misuse anything
    provided for your safety
  • You must report any defects or failures in the
    safety arrangements in your area

What does that mean in practice?
  • You are, for example, failing to comply with both
    the law and University policy if you
  • Wedge open fire doors
  • Smoke at your workplace
  • Fail to report damaged fire equipment
  • Misuse fire extinguishers, e.g. by using them as
    door wedges
  • Block fire exits and routes with equipment or
  • Remain in your workplace when the fire alarm
    sounds (excluding weekly fire alarm tests)

Fire Prevention
  • Key issues

Maintaining compartmentation
  • Fire doors must be kept closed fire
    extinguishers are not door wedges!
  • Office doors on dead end corridors must be kept
  • Where possible, and before leaving the building,
    close windows/doors if alarm sounds
  • NB significant changes to rooms should not be
    made without consultation with Facilities

Not acceptable!
Report damage to walls, ceilings and doors
Fire doors
  • Some fire doors are held open by a magnetic
    détente (see picture opposite). If the fire
    alarm system is activated the doors will
    automatically close. As with all fire doors, it
    is important that these are not blocked. The
    doors are normally checked as part of the fire
    drill to ensure they close once the alarm is
    sounded. Report any doors to your fire officer or
    DSC if you feel this has not happened.

Keeping routes clear - inside
  • Fire exits must be kept clear at all times.
    Equipment and combustible materials should not be
    stored on escape routes. NB some
    items of electrical equipment are allowed if
    additional precautions are taken (e.g. they do
    not cause an obstruction, they are fitted with
    RCD protection, and alternative exits are

Not acceptable!
General housekeeping
  • Do not accumulate unnecessary paper or other
    combustible material in the workplace
  • Waste bins must be emptied on a regular basis
  • Recyclable materials should be removed from the
    workplace regularly

Not acceptable!
Preventing arson
  • Secure your room when you leave
  • Do not overfill external waste bins making lids
    difficult to close. Do not let waste accumulate
    on floors around the bins. Keep lids to waste
    bins and waste bin compound gates closed
    (preferably locked)
  • Ensure building windows are closed when
    workplaces are not occupied (especially if on the
    ground floor).

Not acceptable!
Electrical safety
  • Portable electrical equipment checks must be
    carried out at regular intervals (varies from 1
    to 5 years)
  • Visual checks of equipment should be carried out
    on a regular basis
  • Ensure electrical items are switched off when not
    in use
  • Do not carry out your own electrical repairs
    unless you are competent to do so!
  • Do not trail electrical cables under carpets,
    rugs, etc

Not acceptable!
Smoking policy
  • The University is a no smoking area (with very
    limited exceptions). Please ensure that you only
    smoke outside of buildings and away
    from the main entrances.

Damaged furniture
  • Damaged furniture, e.g. when foam begins to show,
    should be removed from the workplace

Not acceptable!
Avoid unnecessary flames
Naked flames , e.g. Bunsen burners, are only
permitted if absolutely essential to the work.
Dont bring candles into the workplace - A small
candle can cause considerable damage!
Methods of heating rooms
  • LPG heaters and old electric bar fires should be
    avoided in the workplace
  • Fan heaters should not be used in laboratory
    areas containing flammable liquids. If temporary
    heating is required, portable radiators or
    convector heaters (see opposite) should be used.
  • Combustible items should not be placed near or on
    heating equipment, particularly ceramic/quartz
    space heaters

Fire detection and fire fighting
Fire detection
  • Ensure ceiling detectors installed in your area
    are not accidentally obstructed or covered.
  • Pay particular care after contractors have been
    in the area. Detector heads may have been
    temporarily covered with plastic caps (see
    photograph opposite) and not removed at the end
    of the work.

Fire detection
  • Also ensure that someone has not deliberately
    covered detector heads to allow them to carry out
    unauthorised activities. In the case opposite,
    the person concerned was fined 200!

Means of detecting fire
  • Remember the best fire detector is YOU!
  • Be aware of what processes and activities take
    place in your area and always be prepared to use
    the alarm call points if you find a fire

Call point with plastic protective cover
What to do if you detect a fire
  • Fire action notices are located at various points
    in your building. These tell you what to do if
    you detect a fire, i.e.
  • Verbally raise the alarm
  • Activate the alarm via the nearest call point
  • Call the fire brigade (2222) and give location
  • Without putting yourself at risk, close windows,
    switch off equipment, gas supplies, etc before
    leaving the building

Fire action notice giving fire instructions and
assembly point
999 has to be used in limited areas outside the
Emergency telephone number
  • Everybody should be aware of the emergency
    telephone number(s) needed to contact the
    emergency services. In addition to informing
    staff, check to see if telephones in your area
    have the red emergency sticker attached (it will
    be useful for people who visit your area but are
    unfamiliar with the number).

Fire extinguishers and their use
  • Fire extinguishers are available at various
    locations throughout your building. Staff should
    be familiar with the location and basic
    operations. More detailed training in their use
    should be provided to those who have been given a
    more active role in fire fighting.
  • NB - The main priority must always be to evacuate
    the building and not to fight fires.

Using the correct extinguisher
  • NB newly fitted extinguishers are now mostly
    red in colour with only a different coloured band
    around its neck indicating its contents. Above
    each extinguisher there should be a sign that
    indicates what each fire extinguisher contains
    and what it can be used on (see photograph

Maintaining fire equipment
  • Each fire extinguisher, fire hose reel and fire
    blanket, should have a service record label
    attached to it showing its maintenance record
    (see photograph opposite). No fire fighting
    equipment should be used if this is not up to

Fire escape
  • What to do if the
  • alarm sounds

Fire alarm tests
  • The fire alarm system is checked weekly. Make
    sure you know the date and time of your test so
    that you do not confuse this test with a real
    situation. If the alarm bell does not sound
    during the test, report it to your Fire Officer
    or Safety Coordinator.

Recognising the alarm
  • In most areas, once the detection system is
    activated a distinctive and continuous bell or
    sounder will operate. Use the weekly test to
    ensure that you can hear the bell from your
    working area.
  • NB in some areas where it is difficult to hear
    the bell (or where the hard of hearing may work),
    flashing lights may also have been added. Ensure
    that these are visible from the working position
    and that they are kept clear of obstructions.

Fire action notices
  • Fire action notices in your building detail what
    needs to be done if the alarm sounds, i.e.
  • Evacuate the building by the quickest route
  • Do not attempt to collect personal belongings
  • If possible close windows and doors on the way
  • Go straight to the assembly point and, if
    required, report any fire issues to the fire
    officer (they will be wearing a fluorescent

Familiarise yourself with the escape routes
  • Make sure you know the alternative routes from
    your building dont assume that the route you
    normally use to go in and out of the building
    will be available.
  • Note any obstructions on the route and report
    them to the Fire Officer.

Not acceptable!
Familiarise yourself with the escape routes
  • Final exit doors can come in a variety of types.
    Familiarise yourself with the door types in your
    building. Examples of what you might find on
    final door exits are shown on the following

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Familiarise yourself with the escape routes
  • Some final exit doors may have push button
    systems to open the door. These should
    automatically release if the alarm is sounded. If
    the door does not release, use the emergency
    break glass release to open the door and report
    the fault to the fire officer at the assembly

Escape from buildings
  • You should never use a lift to evacuate a
    building. This is because
  • they may fail
  • they may take you to the fire
  • NB some buildings have been fitted with
    specially designed lifts for disabled persons.
    You should only use these lifts if you are
    disabled or are assisting a disabled person out
    of the building

Assembly points
  • Ensure you know your assembly points for your
    building. If in doubt, it will be written on the
    fire action notices in your building.
  • If the alarm sounds and you have to evacuate, go
    to the assembly point. Do not just congregate
    outside of the building as this may hamper any
    emergency services that have to enter the

What if I am in.?
  • In a meeting
  • In a basement handling storage items
  • Backing up computer data
  • REMEMBER You are expected to get out within 2.5
    minutes. You should be able to stop what you are
    doing, make it safe and then leave within this

Evacuation drills
  • Evacuation drills are carried out at least once a
    year in every building. You will not be told when
    this will happen. You should treat any extended
    sounding of the alarm as a real fire and evacuate
  • NB certain routes may be blocked off by signs
    (see opposite) as part of the test. You will be
    expected to find an alternative route to exit the

NB evacuation applies to everyone!
Know your fire signs
  • When you see blue circular signs, the information
    provided is mandatory. You must follow the
    safety guidance provided. These will normally be
    found on fire doors, final exits, etc.

Know your fire signs
  • When you see green signs, these are used to
    provide important information. Directional
    running man and fire exit signs are examples of

Know your fire signs
  • Red coloured signs will indicate important fire
    safety information. These are normally found near
    fire extinguishers, hose reels, dry risers, call
    points, etc.

Day to day awareness
  • Everybody is responsible for reporting any
    failings or defects in the current fire safety
    arrangements. Facilities Management operate a
    telephone response desk that should be used for
    reporting any maintenance issues, e.g. damage to
    fire doors, missing signage or extinguishers,
    damage to walkways along escape routes, etc.

Out of hours working
  • Most buildings will run a working out of hours
    book. These are normally kept near the main
    entrance to the building. If you work outside of
    normal working hours then you must complete the
    book stating the start and finish time of the
    period spent in your workplace.

  • Get to know your building find out your escape
    routes and the quickest way out of the building
  • Look at the fire action notices in your area
    find out what to do if the alarm sounds, what to
    do if you find a fire and where to assemble
  • Be fire responsible dont do anything that
    could put yourself and others at risk and report
    any defects in the fire arrangements
  • If you have any further questions about fire
    safety in your area there are a number of people
    you can speak to
  • Safety Officer (Facilities Management)
  • Safety Advisers Office
  • Departmental Fire Officer
  • Departmental Safety Coordinator

Thank you for your time.
  • Now go to the short quiz to test your knowledge.
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