Just as facilities have accessible fire extinguishers and conduct fire drills to ensure the safety of individuals in a fire emergency, facility managers need to incorporate emergency responders in the development of pre fire emergency plans, or fire pre-plans. From industrial facilities to multi-story office buildings, having fire pre-plans in the hands of first responders prior to an actual emergency is critical to the safety of their occupants.
The purpose of the pre fire emergency plans are to ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. The information listed in a fire pre-plan, such as floor plan(s) and details of on-site hazardous material(s), are required by multiple agencies (OSHA, DOT, EPA, USCG) as part of an overall emergency response plan. However, other specific fire fighting information, such as construction details, hydrant, and utility valve locations may be useful to responders if highlighted in an stand-alone format and shared with responders prior to an emergency.
There has been discussion that the NFPA 1620, a guide for pre incident planning, is on track to become a regulatory required standard. The NFPA 1620 standard ”provides criteria for evaluating the protection, construction, and operational features of specific occupancies to develop a pre-incident plan that should be used by responding personnel to manage fires and other emergencies in such occupancies using the available resource.”
The concept of pre fire planning is to provide facility details to area responders. Industrial fires can escalate quickly, and the potential danger to lives and property can exponentially increase as time progresses. Having up-to-date information readily available, and available to knowledgeable responders has been proven to limit the duration of the emergency. The faster responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained...and the sooner facility operations can be restored to “business as usual”.
For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.