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Fire Safety

Fire Safety........................................................................ FS: 1

1. Introduction...................................................................................FS: 1 2. Purpose/Overall Goal....................................................................FS: 1 3. Course Objectives .........................................................................FS: 1 4. Controlling a Fire..........................................................................FS: 2 5. Fire Emergency Do's and Don'ts .................................................FS: 3 6. Fire Extinguishers .........................................................................FS: 4 7. Fire Drills......................................................................................FS: 5 8. Fire Preparedness..........................................................................FS: 6 9. Person on Fire ...............................................................................FS: 7 10. Evacuation ..................................................................................FS: 8 11. Conclusion ..................................................................................FS: 10

? Copyright Clinical Assessments by Prophecy, a Division of Advanced Practice Strategies

FS: 1

Fire Safety

INTRODUCTION

Within the healthcare environment are risks and hazards that could lead to the possibility of a fire. According to the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), between 2004 and 2006, an average of 6,400 fires occurred in medical facilities each year, resulting in over $34 million in losses.

It is imperative for everyone in a medical facility to understand what to do in the event of a fire, in order to protect themselves and others from harm. This may include removing patients from their room and relocating them to a different unit or floor, or how to react if you are the first and only available person to help extinguish a fire.

PURPOSE/OVERALL GOAL

This module outlines what healthcare workers need to know about fire safety, preparation, and response, including how to react quickly, how to use fire extinguishers, and how to evacuate patients.

The goal of this module is to ensure you are prepared to deal with a fire, large or small, at your facility, and that you know the steps to take to keep yourself, coworkers, and patients safe.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this module, the learner should be able to: 1. Define the R.A.C.E. acronym for how to respond to a fire 2. Explain what should and should not be done in the event of a fire 3. Demonstrate the proper use of a fire extinguisher 4. Understand the importance of fire drills and fire preparedness 5. Describe what to do if a person is on fire or facility evacuation is necessary

FS: 2

CONTROLLING A FIRE

All fires, no matter how minor, should result in immediate action. The most popular acronym associated with fire safety education is "R.A.C.E." because it provides a convenient way for you to remember what to do in case of a fire.

R = Rescue Patients and Employees in Immediate Danger The first step in the R.A.C.E. procedure is to rescue patients and employees in immediate danger. `R' can also stand for remove all patients and employees in immediate danger. All healthcare professionals should know the evacuation route in their area, as well as their facility's policies and procedures for evacuating patients. Follow these procedures quickly and calmly.

A = Activate the Fire Alarm The second step of the R.A.C.E. procedure is to activate the fire alarm. `A' can also stand for alarm. If you are the first to discover the fire and the fire alarm has not been activated, immediately activate the alarm. Follow your facility's policies and procedures for notifying appropriate personnel about the fire.

C = Confine/Contain the Fire The third step of the R.A.C.E. procedure is to confine/contain the fire. The purpose of closing doors and containing the fire is to limit the fire's access to oxygen. Close all doors to patient and storage rooms and make sure that the fire doors have automatically closed. Closing all doors helps prevent the spread of the fire to other areas.

E = Extinguish the Fire The final step in the R.A.C.E. procedure is to extinguish the fire. If the fire is small and contained, you can extinguish it by covering it with nonflammable materials or by using the correct type of fire extinguisher. Use the fire hoses available in your facility only if you have been properly trained to do so. Otherwise, evacuate everyone and wait for the fire department to extinguish the fire.

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FIRE EMERGENCY DO'S AND DON'TS

In the event of a fire, here is what you should and should not do as a healthcare worker.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: If you are trained to do so, attempt to control the fire with a fire extinguisher. Ensure that backup fire extinguishers are available. Evacuate patients only if absolutely necessary. Reassure patients and visitors that the facility is responding to the emergency. To limit the amount of smoke released from a fire, close all doors in the immediate area of the fire. If possible, place a blanket under the entrance door to prevent smoke from escaping to other areas. If combustible materials such as oxygen, gas, or flammable liquids are near the fire area, immediately remove them if possible ? but not if the fire is out of control. Shut off or unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment. Relinquish all firefighting procedures to members of the fire department upon their arrival. Provide fire department personnel with information concerning the contents of the room on fire, and any other information requested.

DO NOT: Do not pick up and run with burning articles. This will only fan the fire and could cause it to burn more rapidly. Do not attempt to put out an overhead fire. This procedure is extremely dangerous. Firefighters will perform this task. Do not endanger your own safety if you find the fire is no longer controllable.

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FIRE EXTINGUISHERS

Per law, all areas of a healthcare facility are equipped with portable fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers are located so that employees responding to a fire do not have to travel more than 75 feet, in any direction, to obtain one.

The type of extinguisher is based on hazards present in each location; however, the ABC extinguisher is most commonly found in the healthcare setting.

Types of fire extinguishers are as follows: Type A is for ordinary flammable materials such as paper, wood, fabric, and most plastics Type B is for flammable liquids such as gasoline, grease, paint, and compressed anesthetic gases Type C is for electrical equipment fires Type ABC ? the most common in healthcare facilities ? is for all types of fire

To use a fire extinguisher, remember the acronym "P.A.S.S.": 1. P = PULL the pin 2. A = AIM low, at the base of the fire 3. S = SQUEEZE the handle while standing about 10 feet from the fire 4. S = SWEEP the hose from side to side

You should know the following about fire extinguishers: Access to fire extinguishers or extinguisher cabinets should remain unobstructed at all times. Should a fire extinguisher be discovered missing or discharged, contact the department responsible for fire extinguishers at your facility. Never put a discharged extinguisher back after use. It will not function properly, no matter how little substance was used, until it has been recharged or refilled.

The Oklahoma City Fire Department has made available a short video about the P.A.S.S. method, which you can view here:

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FIRE DRILLS

Fire drills are conducted to practice how to respond to a fire, and to assess how well this response is performed.

Fire drills are required: At least once a year, on all shifts, in non-patient areas Quarterly, on all shifts, in buildings that house patients overnight

Fire drills are conducted on an unannounced basis. Participation in fire drills is mandatory for all employees and must be taken very seriously.

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