Safety is another important issue for the Security Professional. Here are three things that can help you prevent accidents and injury:
- Practice a Plan- By practicing a plan you will know what to do when a problem or situation arises.
- Follow Proper Procedures and Common Sense- Carelessness and becoming too comfortable with a situation can result in harm to yourself and others.
- Anticipate Danger and Hazards- By anticipating you will usually be able to avoid the problem before it occurs.
Make sure that you report any potential safety hazards to the proper personnel during your normal rounds.
As emergency situations occur in the workplace your response begins with knowing the company procedures for handling various types of emergencies. Your response usually begins with the notifying your manager I supervisor; if it is a major emergency then you should call 911 first and then follow up with a quick call to your manager I supervisor.
Company and Client policies and procedures
Both the security company that employs you and the client that your company is protecting probably have Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in place for fire protection and other emergencies. Be familiar with their methodology and follow their rules. Contact your supervisor and designated manager as your initial response to all emergencies.
Fire Recognition and Response
When a fire occurs evaluate the type and extent. If it is a large fire all personnel should be evacuated. Control measures should only be taken for small isolated fires.
Types of Fires
There are three common types of fires. The method of extinguishing the fire depends on the type.
- Class A- involves wood, paper, plastics, and other solid combustible material. These materials may smolder and reignite.
- Class B- burning flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, grease, or acetone. If flammable liquids have spilled but not ignited then sand activated charcoal or another non-flammable absorbent may be used to contain the spill. Natural gas fires are also considered Class B fires. After the gas has been turned off they may be extinguished with CO2. Do not use water as it may spread the fire.
- Class C- are fires that involve electricity. Dry chemical extinguishers may be used, but CO2 is the most effective. If possible turn off the power source. The fire then becomes a Class A or B fire. Do not use liquid as the risk of electric shock is too great and will cause shorting of circuitry (potentially leading to more fires).
- Smell of something burning;
- acrid smell(chemical)
- Heat felt on the doorknob, wall, etc.
- Sound of fire crackling
- May give the specific location of the fire
- May ring locally to make you aware of the smoke, flame, or carbon monoxide in a general area.
- Treat all alarms as though they are real. Use your senses when verifying an alarm.
When a fire is discovered or suspected, do the following:
- Rescue- immediate lifesaving and warning those in danger.
- Alarm- signal the alarm and/ or fire department by calling 911
- Confine- close doors and windows to cut off oxygen supply to the fire
- Extinguish- know locations of fire extinguishers and/ or extinguishing systems and how to use them.
- Put out the fire only if it is safe to do so. Evacuate if necessary.
Fire Extinguishers are divided into 4 different categories, based on different types of fires. Each fire extinguisher also has a numerical rating that serves as a guide for the amount of fire the extinguisher can handle. The higher the number the more firefighting power.
- Class A extinguishers are for ordinary combustible materials such as paper, wood cardboard, and most plastics. These extinguishers are air pressurized water. The numerical rating on these types of extinguishers indicates the amount of water that it holds and the amount of fire it can extinguish.
- Class B fires involve flammable and combustible liquids such as gasoline, kerosene, grease, and oil. Usually Co2, the numerical rating for Class B extinguishers indicates the approximate number of square feet of fire that it can extinguish.
- Class C fires involve electrical equipment, such as appliances, wiring, circuit breakers and outlets. Dry chemical Class C extinguishers do not have a numerical rating. The classification means the extinguishing agent is non conductive.
- Class D extinguishers are commonly found in a chemical laboratory. They are for fires that involve combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, potassium and sodium. These types of chemical extinguishers also have no numerical rating, nor are they given a multi-purpose rating- they are designed for Class D fires only.Some fires may involve a combination of these classifications. Your fire extinguishers should have ABC ratings on them.
Types of Fire Extinguishers
- Air pressurized water (APW)-
- Air pressurized water extinguishers are designed for Class A fires only. They should not be used on liquid or electrical fires.
- Carbon Dioxide Co2
- Carbon dioxide is a non-flammable gas that extinguishes a fire by displacing oxygen. The carbon dioxide is also very cold as it comes out of the extinguisher, so that it cools the fuel as well. These are used for Class B and C fires
- Dry Chemical ABC
- Dry Chemical extinguishers are designed to fight Class A, B, and C fires. ABC extinguishers coat material with a thin layer of chemical dust, separating the fuel from the oxygen in the air. The powder works to interrupt the chemical reaction of fire, making these extinguishers very effective. However, the sticky residue may damage computers and other electrical devices.
Dry Chemical extinguishers are designed to fight Class A, B, and C fires. ABC extinguishers coat material with a thin layer of chemical dust, separating the fuel from the oxygen in the air. The powder works to interrupt the chemical reaction of fire, making these extinguishers very effective. However, the sticky residue may damage computers and other electrical devices.
In case of electrical fire, try to safely turn off the source of electricity (i.e. fuse, breaker box, main power shut off). Before using your fire extinguisher, be sure to read the instructions before it’s too late. Although there are many different types of fire extinguishers, all of them operate in a similar manner.
Use this acronym as a quick reference (it is a good idea to print this reference and pin it next to your fire extinguisher):
Pull the Pin at the top of the extinguisher. The pin releases a locking mechanism and will allow you to discharge the extinguisher.
Aim at the base of the fire, not the flames. This is important- in order to put out the fire, you must extinguish the fuel.
Squeeze the lever slowly. This will release the extinguishing agent in the extinguisher. If the handle is released, the discharge will stop.
Sweep from side to side. Using a sweeping motion, move the fire extinguisher back and forth until the fire is completely out. Operate the extinguisher from a safe distance, several feet away, and then move towards the fire once it starts to diminish. Be sure to read the instructions on your fire extinguisher- different fire extinguishers recommend operating them from different distances.
Remember: Aim at the base of the fire, not at the flames!!!
A typical fire extinguisher contains 10 seconds of extinguisher power. This could be less if it has already been partially discharged. Always read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher before hand and became familiarized with its parts. It is highly recommended by fire prevention experts that you get hands-on training before operating a fire extinguisher. Most local fire departments offer this service.
Once the fire is out, don’t walk away! Watch the area for at least 10-15 minutes in case it re-ignites. Recharge the extinguisher immediately after use.
Notes: Be aware that different types of fires can exist together and can feed each other. Be aware that explosions can occur when a fire is suddenly exposed to air or chemicals.
Finally when the fire department arrives, redirect your efforts to securing the area and assisting fire crews only as directed.
- Contact emergency response authority (911) or the local fire department after which, call your supervisor/ manager.
- Provide responding authority with clear, concise and accurate information.
- State your reason for calling.
- Are flames visible?
- Smoke? Color and density
- Smell? Smoke or electrical
- Explosion? With or without the above
- State the fire’s address
- Actual street address (12345 Main St.) or distance from landmarks (1/2 mile south on Hwy 90 from the intersection of FM123 and Hwy 90, on the left.)
- Location of building, land, or property at that address that is involved in the fire ( a brown Ford LTD in the rear parking lot)
- Use compass direction to describe location within the confines of a particular street address (NW corner of the Acme building located at 12345 Mai St.)
- State the fires location
- Ex. Roof
- Number of floors in building
- Approximate amount of acreage if it is a brush or forest fire
- Is the building occupied?
- Number and location of people?
- Apparent injuries?
- Be prepared to give:
- your name
- location you are calling from
- Who you work for and your occupation
- What time you discovered the fire
- State your reason for calling.