FIRE SAFETY: FOR HOME HEALTH AND ASSISTED LIVING NURSING ASSISTANTS AND PERSONAL CARE AIDES
HOW DO FIRES START?
Fire needs three things. It needs:
Fire needs ALL three of these things.
If you take one of them away a fire cannot start. Air cannot be taken away but heat and something to burn can be taken away in order to prevent a fire.
You can prevent fires by keeping heat away from something that can burn. It is as simple as that. Keep heat away from something that can burn!
You can prevent fires by keeping kitchen curtains(something that can burn) away from the stove (heat). You must keep cigarettes (heat) away from bed sheets (something that can burn). A fire will start if you do not keep heat away from something that can burn.
WHAT YOU MUST DO IF A FIRE STARTS
You must act very fast if a fire starts. You must R-A-C-E and follow your fire plan. You must:
R- Rescue all the people that are in danger. The first thing you must do is rescue people that are in danger. Follow your fire plan. Get your patients and residents out. Get them out and keep them out.
A- Alarm. You must call the local fire department or pull a fire alarm if there is one.
C- Confine or contain the fire. Close doors and windows.
E- Extinguish the fire if you can safely do it without causing any danger to yourself and others. If the fire is a very small one that you can quickly and safely put out using water or a fire extinguisher, do it. If the fire is too big, get everyone out and call the fire department to put the fire out.
All personal items should be left behind. No one should go back into the home. They may never get the chance to leave again.
Every home and assisted living facility should have at least one fire extinguisher.
There are several kinds of fire extinguishers:
· A. An A fire extinguisher can only be used to put out fires on some common things like paper, wood and cloth. They CANNOT be used on oil, grease or electrical fires.
· B. A B fire extinguisher can be used to put out fires on liquids and gases like gas, oil and grease. It can be used on kitchen grease and fat fires. It CANNOT be used on electrical fires.
· C. A C type fire extinguisher can be used to put out electrical fires.
· AB. An AB fire extinguisher can be used for paper, wood, cloth, like the A type, as well as liquid and gas fires, including kitchen grease and fat fires, like the B type does.
· BC. A BC fire extinguisher puts out electrical, liquid and gas fires, like the B and C types do.
· ABC. An ABC fire extinguisher is the BEST of all. It puts out all kinds of fires. Since an ABC fire extinguisher can be used on any type of fire, it is highly recommended that at least one of these be in every private home and assisted living home. They can be bought at almost every home improvement store for very little cost.
All fire extinguishers must be checked on a regular basis to make sure that they are fully charged and ready to use in case of an emergency. It is best to keep at least one in the kitchen because most home fires start in the kitchen.
HOW DO YOU USE A FIRE EXTINGUISHER?
Use the P-A-S-S method to use a fire extinguisher:
P- Pull the pin
A- Aim at the base, or the bottom, of the fire or flame
S- Squeeze the trigger while holding the extinguisher up straight and
S- Sweep, or move the spray, from side to side to completely cover the fire
PLANNING FOR A FIRE EMERGENCY
Make Sure That There Are Exits So People Can Leave.
Patients who live in a private home should live and sleep near an exit on the 1st floor. It is best that they live and sleep on the 1st floor if they live in a 2 floor home or an apartment house, especially if they are ill or they have a physical problem. It is much easier and quicker to leave a fire from the 1st floor.
If the patient or resident lives in an apartment house with an elevator, they should NEVER use it if there is a fire. They MUST use the stairs. Patients and residents that cannot walk down the stairs must be carried down the stairs or gently slid down the stairs so that they can leave when they are in danger.
Have and Practice a Fire Escape Plan.
Patients and residents must know how they can escape from a fire. If they are confused or not able to understand this plan, the nursing assistant must help them to escape when a fire breaks out. The nursing assistant must teach and practice the escape plan with their patients and residents. All patients and residents should know:
Nursing assistants should conduct practice fire drills very often to make sure that everyone knows and follows the fire plan. Practice makes perfect escapes. Practice saves lives!!!
Know and Post Emergency Telephone Numbers.
Patients who live in their own home should always have a telephone and emergency telephone numbers in their bedroom and in other areas of the house. Nursing assistants who work in an assisted living facility should have emergency telephone numbers posted in all areas. They should also have a number of telephones to call for emergency help.
Emergency telephone numbers that should be posted on or near telephones are:
WHAT YOU MUST DO IF A ROOM IS FILLED WITH SMOKE
GET LOW AND GO if you discover a room is filled with smoke.
HOW CAN I HELP A PATIENT WHEN THEIR CLOTHES ARE ON FIRE?
STOP, DROP & ROLL.
If a person's clothes catch fire, tell them to STOP and NOT run. Tell them to lay down on the floor and cover their face with their hands. They should be told to then roll over and over to smother the flames. The nursing assistant should also cover the person with a blanket or another item to put out the flames.
Do not fan a fire with your hands. This will only make the fire worse!
WHAT THINGS CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT FIRES?
Most fires can be prevented. Nursing assistants should always use and teach their patients how to use fire prevention skills. They must also make sure that they can keep all patients or residents free of injury if a fire starts. A well planned and practiced fire safety plan can insure the safety of our customers. Practice this plan often.
National Electrical Safety Foundation. (2002). “Home Electrical Safety”.
United States Fire Administration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). (2010). “Public Information”. [online] http://www.usfa.fema.gov/index.cfm
Copyright © 2010 Alene Burke
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