SAFed Health and Safety Passport Scheme
Module 6 —Fire and Emergency Procedure
forms one of a series of modules on various health and safety subjects
that comprise the examinable material considered necessary for the award
of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport.
When you have
studied this module you should have acquired sufficient knowledge to be
able to complete the questions detailed at the end of the module.
Upon satisfactory completion of all modules, you will be eligible
to undertake the final assessment for the award of the SAFed Health and
Health and Safety Passport is issued to Engineer Surveyors by the Health
and Safety Manager of their employing company upon satisfactory
completion of the Safety Passport final assessment.
The award of the SAFed Health and Safety Passport provides evidence that the holder of the Passport has the appropriate knowledge and awareness in health and safety matters considered necessary for an Engineer Surveyor to undertake the duties for which they are authorised by their employing company.
The passport is valid for a maximum of three years.
this module you should be aware of:
The legal requirement regarding fire at
work within your own company and if applicable, the site at which you
are working at the time.
Theory and causes of fire
Fire precautions and evacuation
· Types of fire extinguisher and their applicability for fighting fires
and Safety laws, which cover this module are:
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act
The Electricity at Work Regulations
The Management of Health and Safety at
Work Regulations 1999
The Low Voltage Electrical Equipment
(safety) Regulations 1989
The Fire Precautions Act 1971
The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of
Sport Act 1987
The Fire Precautions (Workplace)
(Amendment) Regulations 1999
protected at work by controls which employers must put in place.
There are certain legal duties which make this the case.
However, employees are also legally required to act in a safe
way and co-operate with employers to allow a safe working environment
to be established and maintained.
and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974 requires people to work in relative
safety. A breach of the
Act is a criminal offence as the Act is criminal law, so to contravene
it makes the offender a criminal.
establishments are covered by a fire certificate which is required
under the Fire Precautions Act 1971 (as amended) and the Fire Safety
and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 in terms of the number of
people working there, the style of the building or perhaps the
materials used or stored.
certificate will spell out the type of fire control measures which
must be made. It is in
everyone's interest to comply with any such measures by making sure
fire exits remain accessible, and complying with fire drill practices
can help to increase the effectiveness of safety measures by doing
everything possible to prevent the risk of fire.
All places of work with only a very few exceptions (as amended by the Fire Precautions (Workplace) (Amendment) Regulations 1999) must comply with the Fire Precautions (Workplace) Regulations 1997. Fire safety risk assessments need to be carried out and remedial measures introduced as necessary.
Theory and causes of fire
fires need three elements to exist, namely oxygen, heat and fuel.
It is heat
that starts fire. Heat
may be in the form of a single spark, or may result from exposure to a
flame or other heat source. To
prevent fires it is necessary to try to keep at least two elements
separate from each other. To kill a fire at least one of the elements must be removed.
This is how fire extinguishers work ¾ they
remove heat by cooling, as in the case of water extinguishers, or they
remove the oxygen by smothering, as in the case of powder
fire control strategy concentrates on keeping fuel and heat separate. Not
much can be done to regulate the level of oxygen, but heat and fuel
can be controlled. The
most fundamental fire prevention strategy is to maintain a high
standard of housekeeping. Cluttering
up the workplace with quantities of combustible material is extremely
dangerous, especially where a source of ignition may be present.
Controlling the amount of combustible material is only part of any fire prevention strategy. Consideration also needs to be given to likely sources of ignition ¾ the heat element of the fire triangle
must be present at the same time in order to produce fire:
to sustain combustion,
to raise the material to its ignition temperature,
Some sort of fuel or combustible material, and
exothermic reaction that is fire.
thing to remember is take any of
these four things away and you will not have a fire or the fire will be extinguished.
electrical equipment is one of the biggest causes of fires. Never attempt repairs to such equipment unless you are
competent to do so. A level
of competence is required even for simple jobs such as replacing a fuse.
For example, it must be ascertained that the fuse is the correct
one for the particular appliance.
electrical equipment regularly, report any faults immediately and remove
faulty equipment from service. Look
for signs of damage to leads and plugs, and any indication of
overheating in accordance with the company health and safety policy and
affect the manner in which a fire develops.
Outdoors, the prevailing weather conditions play a major role as
does the available fuel. However,
indoors, the building construction, its services, the type of materials
present and the ability to draw air all determine the size of the fire,
how it will spread and the manner in which it will affect other areas.
Many people are caught unawares by the speed at which a fire can spread. What may seem to be a small, easily controllable fire can soon engulf a large area because of its ability to ignite materials several metres away
What to do upon discovering a fire
discovering a fire, the first action to take is to raise the alarm in
accordance with company health and safety policy and procedures.
In most cases this is done by breaking the glass in a fire alarm
call point. It might also
be necessary to ring the emergency services on 999.
a fire unless help has been summoned and you feel completely able to do
so. If you do feel able to
tackle the fire, and you have raised the alarm and summoned help, never
allow yourself to become blocked off by the fire from the exit.
If the fire is not put out with one extinguisher, do not try to
continue with another one.
Evacuate from the building or area to the assembly point and convey whatever information you have concerning the fire to whoever is in charge. This will include where exactly the fire is, what is burning, how fast it is spreading, and in which direction. Any information concerning the amount of smoke and heat, etc should also be relayed
What to do if caught in a fire
the nearest exit. Your
escape route should be downward (towards the ground floor) and not
upwards unless you are absolutely forced by the fire to go in that
direction. Do not in any
circumstances use make use of a lift to make your escape.
In the event of becoming trapped
NOT PANIC — THINK. First,
get as far away as possible from the fire and smoke
all doors between you and the fire
a phone is available, IMMEDIATELY CALL 999
there is no phone, try to get in front of a window where other people
can see you and then attract attention for help
opening closed doors, feel door top and bottom, for heat (use back of
hand). If hot, do not
open. If door is not hot,
open slowly. Stand behind
door and to one side; be prepared to close it quickly if fire is
low when moving through smoke, (more people die from smoke inhalation
during a fire than from burns).
If trapped in a
cloth material around/under door to prevent smoke from entering
Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire
prepared to signal from window but DO NOT BREAK GLASS unless
absolutely necessary, (outside smoke may be drawn in)
If caught in
IS A GREAT RISK TO YOUR HEALTH AND LIFE as it contains many poisonous
gases such as carbon monoxide.
you can, place a wet cloth in front of your mouth and nose.
Understand that this will help for a little while but the fumes
will still pass through and can cause harm to you.
you have to move through thick smoke, keep LOW to avoid the dense
in touch with some point of reference, like the wall, edge of the
room, staircase, etc., so you don't lose your sense of direction.
you feel that you are becoming overwhelmed by smoke or fumes — GO
DOWN on your hands and knees, keep your mouth low and towards the
floor, breath the air at a level approximately two inches from the
floor where there is cleaner air.
If forced to advance through
your breath. Move
quickly, covering head and hair.
Keep head down and close eyes as often as possible.
possible, wet your hair and clothing.
clothing catches fire, STOP, DROP, and ROLL.
These points could save your life and allow you enough time to escape the fire. Remember - FEAR AND PANIC can be as deadly a combination as smoke and fire
Emergency evacuation procedures
workplaces should have some form of emergency procedure to be carried
out in the event of a fire. In
some workplaces the procedure might be something as simple as someone
shouting ‘Fire!’ and all present leaving via the one and only exit.
Employees as well as employers have a duty to ensure that they are familiar with such procedures and know instinctively what to do in the event of an emergency. When visiting client sites, Engineer Surveyors should ensure that they are familiar with site specific procedures. The main thing to remember is to take the necessary action to remove yourself from harm without putting others at risk
What to do when hearing a fire alarm
On hearing a
fire alarm, you should immediately stop work and make your way calmly to
the nearest safe exit, in accordance with the company health and safety
policy and procedures. If
there is someone close by who may not know the procedure or the way to
the nearest exit, they should be escorted.
If you are the last one to leave an office, close the doors and windows if it is safe to do so. Do not stop to collect belongings or use the lift; go straight to the muster point and wait for your name to be read out on the roll call. Only go back into the building or affected area when someone in authority has said it is safe to return.
Precautions to be taken before entering and working in any space
served by an inert gas automatic fixed fire fighting system
precautions should be taken before entering a space served by an
automatic inert gas fixed fire fighting system (CO2 for
Make sure that the person responsible
for the safety of the site where the space is located is informed that
you require to enter the space. Find
out and comply fully with any site specific requirements for entering
Whilst site specific requirements for
entering spaces with inert gas automatic fixed fire fighting systems
should be fully complied with, it should be noted that entry into such
spaces must not be made
unless the automatic system is either switched to ‘Manual’ or is
Find out the precise details of any
audible and/or visual warnings that may activate in the event of a
discharge of the inert gas fire fighting system.
If warnings activate leave the space immediately.
· Identify all means of escape from the space and make sure the escape routes are kept clear at all times when in the space.
extinguishers are provided to enable competent people to tackle small
fires or as a tool to aid escape from a fire.
They are very reliable and can sit in a corner for years and
still be effective when necessary provided they are regularly serviced. Because their role is vital in possibly protecting life and
property, it is important that they are not misused and that everyone
knows how to use them in an emergency.
Make sure that the escape route is always accessible. Do not let the fire cut you off from escape. If one extinguisher cannot put out the fire, then two probably will not either. At the first sign of the fire getting out of hand, abandon it and evacuate the building.
Choice of fire extinguisher
The choice of
fire extinguisher to use depends upon the class of fire. Fires can be classed as 'A', 'B', 'C' or 'Electrical'.
Below are the internationally recognised symbols for each of the
above classes with a description of the type of fire.
Class 'A' Class 'B' Class
fires Flammable liquids Flammable gases involving solids such as paint,
oil, as wood, paper, plastic, grease, coal and fats etc.
Fires involving electrical equipment.
Types of Extinguishers
It is of
great importance that potential fire fighters know which extinguisher
to use on any particular type of fire.
The wrong one could make things a great deal worse.
An example of this would be putting water on a liquid fire; the
flames will erupt violently, spreading the fire over a wider area.
fire has been caused by electrical equipment, another hazard is
encountered in that water and foam will conduct electricity.
extinguishers are usually located according to the particular risk. For example, where flammable liquids are stored, you may find
powder or foam extinguishers. Offices
tend to contain plenty of electrical equipment, therefore carbon
dioxide extinguishers are popular.
Water extinguishers are found where large quantities of paper,
cardboard or fabric are stocked, such as in stationery stores.
Note that there are two recognised colour schemes for coding, one for the older existing extinguishers and another for those purchased after 1 January 1997. The European Standard BS EN 3 states that all equipment should be red in colour and allow a colour coded zone of not more than 5% of the extinguisher body to identify the contents. Extinguishers will also have to display a pictogram to identify the type of fire they can be used on.
Indicates a Water fire extinguisher - Suitable for use on 'class A' type fires.
|6.10.3 Choosing an extinguisher|
End of module and next steps
By reaching this point you will have finished studying this
particular module. You
should now have sufficient knowledge to answer the questions contained
at the end of the module.
the questions should be forwarded to your Health and Safety Manager.
|Click here to answer question on Module 6|