FIRE SAFETY FOR THE DISABLED
AND ALL EMPLOYEES AT WORK
This report is mainly for employees that are disabled and are working. Certain safety precautions
for them need to be met in order to increase their safety. As history has shown us preparation is the best due to the fact that Fires occur at so many unexpected times. These precautions can also help the safety of other employees, people in the area, the police and firefighters. They are ruled by American Disability Act Accessibility Guidelines. They are required for only New Buildings that: 1. had a building permit application after January 26, 1992 and, 2. Was occupied for the first time after January 26, 1993.
Disabled individuals are joining the mainstream of society at very high rates. They are contributing to their community throughout the world. Their safety level has to be the same as those that are not disabled. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a very important part of this. The ADA states the type of equipment, procedures and exit safety is needed. The owners of the companies have to look into certain realities. First by law, they must look at the disabled fairly. The disabled should not be denied a job due to their disability unless it would stop them from performing their job properly. Therefore the disable's limitations need to be looked at. Finally the disabled individual should be allowed to work with the company in order to decide the equipment and procedures that will be the best for them. This definitely helps the disabled to know that once the adjustments are completed they will be fully protected.
Every Employer knows they must provide a safe place for their employees. Unfortunately many do not and some do get away with it. Some can find the legal root of being grand fathered into older rules and others just try to keep things the way they are until they are forced to make the changes.
A large part of the safety is due to the possibility of fires at work. That type of situation can cause employees to go through a lot of stress. In a fire they can cause themselves and/or others to be injured. Employees need to be told were the area of safety is and how to get there. That area is usually outside the building. Under certain circumstances the employees cannot get out. The fire has locked them in. They must be taught how to safely protect themselves. The doors need to be closed. They must cover up the areas were smoke can get in. The material they use to do that should be sprayed with water if possible in order to slow the fire from taking over. From that point on the employees should remain as calm as possible. They should wait for the firefighters. If there are windows the individuals should open them if possible. This will help any smoke to escape. But caution needs to be taken. If the fire and/or heat are in that area the glass will break. The fire will enter the area from the windows. Also if smoke is moving towards the windows caution must be taken since the smoke can enter the area. If the windows are opened the people outside can be notified. Also there are special ladders that can be used for evacuating a fire. People need to know how to calmly use them. The number of stories high you are definitely depends on the use of ladders. Also the use of ladders depends on the spread of the fire. If smoke is in the area caution is needed. A body inhaling smoke may react differently from person to person. The can become ill and possibly fall. Again the firefighters are very helpful in these situations.
Now lets look at the other steps that must be taken during a fire. First, if the fire is detected early enough, there is a large safety percentage for all involved. Next they must get to a fire pull station to set off the alarm. This informs the police and fire department. It also informs the people in the building. Fire extinguishers may be used. They do not always work. So the employees working together are important. One sets the fire pull station, while the others work with the fire extinguishers. A fire extinguisher is only good for certain types of fires and the size of the fire. There are different types of fire extinguishers, A, B, and C. C works for mostly all types of fires. It will work on a fire that involves paper, clothes, gas or oil as examples. Many times it is safer to get out of the building. In order for all of this to be done in the most secure way every company should have their employees practice. Also information on the steps to be taken helps.
If a person is on fire certain steps also need to be taken. Individuals must work on helping the Burn Victim and put out the fire that is not on the body at the same time. So the above steps need to be used again as a team effort. We want the individual to become a Burn Survivor. So obviously the first step in helping this person become a Burn Survivor is to put the fire out. That can be done with water, clothes and/or rolling on the ground or floor as examples. Then the individual needs to be kept stable and be removed if needed. This must be done carefully especially depending on the degree, type of fire and the individual. If the area is safe and the fire is controlled or stopped waiting for paramedics and firefighters is the best bet. Always try not to panic. Calmness is best. As a Burn Survivor you also should try to remain calm. At such a time it may be hard to do. The body physically and emotionally will be reacting. Just remember if you are ever a Burn Survivor realize that help is coming.
If a disabled individual or someone that is injured due to the fire needs help getting out there are certain ways of doing so. Many times the other people in the building cannot help. So these individuals need to get to a safe area. If you are alone remain calm and use the above information to protect yourself as a Burn Survivor or not. If you are a Burn Survivor alone and you need to get to a safe place, try everything possible to move as quickly as you can to a safer area. If you cannot again always remember to try to remain calm. Help will arrive. An example of a very safe area to wait for help is the stairway. The stairway can be made were there is a certain area for the disabled, medically or mentally impaired or injured in any way to wait without being in the way of people going down the stairs. The firefighters will enter the area and get to you. Again as a team effort the individuals outside of the building will inform the firefighters that you are waiting for them. The doors at the stairway must remain closed. This will keep the smoke and fire from entering. The stairway will have at least forty-five minutes for you to wait under most conditions. If the fire is spreading and is very powerful the time may be less. So just remember the firefighters are trained for the worst so they will put their lives at risk to get to you. Many firefighters have become Burn Survivors and lost their lives entering a fire to save a life.
The ADA Act of 1990 does not require formal emergency plans. Both Titles I and III require that policies and procedures be modified for public accommodations. This involves people who are disabled, either permanently or temporarily. There are classifications of disabilities and other situations for individuals from ADA that must be met. They are as follows:
1. Individuals with varying degrees of mobility impairment. This ranges from slow walkers to being wheelchair bound.
2. Individuals who are impaired, may require special assistants in learning the emergency evacuation routes or assistance in proceeding down the stairway.
3. Individuals with hearing impairments may require modifications to the standard audible alarms.
4. Individuals with temporary impairment due to their recovery from serious medical conditions such as traumatic injuries and strokes must know of the areas and help they need.
5. Individuals with medical conditions like respiratory problems or pregnancy need assistance due to the fact that they may tire easily. This can cause them to take more time to evacuate.
6. Individuals with mental impairments, may become upset or confused in such a situation. These individuals should be given simpler emergency rules that they can understand.
7. Finally, people with small children and visitors may require extra care getting down the stairs. Also employees who work extra hours may be at a mental and/or physical state that slows them down in such an emergency.
The disabled individuals either with permanent or major impairment, usually know the best way they need to be assisted. Some are in denial depending on the stage they are in. So be prepared for emotional reactions. People around these individuals need to learn about this. It will help during possible emergency situations. The people who provide the assistance must be trained on how to help without causing injuries to themselves, the individual they are helping or others. At times an individual needs to be carried. They also need to be aware that crawling on the ground under the smoke as quickly as they can is a very positive way of removing themselves from the area as long as the flames and heat are not present.
It is always best to put in writing the day and the locations in the workplace where the safety and emergency plans have either not been met or they might not work. An example is the stairway doors. If the do not close properly there is a risk to the safety of others. When reported a company will usually have that fixed immediately due to the fact that fires are unpredictable and the lives inside their building are very important. This will help the company to be aware that their employees are looking out for their safety.
Practice makes perfect. Fire drills are extremely important. They can save lives. These drills vary from being announced to unannounced. It has been proven that fire drills do educate and prepare people so that the safety for everyone involved with the business and their guests is at a safer level. Of course it depends on the fire to the amount of injuries if any. People that work in the building should help the guests to remain calm and have the guests either follow the employee or be in front of them. Unfortunately reality shows that people still panic during a real situation. That is why certain members of the staff may be asked to become the one in charge of a floor or the area of the floor.
Special equipment can be in the business for people that are disabled or medically impaired. There are special controlled decent chairs and the fireman's carry method that are available for people to be taken down the stairs on. There can be one or more of the chairs on each floor. The individuals who have the responsibility of taking care of the individuals in need of this equipment should be trained. Many times it is safer as stated above for these disabled individuals to wait for the firefighters in a safe area.
In conclusion, it is important for people working to be trained in fire safety. It will protect their lives, the lives of visitors and firefighters. A lot of the above people can personally use for safety in apartments and homes. They will help them to save lives at home along with the legal guidelines from the Fair Housing Laws. Some individuals are not aware of the ADA and Fair Housing Laws. As companies take part in training their work force they are showing their care and concern for the human life. With the safety factors used the company is also cutting down the risk of their business being destroyed. During practice and meetings with the firefighters and Burn Survivors people learn about certain safety features that they will use at work and at home. Many times seeing and hearing from a Burn Survivor lets people see the affects from a fire both positive and negative. Finally this will help our economy to grow and our new generations to have a more fire safe working environment.
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