×
INTELLIGENT WORK FORUMS
FOR ENGINEERING PROFESSIONALS

Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

(OP)
Dear All

Let imagine the following scenario: a smoke detector causes an alarm. When I go at the location to verify it is not a wrong alarm, I realise there is indeed a small fire.

Which criteria do I need to take into consideration when deciding about the evacuation of the workforce?
Fire tend to develop rapidly, so it is not clear to me how much flexibility there is here about delaying the evacuation of the workforce.

Thanks in advance
Regards
Chris

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

As for me I would clear everyone out as a matter of policy.

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

From a firefighter point of view.....So assuming the smoke detector activation results in the fire department response when they ask is everyone out of the building what will the response be?

From an insurance loss prevention representative point of view...So we had so many claims for smoke inhalation because you did not want to evacuate the building.....REALLY?

If you have a confirmed fire get everyone out no matter how small the fire is. If your facility is so large at least evacuate the people nearest the point of origin. Typically high rise fire they will evacuate the floor above and below the fire to start with. In a hospital they will move patients to the adjacent smoke compartment......get the idea?

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Your post indicates fire tend to develop rapidly...

How long does it take to go "verify" it is an actual fire.

If the alarm goes off, evac the building.
Figure the rest out later.

R/
Matt

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Let's look at it from a legal standpoint.

Imagine a fire where a young mother of three small children who needlessly lost her life because it was company policy to verify that it was a real fire and a real danger before evacuating the building.

First off her estate is likely to have more lawyers than the number involved in the Exxon Valdez accident. Why was it company policy to keep young mothers locked up in a burning building? What kind of a vicious unthinking animal would do this?

But lawyers for her estate could be the least of the problems management, or somebody in management, could be looking at a manslaughter charge. You know, the kind of charges that you can end up in prison with?

I remember reading back in the seventies I think it was an article in the NFPA magazine about a fire and a chicken processing plant in South Carolina that caused the death of a good number of people because the owner locked the exit doors to keep theft down. I remember the owner receiving a prison sentence for a good number of years. I seem to remember 15 years.

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Thoughts from a fire official:

Unless the building is a high-rise, we dump the building. That's our term for everyone leaves, with no exceptions. Once a Fire Department receives an alarm signal, legally we assume responsibility for the building. See chapter 1 of NFPA 1 or the IFC. The same applies anytime we are dispatched to any address in our jurisdiction: the scene is ours and we are the final authority.

If the building is a high-rise, we evacuate the floor where the incident occurred, one floor below and one floor above.

If it's a hospital, patients may be moved from one smoke compartment to another. Hospitals have special fire protection issues.

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Maintain a consistent evacuation policy so that there is no hesitation or guess work as to whether or not to evacuate. Fire alarm goes, evacuate.

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

Maintain a consistent evacuation policy so that there is no hesitation or guess work as to whether or not to evacuate. Fire alarm goes, evacuate.

Yes but also get head count or last person of known location. Remember FD first mission is search and rescue then extinguishment of the fire. So if you can tell the FD everyone is out and accounted for they can start getting the fire under control. Depending on the number of firefighters coming to your location this information is a life saver for your staff and firefighters. If you have a volunteer fire department remember from 6am until 6pm the number of firefighters responding will be limited. Do not forget visitors to your facility and who is getting them out....AND including them in the head count.

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

On NFPA 72 a positive alarm procedure allows on certain conditions to prevent automatic alarm. Of course not all facilities have personnel to respond in such way, so not always apply and only if AHJ allows.

RE: Decision to evacuate the workforce in case of fire

We have similar discussion on process plants where you don't really want a single detector tripping and shutting down an entire facility which might cost significant amounts.

Hence the issue about "confirmed fire". Hence two or more detectors of the same type (smoke, heat, IR) or one of each or a report from a person or camera is a confirmed fire. Or a maximum delay of xx seconds from one detector before trip / alarm. One alarm only generates a holding warning such as a verbal PA type "prepare to evacuate" is often seen as a mid point between false alarms creating great disturbance and waiting too long in a real fire.

Each location will be different and have its own sensibilities, such as vulnerable people and the different potential for fire spread or smoke distribution and hence there is no one solution.

Multiple false alarms will just make people ignore them or go very slowly or even worse disable the sensors.

I noticed in my sons student accommodation recently that the kitchens have heat detectors not smoke with a strongly sprung door to the corridors where the smoke detectors are and big notices saying don't prop the door open or you're going to be fined and be unpopular with your neighbours when you burn the toast. They've clearly determined that is the best policy for that sort of location. Some schools only have a warning from a single push button due to the number of false alarms unless a second detector or confirmation.

So is this the case here where different detectors would be better or add a second type of detector to create a confirmed fire.

Difficult decisions need to be made balancing the risks.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Resources

White Paper - Reshoring Prototyping and Production
In this whitepaper, we'll provide insight into why and when it makes sense for U.S. manufacturers to reshore prototyping and production, and how companies can leverage the benefits of working with local design, prototype, and manufacturing partners during the pandemic and beyond. Download Now
Engineering Report - Top 10 Defect Types in Production
This 22-page report from Instrumental identifies the most common production defect types discovered in 2020, showcases trends from 2019 to 2020, and provides insights on how to prevent potential downtime in 2021. Unlike other methods, Instrumental drives correlations between a variety of data sources to help engineers find and fix root causes. Download Now
White Paper - Addressing Tooling and Casting Requirements at the Design Stage
Several of the tooling and casting requirements of a part can be addressed at the design stage. If these requirements are not addressed at the design stage, lot of time is spent in design iteration when the design reaches the die caster. These design issues lead to increase in time and cost of production leading to delay in time to market and reduced profits for the organization. Download Now

Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close