Safeguarding businesses from fire and subsequent losses should begin with pre-planning, effective mitigation measures, employees training, and local responder coordination. Fire pre-planning should be used to bolster overall EHS objectives subjected to regulatory requirements. However, according to the National Fire Protection Associations (NFPA), between 2006 and 2010 fire damage cost industrial and manufacturing facilities an estimated $951 million each year.
Many industrial facilities contain unique hazards and obstacles, making it more difficult to manage an effective response to a fire. By removing uncertainties and hazards associated with a company’s facilities, included emergency response strategies and tactical decision-making processes can empower responders to react expeditiously and potentially limit damage to buildings. Through coordinated efforts, local responders can enter into an emergency situation conscious of existing factors and minimize unnecessary risk, while giving the responders every possible advantage in responding effectively to a fire.
Site-specific information is the foundation of an effective fire pre plan. Fire pre plans generally include information that will be used by decision makers at the incident. The following key fire pre plan components should be common to most fire pre plans: The plan must:
- Be in writing
- List major site hazards
- Include a plot plan
- Have current information
Establishing company-wide pre-plan templates ensures information is recorded in a uniform manner. However, pre plans are only effective if accurate and pertinent information is included. Depending on the company’s operations, pre-plan templates can range from the simple to complex. Below is a compilation of insightful fire pre plan helpful hints from various first responders and fire departments:
- Update plans and communicate with external responders and fire departments often! Include status updates of new buildings construction and renovations being performed.
- Implement a means of easily accessible pre plan storage and retrieval.
- Make forms easy to read! Responders may be reading these plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier to read, the better it is for all responders.
- Separate large complexes into color-coded quadrants. Response strategies can be developed for each quadrant, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.
- Update external responders on perimeter gate entry codes whenever changes are made.
- Identify location of alarm panel locations, key box locations.
- Specify location and identity of stored hazardous materials
- Coordinate response exercises with fire department training drills
- Implement lessons learned and new firefighting tactics into response plans
Responders continually verify the importance for fire pre plan simplicity, clarity and accuracy. From the initial information-gathering phase to a pre plan application during the response; crucial response information must be communicated effectively. Despite the response situation or circumstances, a fire pre plan form should include, but is not limited to the following:
- Building/site layout information
- Fire suppression information
- Hazards locations
- Utility information
- Exposure information
- Water supply
- Evacuation needs
- Occupancy information
- Special procedures for handling, storage and control of items that have been identified as major fire hazards
- Mutual aid resources
Companies with numerous locations and/or vast corporate complexes can greatly benefit from web-based fire pre planning, Responders can utilize mobile devices to search fire pre plan for specific data within seconds, access web cams for real time information, and/or download planning information for future reference. Companies that strive to maintain a large amount of pre planning information, , and struggle with consistency and secured plan accessibility should consider web-based technology.
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