CHAPTER 1. INTRODUCTION 1. 1 Background Fire safety is everybody’s concern. Poor fire safety practices and improper planning for fire emergency can consequently lead to critical situations. This is more threatening particularly for buildings which accommodate laboratories, chemical stores or server rooms. Observance and application of fire prevention principles can help to reduce or eliminate potential fire hazards. Moreover, much emphasis must be put on elaboration of a well designed emergency plan that defines the appropriate procedures to be followed in case of a fire.
Implementation and practice of this plan through fire emergency drills is vital. The main focus of this study being importance of fire drills and setting up of an emergency plan, I proceed to present an overview of the importance of performing fire drills and the roles and responsibilities of participants. In a general view, performing fire drills allow all persons to practice their respective roles and also gain experience in these assigned roles; better knowledge and confidence is acquired so as to evacuate the institution in a safely manner.Order now
Practice of fire emergency drills can also help in improving the academic institution’s “system” for managing fire emergencies. Further in this study, we shall have a more detailed view about performing fire drills. 1. 2 Aims and objectives of this study are: * To highlight the importance of performing fire drills. * To have a better knowledge of fire hazards and the classes of fire associated to the respective fire hazard. * To understand the need for fire safety and principles of fire prevention. * To identify different means of fire detection and fire fighting in a building. To have a brief overview of roles and responsibilities of different persons during a fire drill exercise. * To learn more about the means of escape. * To identify and understand the different steps in preparing and writing procedures of a fire emergency plan. * To observe and locate through a walk through audit, any shortcomings in terms of fire fighting and fire prevention. * To make recommendations for the improvement of the current available means of fire fighting and fire prevention. CHAPTER 2. LITERATURE REVIEW 2. 1 Introduction
In the literature review below, we shall discuss about the principles of fire prevention, the types of fires hazards, the different classes of fire, the means for fire detection and fire warning, the existing ways for fighting fires and finally, the means of fire escape. 2. 2 Fire hazards A fire hazard situation is created when there are risks of harm and damage to people and property respectively, due to fire. There are many ways through which fire hazards can cause fires to start. However, the general principle for a fire to start is, when there is a combination of the following three sources: ignition source, fuel and oxygen.
Sources of ignition include any source of heat that can get hot enough to ignite materials. Some examples are: * Hot surfaces * Naked flames and hot gases * Mechanically created sparks in grinding or frictional processes for example. * Poor electrical installations; damaged cables * Electromagnetic fields from high frequency installations. * Ionizing radiation * Chemical reactions whereby heat is developed. * Chemical substances * Lighting equipment (Henkel, 2001) Anything that burns easily can be seen as a source of fuel.
In an educational institution, some sources of fuel may include the following: * Flammable gases and liquefied petroleum gas * Flammables liquids, solvents and chemicals * Paper and books * Teaching materials * Waste products and litter * Cleaning agents * Carpet tiles. (HM Government, 2006) The major source of oxygen is air. Air is present in an enclosed building and can be introduced or extracted to and from the building through the use of extraction systems. Additional oxygen can be provided by oxidizing chemicals and from gas cylinders used to store oxygen.
Below is a list of some other common fire hazards. (HM Government, 2006) * Electrical hazards * Broken sockets and switches * Faulty plugs * Overloaded sockets and circuits * Problems with lighting fixtures * Inadequate insulation of cables * Housekeeping hazards * Trash and scraps * Sawdust * Obstructed emergency exits * Friction hazards * Damaged machine parts * Insufficient lubricant Wrong adjustment for moving parts of machine * Process or operation-related hazards * Work operations involving the use of open flame and which create spark, for example: welding. Ignition of combustibles due to molten metal. * Operations involving the evolution of flammable vapors. * Storage hazards * Insufficient ventilation in chemical store rooms for example. * Failure to store incompatibles separately in different storage cabinets. * storage of flammables near to heat. * Smoking hazards * Not taking into account “No Smoking” signs. * Smoking in chemical store rooms or near to flammables * Throwing cigarettes or matches everywhere (Henkel, 2001) 2. 3 Classes of fire When fighting fires, it is necessary to choose the right type of fire extinguisher.
The choice of the fire extinguisher is based on the class of fire which depends upon the material being burnt in the fire. Table 1 gives a summary of the classes of fire and the type of burning material or fuel source. Table 1: Classes of fire Fuel source| CLASSES OF FIRE| | Labels| American| European/ Australian/ Asian| Ordinary combustiblesPaper, wood, trash, textiles, fibrous materials| | A| A| Flammable liquidsSolvents, paints, grease, waxes, petrol, oil, tar, thinnerFlammable gasesButane, methane, propane| | B| B| | | | C| ElectricityLive electrical equipment| | C| E|
Combustible metalsMagnesium, potassium, aluminium, sodium, titanium| | D| D| Cooking oilsVegetable oils, animal oils or fats at high temperatures| K| F| Source: Gielle Srl, 2003 2. 4 Means of fire fighting Fire fighting is the act of extinguishing a fire. Fires can be extinguished with the help of various equipments such as fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, fire hose reels, fire blankets and other fire suppression systems. Let us have an overview of all these means and their applications. 2. 4. 1Portable fire-fighting equipment Two types of portable fire-fighting equipment are fire blankets and fire extinguishers. . 4. 1. 1 Portable fire extinguishers Fire extinguishers are a form of active fire protection. Portable fire extinguishers do not weigh much and are easily portable by hand. They are normally fixed to the wall, in a place whereby they can be easily visible and accessed by anyone. When selecting the appropriate fire extinguisher, it is essential to consider the fire extinguisher agents, since each type or class of fire can be best fought with a specific extinguishing agent. Below, table 2 describes the different types of portable extinguishers and the classes of fire they are used for.
Table 2: Different types of fire extinguisher Type of extinguisher| Extinguishing agent| Class of fire used for| 1. | | Dry chemical fire extinguisherMono ammonium phosphatesodium bicarbonatepotassium bicarbonate| A,B,CB,CB,C| 2. | | Foam extinguisherAqueous Film Forming Foam | A,B| 3. | | Water extinguisherAir-water pressurized| A| 4. | | Carbon dioxide extinguisherCarbon dioxide| B,C| 5. | | Halon extinguisherhalotron| A,B,C| Source: University of California, 2010 1. Dry powder extinguisher Dry chemical extinguishers generally stops the chemical reaction and extinguishers the fire by separating the fuel from the oxygen. Mono ammonium phosphate is more corrosive than the other dry chemical agents. It is able to melt at 177 degrees Celsius to suppress a fire. * Sodium bicarbonate is the first dry chemical agent that has been developed. It is used for class B and C fires, but is ineffective for class A fires. * Potassium bicarbonate is the most effective dry chemical agent, since it is able to decrepitate; the powder cracks and break into small particles. It is used in class B and C fires. * Uses: Schools, laboratories, kitchens, hospitals. 2. Foam extinguisher
Foam normally creates a film and floats on flammable liquids (petrol and diesel), preventing oxygen to reach the fuel. Thus, preventing reignition or flashback. Uses: Used in workshops, laboratories. 3. Water extinguisher Air- pressurized water extinguisher is commonly used in extinguishing class A fires, since it is cheap and harmless. The extinguisher contains water, which is non- conductive and a compressed gas. It can be applied from a considerable distance to extinguish a fire. On use, it cools the surface of the burning material by removing heat. Cleaning up operation after suppressing a fire is easy.
Uses: Stockrooms, offices, school. 4. Carbon dioxide extinguisher Carbon dioxide, a non-flammable gas is stored as a compressed liquid. On expansion, it cools the surroundings. In fact, the fire is overcome by displacement of oxygen. No cleaning up is needed, as there is no residue left after use. Uses: Laboratories, computer rooms, food storage areas. 5. Halon extinguisher Halogl I is a vapourizing liquid which has the ability to inhibit a chemical reaction in a fire. It leaves no residue after use, hence no need for cleaning up, and it is non –conductive. Uses: computer rooms, telecommunication areas. United States Department of Labor, 2010) 2. 4. 1. 2 Sand buckets The fire sand bucket is a simple fire fighting means. It is usually filled with sand or another substance, known as flamezorb. The bucket has a lid and it is preferable to use one which is made of steel, instead of plastic, since plastic may crack easily. Fire buckets are cheap and easy to use. They must be located in a clearly visible place and also be well labeled. Sand is used in case of spills of flammable liquids or in oil fires, since it is able to suffocate the fire. Fire sand buckets may be present in laboratories or kitchens.
In laboratories, two sand buckets may be available for use, complemented by the fire extinguishers. (Fire and safety centre, 2007) 2. 4. 1. 3 Fire blankets A fire blanket can be used to suppress a starting fire. The blanket is made of wool, treated with a flame retardant liquid. In case of fire, it is placed either on the burning material or surrounds the burning object. It acts by preventing oxygen to reach the object. The fire blanket is large and must be present for use in laboratories. It should also be visible and easily accessed. 2. 4. 2 Fixed fire fighting systems
Fixed fire fighting systems can be installed in a building, particularly in places whereby fire hazards are present and where fires have a higher potential to occur, for example in laboratories or in server rooms. 2. 4. 2. 1 Fire hose reel Fire hose reel can be used to combat a fire, in addition to fire extinguishers. However hose reels must be located so that it can reasonably be accessed in fire emergencies. They are normally fixed to the wall. They must be used by trained people/ staff in an organization for example. With a fire hose reel, the direction and the flow of water can be controlled by a control nozzle. 2. 4. . 2 Sprinkler system Peter Bressington describes a sprinkler as being a “water-filled pipe-work fitted with thermal devices which discharge water in response to a fire”. (Bressington, 2010) Sprinklers are considered as a means of active fire protection. They are effective in controlling or suppressing fires, depending on its type. They can be installed in any kind of premises: * Hotels * Educational institutions * Store rooms * Health care centre. They are useful in protection of lives and property. They can help to slow down the spread of a fire and hence are considered as a means to contribute to fire protection.
In brief, other advantages of using a sprinkler system are: * Reduction in use of portable fire fighting equipment * To decrease temperature * To control the fire size and quantity of smoke produced Moreover, some other types of sprinklers are available, not only as fire protection equipment, but also as fire-fighting equipment. These are referred to as fire suppression sprinkler systems. Table 3 gives a quick view of types of fire suppression sprinkler systems, extinguishing agent, mode of action and uses. Table 3: Different types of suppression sprinkler systems
Types of fire suppression sprinkler system| Extinguishing agent used| Mode of action| Uses| 1. Wet pipe suppression system| Water| The system is simple and reliable and is commonly used. It consists of a water source, control valves, system drains, alarms, pipes and sprinkler heads. Water is always present in pipes. As soon sprinkler heads open, water flows from them. | Used in warehouses, manufacturing industries, schools, libraries and activity centre. | 2. Dry pipe suppression system| Water| This system is the second most common one used after the wet pipe system. The piping contains pressurized air.
As the sprinkler head open, there is a slight delay in the release of water, since the air must come out first, followed then by water. | In warehouses, parking garages, places exposed to freezing; refrigerated coolers. | 3. Deluge suppression system| Water| In this system, sprinklers are open, but water is not present in the piping. Consequently, a “deluge valve” prevents water from forcing into the pipes. As the system is operated by smoke or heat detectors, water flows into the piping and out of the sprinklers. | Used in building openings to decrease the speed of travel of fire. | 4.
Preaction suppression system| Water| This system is a bit similar to dry system. A preaction valve is used instead of a deluge valve, but both valves perform the same function. In preaction system, a leak and loss of air in the piping result in the activation of a trouble alarm, which prevents preaction valve from opening, thus no water entering into the pipings. | To protect places where accidental activation of the system is unwanted; In museums, In computer rooms| 5. Foam water suppression system| Water and a mixture of foam| This system releases a mixture of foam and water, resulting in a foam spray on the flammable liquids. To deal with special types of hazards such as flammable liquids. | 6. Water spray suppression system| Water | This system is identical to the deluge system. However, it is designed to protect only one configured hazard, in contrast with deluge systems, designed to cover a horizontal area for example. | Protection of hazards. Example: (i). To protect electrical transformers containing oil for cooling or turbo generator bearings. (ii). Provide external protection to tanks containing flammable materials by cooling the tank and its content, so as to avoid fire. | 7.
Clean agent suppression system / gaseous suppression system| nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide,halon. | In this system are released as the extinguishing agents. The system operates in such a way as to reduce heat or oxygen. In fact, either the system totally floods the three dimensional area with the extinguishing, until the fire is extinguished, or the agent can locally be applied only on the fire. | To protect highly valuable and sensitive areas:Electronic data protection,Electrical system switch environment,Computer rooms,Process control rooms| Source: Reed construction data, 2010 2. 5 Principles of fire prevention
In section 74, subsection 1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2005, means of extinguishing fires as per required by the Fire Services are stated as means for fire prevention in every building. Principles of fire prevention are focused towards avoiding the start of a fire. This requires complete control over any fire hazards. Also, safety rules must be followed so as to avoid, for example, that sources of ignition come into contact with sources of fuel, which would inevitably lead to a fire. On this basis, guidelines have been issued by the Government Fire Services of Mauritius, with regards to fire safety for the service sector.
Chapter 8 gives an outline of the fire preventative measures directly linked to causes of fire, such as sparks, defective electrical apparatus, etc… In chapter 6, guidelines concerning safe use, handling and storage of inflammable liquids and design of the store are given to avoid unnecessary and unwanted fires. Right procedures about construction, installation, protection, maintenance and inspection of electrical systems are discussed in chapter 7, section 1. Housekeeping rules with respect to fire safety are elaborated in section 2. (OSHA, 2005; Government Fire Services, 2006) . 6 Means for fire detection 2. 6. 1 Introduction A Fire detection system shall be installed in educational establishments, in accordance to the British Standard BS 5839 and any other standards. (Mauritius Fire Services: construction of buildings, chapter 8, section 5, subsection 1 and 3. ) The Mauritius Fire Services guidelines for service sector also provide information about fire detectors in chapter 5, sections 6 to 9. According to the latter, heat, smoke and flame detectors are suitable means for fire detection in a building, depending on the application.
According to OSHA, it is the responsibility of the owner of the building, or the employer, to provide for, and install fire detectors. Fire detection is categorized as a means of active fire protection. Fire can be detected by: (i). Persons Say for example, a healthy person can sense the presence of a fire through its odor, flame, smoke and heat. However, a human is not reliable for fire detection, as the person may not be healthy enough to sense the fire and he may not be present at the start of the fire. This accounts for the increased use of automatic fire detectors. (ii). Automatic fire detectors
These types of detectors have the ability to sense one of the following: heat, flame or smoke. They can prove to be highly reliable if they are installed in appropriate areas for sensing a particular aspect of a fire. 2. 6. 2 Fire Detectors Table 4: Types of fire detectors 1. HEAT DETECTOR| A heat detector is a device that uses thermal sense. It responds to temperature changes; abnormal temperatures, quick increase of temperature. | Types| Rate-of- rise heat detector| Fixed temperature heat detector| Description| The detector reacts to changes and rise in temperature, from a normal ambient temperature, i. . , according to a temperature range. | This detector activates the alarm when the temperature increases up to a fixed and preset value. | Uses| Store containing highly combustible materialsKitchens, garages, dirty and smoky places| 2. SMOKE DETECTOR| Smoke detectors are devices that operate by detecting smoke particles from a fire| Types| Ionization detectors| Photoelectric detectors| Air sampling| Description| They use radioactive isotopes and have the ability to detect the invisible and very small smoke particles of a fire, very rapidly. These detectors detect very quickly large particles of smoke resulting from a fire; for example, carbon particles. | The device detects microscopic particles of smoke. | Uses| Detection of smoke particles in open flaming fires (e. g. burning of wood and paper)| Detection of smoke particles in smoldering fires (e. g. burning of plastic)| Used in high value areas, e. g. computer server rooms and archives. | 3. FLAME DETECTOR| A flame detector is capable of identifying the different types of light emitted by flames during a fire. | Types| Ultraviolet detectors| Infrared flame detectors|
Description| The detectors detect UV radiation emitted at the start of a fire, with a wavelength shorter than 300nm| The detector work with an infrared spectral pattern. The detectors can sense specific infrared spectral pattern. | Uses| Warehouses, paint shops, auditoriums, fuel storage places,| Source: United States of labor, 2010; Detection design, 2009 2. 7 Fire warning devices 2. 7. 1 Introduction to fire alarms As required by OSHA section 75 and the Mauritius Fires Services guidelines for the service sector chapter 5, fire warning devices which are clearly audible or visible shall be available in a building in case of fire.
A fire alarm system must be installed in every relevant building which has more than 60 occupants and whereby inflammable substances are stored. Installation, testing and maintenance should meet the requirements of the British Standard 5839 for fire detection and alarm system. The purposes of a fire alarm are to: * Allow rapid and early detection of a fire, and raising the alarm. Hence, a quick response will lead to less damage caused by fire. * Activation of the fire alarm shortly after the start of a fire, not only allows occupants of the building to be aware of a fire, but it also leaves them enough time to evacuate the building. . 7. 2 Initiating device A fire alarm basically consists of a control panel, a power supply, a backup power supply, and initiating and notification devices. Initiating devices are devices which are responsible for raising the fire alarm, or activate the suppression and sprinkler systems in a building in case of fire. 1. Automatic activated devices: these involve automatic devices that can sense physical changes associated to fires. Examples: smoke/ heat/flame detectors. On detection of abnormalities, a fire alarm is raised. 2. Manually activated devices: one example of such a device is Break Glass Unit (BGU).
This device should normally be located near exits or along escape routes or near emergency staircase. (Government fire services, 2006) On discovering a fire, the person breaks the glass cover, and a circuit is opened or closed, which triggers the fire alarm. (BS 5839, 1988) 2. 7. 3 Notifying devices Guidelines for service sector, chapter 5, section 5, recommend installation of sounders or sirens to notify people in case of fire emergency. OSHA section 75, subsection 10(a) also recommends provision for notifying devices for people with audible and visible problems.
The required notifying devices as stated below might be: 1. Audible devices: (i). Horns – its loud distinctive sound attracts attention easily. This is of benefit in emergency situations (ii). Sirens/ sounders – they are easily recognized for their loud piercing sound, which can be useful for wide evacuations. 2. Visual devices: are useful for persons with hearing problems or for persons in areas with high levels of noise. (i). Flashing /Steady lights – the cover can be of different colors so as to attract attention. The lights can be rotating or flashing.
These types of devices are used in places where it is difficult to here audible signal devices due to the noise level. (ii). Strobe lights – These devices are particularly useful in places where flashing lights and audible devices cannot be used, due to difficulty of distinguishing and hearing respectively. The strobe lights have high intensity flash tubes and are best used in environments with high levels of light. Uses: conference rooms, classrooms, mess and rest rooms 3. Voice evacuation system This system makes use of highly reliable speakers, which are used to notify people about the fire emergency.
An alarm tone is sounded followed by directions given for the evacuation of the area or building. Uses: schools, hospitals, air transport. (United States of Labour, 2010 2. 8 Means of fire escape Means of escape refers to exit doors, corridors and staircases. An exit can be defined as an unobstructed route from any area in a building to a place of safety. OSHA 2005 gives recommendation about means of escape in section 75, subsections 1 and 2. The fire government services guidelines for the service sector serve as support to OSHA concerning escape routes; (i).
The means of escape must form part of the building and should lead to a place of safety in case of fire. (ii). All means of escape must always be kept free from obstruction and emergency exit doors must open outwards or in the direction of escape. (iii). (iv). At least two means of escape in two different directions for each single floor in case of fire, is recommended for an educational establishment. In addition to the above, provisions are also made for lighting of escape routes; adequate artificial lighting is needed in all common escape routes in educational premises.
It is also important to take into consideration the travel distance, and the width of stairways which will depend upon the number of persons. (Government fire services, 2006) 2. 9 Safety sings Exit doors considered as a means of escape must be properly marked; white pictogram on a board with green background. Also, when the direction of an exit is not clearly understood, it is important to display an exit sign with an arrow, which shows the direction to the exit door. 2. 10 Fire emergency planning and fire drills. An effective response on carrying a fire drill relies on a good fire emergency planning.
Before performing a fire drill exercise, it is important to set up an emergency plan. An emergency plan is generally written to set up and give guidance to the occupants of a building about what to do in case of a fire and about how to escape safely. On the other hand, a fire drill is conducted to: * practice and perfect the written emergency plan procedures, * to allow the occupants to familiarize themselves with egress routes and assembly points. Some elements to be present in a fire emergency plan are: * Training * Pre- drill procedures Fire drill procedures * After action report Typical fire drill procedures included in a proper and well-structured fire emergency plan are: * Means of warning people in case of a fire. * What must be done when someone (staff, students) discover a fire. * How will evacuation of the building be carries out. * Where is the assembly point location. * How to make sure that the building has been completely evacuated. Special consideration must be given to disabled persons and visitors. (Gielle srl,2003; U. S. Department of Homeland Security, 2009) CHAPTER 3.
METHODOLOGY This chapter shall explore the ways through which the study is carried. * A site visit of the building is done to know its location, the road access and a potential assembly point. * Checklists are prepared for each floor to identify shortcomings in terms of fire fighting resources and to identify the location, number and availability of existing fire fighting measures, exit doors and fire warning devices. * A walk through audit is organized and I filled the checklists through: interviews with students, staff and laboratory technicians. I also made draft plans for each floor and on each plan I put the location of the manual fire pull stations, exit doors and fire extinguishers. After the walk through audit, I analysed the results of my checklists Accordingly, I prepared a list of shortcomings and possible recommendations for each floor. I drew emergency plans to be posted on each floor, showing the primary and secondary exit routes which I proposed. From the literature review and further research, I was able to plot down guidelines for a fire drill, including preparing the fire drill planning and actions to be taken before and after the fire drill.
CHAPTER 4. FIRE DRILL PLANNING AND PROCEDURES 4. 1 Introduction The Phase 2 Building accommodates three departments, namely: part of the Faculty of Engineering, the Delivery and Store Department and finally the CITS. The building comprises of the ground floor, the first floor and the second floor. Each floor contains lecture rooms, classrooms, stores, conference rooms, staff rooms, toilets, and laboratories (chemical engineering, computer, thermodynamics, sugar technology) 4. 2 Purpose and frequency of a fire drill The fire drill is intended to make sure that: In the event of a fire, people will evacuate the building in a safe and orderly way. * Every person to whom a responsibility has been assigned with regards to evacuation, carries out his allocated duty as he is supposed to. According to OSHA, section 75, subsection 6(c), the fire drill shall be carried at least once per year, and record keeping of the drill must be done. 4. 3 Selection of a fire drill committee A committee prior to the fire drill exercise must be set up. The committee will comprise of different members such as: * The Health and Safety officer (if any) Administrative and teaching Staff from the Faculty of Engineering. * Head of Engineering Department. * Laboratory technicians * Director of the CITS Department * Staff from the CITS department * Responsible person for the Delivery and store Department 4. 4 Purpose of the fire drill committee The fire drill committee is responsible for: * Making a fire audit to identify all fire fighting resources and the means of fire prevention, and hence identify any shortcomings in the Phase 2 Building. * Developing and preparing fire drill procedures. Preparing plans for each floor as shown in appendix 1 to 6 and show location of manual fire alarm pull station, fire extinguishers, primary and secondary escape routes and main electrical breaker system * Carrying out the fire drill and implementing the evacuation procedures. * Evaluating the fire drill exercise * Reviewing of the fire drill procedures for any amendments and improvements. 4. 5 Roles and Responsibilities Each committee member will be assigned a responsibility with regards to evacuation of the building. The latter are known as fire wardens.
Some examples of roles allocated to them are: * One person or a group of persons may be responsible for one floor or one department. * Helping every occupant to evacuate the area safely, giving special considerations to disabled persons and visitors. * Notifying the fire services. * Record the time taken for evacuation. * Making sure that no one has remained inside. * Organize a head count at the assembly point. 4. 6 Training Before carrying out the fire drill exercise, all members of the committee and other occupants of the building must be given training.
Training sessions will help occupants of the building to: * know details of the building’s emergency plan * know two escape routes from their work area to go outside the building; primary and secondary exit. * Identify the location of Break Glass Units, fire fighting equipments and exit doors. * Know how to activate the alarm. * Recognize the sound of the alarm. * Understand the importance of reporting to the assembly point. 4. 7 Pre-drill actions * Choose which department(s) will respond to the fire emergency; one department at a time or all the three departments together. Announce the time and date on which the fire drill exercises will be conducted, so as to inform all occupants of their duty to participate * Remind designated persons about their roles. * Set the targeted time taken to evacuate the building/ premises. * Post respective floor plans at specific locations on each floor of the building ;near staircases * Prepare feedback forms for members of the committee, other participants and visitors. * Designate persons for collection of feedback forms. 4. 8 Fire drill procedures . 8. 1 Reporting a fire On discovering a fire, the person must: * Alert other persons around him by shouting “Fire! Fire! Fire! * Raise the alarm by breaking the break glass unit located near each staircase. This will activate the alarm and the horns present in the corridors will make other occupants aware of fire emergency. 4. 8. 2 Actions on hearing the alarm When hearing and recognizing the alarm sound, * Students, lecturers and other occupants must stop working and switch off any electrical apparatus in use. Those at ground floor must remain calm and proceed along the primary or secondary exit routes to the fire exit doors, guided by fire wardens, who will also record the time taken for evacuation. * Others on the first or secondary floors must also remain calm, go downstairs and follow the escape routes to go out of the building. * Responsible and respective persons must ensure that all the floors have been evacuated. * Along escape routes, people with difficulties must be assisted. * Go immediately to the designated assembly area. * Vehicles should be moved to provide free access and space for the Fire services. United States Department of Labor, 2010) 4. 8. 3 Disabled persons * During the fire drill, persons who have been assigned the responsibility of helping disabled persons, should help the latter to evacuate the building safely. 4. 8. 4 Calling the Fire Services * The fire services must be called on 115. * Precise information must be provided about: * The location of the fire; on ground floor, first floor or second floor * Where has the fire started (classroom, laboratory or offices) * Name of the calling person * Address of the premises On arrival, the Fire services must be notified about any special risks, such as flammable materials or dangerous equipments in the building. (Government fire services, 2006) 4. 8. 5 Roll call System * At the assembly point, head count is to be done by the selected persons to make sure that no one has remained in the premises. 4. 8. 6 Fire drill ending As the head count has been completed, the termination of the fire drill will be announced. Occupants will be informed as soon as it is safe to re enter the building. (U. S. Department of Homeland ,2009) 4. 9 Evaluation and analysis of the fire drill
At the end of the fire drill, feedback forms are collected and analysed. This will help to: * determine the performance of each department. * Identify areas which need improvement and develop an implementation plan for improvements. * Identify strengths and weaknesses of the emergency plan. Hence modify and improve the plan. * See whether evacuation has been carried within the time limit. 4. 10 After action report This report will provide feedback to participants, and recommendations for improvement. 4. 11 Don’ts: * Re enter the building unless you have been instructed to do so. Leave the assembly point until you are told to do so. * Take heavy things or bags during evacuation. * Use lifts CHAPTER 5. RESULTS AND FINDINGS. The walk through audit allowed me to observe and fill in the prepared checklist found in appendix 7. Below is an overview of my observations. * Exit doors * There are a total of 4 exit doors on the ground floor for all the three departments, only 2 exit doors for the first floor and 2 exit doors for the second floor, found on the ground floor. * All the escape routes and exits are free from obstruction. * All doors open in the direction of escape. The doors can be easily opened. * Emergency lighting * There is no emergency lighting in the phase 2 building. * There exists a back-up power supply for the building. * Signs * There are a total of 2 exit signs on each floor, and they are located near the staircases. * There are no signs for direction along escape routes, downstairs and for the location of fire extinguishers, and break glass units. * Fire alarms and evacuation plan * There are no posted evacuation plans. * There is a manual fire alarm system operating in the building. * There are 2 Break Glass Unit on each floor, and are located near the staircase Horns are located at the top of each break glass unit. * There are no strobe lights present in the building. * Firefighting equipments and first aid * No sprinkler system is installed in the building or risk areas. * There are no hose reels. * There is no first aid box available. * The building does not make use of any automatic fire detection system such as smoke/ gas or heat detectors. * Fire extinguishers are appropriate for their use, but are not clear visible and are insufficient in number. * Fire blankets are not easily accessible and visible. | | | CHAPTER 6. SHORTCOMINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
From the findings in chapter 5, I have been able to set up a list of shortcomings and make recommendations in this respect. 6. 1 Ground floor * Evacuation plans should be posted; 2 in the Engineering department near the two main exit doors, and one in the CITS department. * More fire extinguishers should be available and appropriate for use, especially in the laboratories. * Water sprinklers can be installed in the thermodynamics laboratory and chemical laboratories * Automatic fire detectors can be installed in laboratories * Exit doors should be clearly indicated by an ext sign. Direction of escape along escape routes must be shown by appropriate signs. * Hose reels should be installed because of risky areas at ground floor level. * Sings can be placed to indicate the fire alarm break glass unit and location of fire extinguishers. * An exit door in the chemical engineering laboratory is obstructed. * Doors which do not serve as exit must be indicated by “Not an exit sign” * Fire blankets should be placed in a visible place. 6. 2 First floor and second floor * More fire extinguishers are needed in the corridor along the escape routes and in classrooms and laboratories. Smoke detectors can be placed in lecture rooms, and laboratories. * An automatic fire suppression system should be installed in the computer laboratories. * There should be more than two exit staircases. With reference to the fire services guidelines for the service sector, chapter 3. 8, an alternative means of escape (staircase) made of metal or a non- combustible material can be provided for the first floor and the second floor. * Exit signs for doors and emergency signs for direction of escape must be placed. CONCLUSION AND FURTHER RESEARCH
This study has helped in setting up procedures for a fire emergency. It is important to focus on the implementation of the plan. It’s only through implementation that weaknesses and strengths can be identified. Based on weaknesses and limitations of the plan, improvements can be made for a better plan which takes more aspects into considerations. Later on, the fire drill exercise based on the emergency guidelines provided in this study can be carried out. Necessary modifications would then be able to be made to perfect the plan.
Through the carrying out of the walk through audit, identification of what is needed in terms of fire-fighting equipment, fire warning devices, location and number of exit doors has been made. In the future, provision can be made to fill up all this gaps, for a better and safer building. REFERENCES 1. Artim, N. (2006) Northeast Document Conservation Centre, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: An Introduction to Fire Detection, Alarm, and Automatic Fire Sprinklers. 2. Bressington Peter, 2010. Fire safety engineering: The definitive magazine for the fire safety community. Sprinklers in context: performance based design. . BS 5839: part 1: 1988 Testing and maintenance Available at: http://www. ttsfire. co. uk/guide-bs5839. PDF 4. Detection design, 2009 5. Fire Protection Online Ltd, 2010: fire blankets Available at http://www. fireprotectiononline. co. uk/fire-blankets/ 6. Fire protection for the home and business. Fire extinguisher: 101, fire extinguishing agents Available at: http://www. fire-extinguisher101. com/index. html 7. Fire and Safety Centre, 2010. Fire buckets, Available at http://www. fireandsafetycentre. co. uk/Products/Fire_Buckets/ 8. Gielle Srl, 2003. Inergen fire suppression system 9. Gielle Srl, 2003.
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