Yesterday was one of the hottest days of the summer, but TA can handle the heat! Thirty-two members of our staff participated in our hands-on fire safety training. Each of us learned a lot, and we're all better prepared to stop a fire before it spreads.
Liesl and Victoria teamed up first and made quick work of the fire simulator. TA keeps a fire extinguisher near each department and each exit door. Liesl is a Hotel Administrator and Victoria is a Territory Support Representative.
Our office fire extinguishers are 4A, which means they hold an equivalent to four gallons of water. These extinguishers can actually be used to fight a fire, but our main goal in a crisis is safe evacuation.
Your fire extinguisher at home is probably a 1A, which is only meant for evacuation purposes. The "1" is equivalent to one gallon of water, and will only last for 7 - 10 seconds. Two of our East Coast Housing Coordinators, Katelin and Emma, understand teamwork and know how to get the job done right the first time.
If you have a 1A fire extinguisher and are in a fire, you should move safely toward the nearest exit and only use the extinguisher if you need it to clear a path to exit the building. Most fire extinguishers are meant for A, B, or C fires. The simulator we used was meant to act like an A, B, or C fire depending on the setting.
Jackie and Patrina are not messing around. They got their fire out quick!
A fires make Ash. Flammables like wood, fabric, or paper leave behind ash and are the most common fuels for fire.
B fires Boil. Flammable liquids burn differently than wood or paper and need to be extinguished differently. B fires will usually last longer and reignite if not watched carefully.
C fires run through an electrical Current. Electrical fires are tricky. To put out an electrical fire you first need to turn off the source of the electricity.
Casper from Accounting was quick on the draw. Our IT Systems Administrator, Paul, participated in the training too, and now TA is getting a dry chemical extinguisher for our server room to avoid leaving behind harmful residue.
There are two other classifications of fires: D and K fires. These are uncommon and require special fire extinguishers. D fire classification is given to flammable metald, and K fire classification is given to industrial kitchen grease fires.
Kendre and Monique already seemed like experts when it was their turn. Kendre is one of our office fire wardens and ensures everyone on staff knows where their nearest fire exit is located, and where each department should meet outside our building if we ever have a fire.
We were all asked what the first thing to do in a fire would be. "Run" and "Put it out" were the most common answers, but our friendly Hotel Coordinator, Kellie, was right when she said "Ring the Alarm!" The most important thing to do in a fire is alert everyone in the building so they can evacuate.
Kellie and America had a lot of fun during the hands on portion of our training.
In corporate settings, many fires are started because flammable material is left near an overburdened electrical outlet. You should never plug one power strip into another. If a cord ever feels hot, it is likely overheated. Make sure you are using outdoor extension cords when outdoors. Unplug electronics when you aren't using them or when you leave work for the day.
Angela and Amanda, two of our West Coast Housing Coordinators, were our last group of the day. If you're unsure if you have the right fire extinguisher, or if you realize the fire has grown beyond the source of the flame, evacuate. Walk safely and swiftly to the exit and continue to walk far away from the burning building. Safety is the key!