FIRE SAFETY: FOR NURSING HOME AND HOSPITAL NURSING ASSISTANTS AND TECHNICIANS
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 the patient's clothes (something that can burn) away from a damaged electrical wire (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
If a fire starts, you must act very fast. 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 of danger. Move them to a safe place inside if you can. Move them outside if there is no safe place indoors. Get them out of the area and keep them out.
A- Alarm. You must then pull the fire alarm.
C- Confine or contain the fire if you can. Close all of the doors and windows. Do NOT ever prop doors open. Fire doors must be able to freely close when there is a fire or smoke. These doors confine fires into small areas when they are free to move.
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 pull the alarm.
All personal items should be left behind. No one should go back to get personal items. They may never get the chance to leave again.
Every nursing home and hospital must have fire extinguishers.
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 these be in every hospital and nursing 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.
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
Be Able to Evacuate Your Patients and Residents Quickly and Safely
All hospitals and nursing homes must have stairway exits that are clearly marked with signs that are lit up so that all can see them. Nursing assistants must tell patients and residents to use the stairs and NOT the elevator if a fire starts in the area and they have to be moved to another floor of the facility for safety. Everyone must use the stairs.
If a patient or resident cannot walk down the stairs, the nursing assistant and other healthcare providers or a fireman must carry them down the stairs or gently slide the person down the stairs so that they can leave when they are in danger.
Know and Practice Your Fire Response Plan.
All health care providers must know how to respond to fires and other emergencies. All hospitals and nursing homes have a fire safety plan. If a fire starts we must all follow the plan.
It is also helpful to teach our patients and residents about fire safety and the proper response if a fire starts. They should know:
· How to leave their room and area. Patients and residents must be shown the escape route. They must also be told to use the stairs and NOT the elevator.
They will also have to know what to do if a fire is blocking the door way of their room. If a fire is blocking their room they should shut the door to keep the fire out. They should also put a towel or blanket at the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out of their room. It is also a good idea to yell for help or signal for help at the window.
If a fire alarm sounds and the patient or resident is in their room with the door closed, they should be told to feel the door BEFORE opening it. They should not open the door if it feels hot. A hot door means that the fire is just on the other side of the door. Opening the door will spread the flames and smoke into the person's room. If the door is hot, the patient or resident should put a towel or blanket at the bottom of the door to keep the smoke out of their room and signal or call for help at their window.
Nursing assistants should practice fire drills very often to make sure that they know and are able to follow the fire plan and escape. Practice makes perfect escapes. Practice saves lives!!!
Nursing assistants must also know how to:
WHAT YOU MUST DO IF A ROOM IS FILLED WITH SMOKE
GET LOW AND GO if you are in 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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