Safety

Fire Safety and Prevention 181

This class provides an overview of common workplace fire hazards, safety procedures, and fire safety equipment. Fire hazards are common in many manufacturing workplaces, so fire prevention is a high priority. Employers should prepare detailed fire prevention plans and emergency action plans that describe evacuation and firefighting procedures. Buildings should be equipped with fire safety equipment like fire detectors, employee alert systems, fire suppression systems, and portable fire extinguishers.

After taking this class, users will be familiar with different classes of fires and fire hazards and understand the requirements of fire prevention plans and emergency action plans. They will also be familiar with safe evacuation procedures, portable fire extinguishers, and automatic fire suppression systems.

  • Difficulty Beginner

  • Format Online

  • Number of Lessons 18

  • Language English

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Course Outline
  • The Importance of Fire Safety
  • Classes of Fire
  • Manufacturing Fire Hazards
  • Fire Prevention Plans
  • Review: Fire Hazards and Prevention
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • Emergency Chain of Command
  • Evacuation vs. Firefighting
  • Risk Assessment for Firefighting
  • Emergency Evacuation Routes
  • Evacuation Safety Procedures
  • Review: Emergency Plans and Evacuation
  • Fire Detectors and Alarms
  • Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • Types of Portable Fire Extinguishers
  • Using a Portable Fire Extinguisher
  • Automatic Fire Suppression Systems
  • Review: Fire Safety and Firefighting Equipment
Objectives
  • Describe the main dangers of workplace fires.
  • Distinguish between different classes of fire.
  • Describe common fire hazards in manufacturing workplaces.
  • Describe fire prevention plans.
  • Describe emergency action plans.
  • Describe an emergency chain of command.
  • Describe evacuation and firefighting policies for EAPs.
  • Distinguish between fires that can be fought with a portable fire extinguisher and fires that require immediate evacuation.
  • Describe evacuation routes and floor plans.
  • Describe procedures for safely evacuating during a fire.
  • Describe common types of fire detectors and alarms.
  • Describe portable fire extinguishers.
  • Describe common types of portable fire extinguishers.
  • Explain how to use a portable fire extinguisher.
  • Describe automatic fire suppression systems.
Glossary
Vocabulary Term
Definition

alarm systems

An audible or visual device that signals occupants to danger. Alarm systems imply an emergency procedure should be carried out.

American Red Cross

A national emergency response organization. The American Red Cross aids in the prevention and relief of suffering individuals and communities.

automatic sprinkler system

A network of interconnected piping and sprinklers used for controlling and extinguishing fires. Automatic sprinkler systems include a control valve and a device for actuating an alarm.

auxiliary power supply

An alternative source of energy used to power devices in case of electrical failure. Manual pull box alarms have an auxiliary power supply.

back-up coordinator

The designated employee responsible for carrying out established emergency response procedures when the emergency response coordinator is not present. The internal chain of command is led by the emergency response coordinator and the back-up coordinator.

cardiopulmonary resuscitation

A technique designed to temporarily circulate oxygenated blood through the body of a person whose heart has stopped. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is commonly known as CPR.

chain of command

The sequence of individuals responsible for coordinating the work of an emergency response team. The chain of command usually includes at least a coordinator and a backup coordinator.

Class II systems

A 1.5 inch (3.81 centimeter) diameter hose system which provides a means for the control or extinguishment of incipient stage fires. Any employee can use a Class II system.

Class III systems

A standpipe system that can only be used by employees trained in fighting fires. Class III systems can put out fires somewhat larger than incipient stage.

clean-agent fire extinguishing system

An engineered set of components that work together to detect a fire, alert occupants, and extinguish a fire. Fixed fire extinguishing systems use a gas or chemical extinguishing agent to extinguish fires.

dry chemical extinguishers

A fire extinguisher filled with a flame-retardant powder, which separates fuel from oxygen. Dry chemical extinguishers are used to extinguish flammable liquid (Class B) fires.

extinguishing agent

A material used with fixed, automatic, or portable fire extinguishing systems to suppress or put out fires. Common extinguishing agents include water, air, carbon dioxide, and halon.

fire alarm

An audible or visual device that alerts occupants to a fire emergency. Fire alarms usually signal occupants to evacuate the building.

fire brigade

An internal or industrial fire department consisting of employees trained to fight incipient stage and advanced stage fires. Fire brigades should be re-trained yearly.

fire detector

A device that senses smoke, heat, or flames from a fire. When a fire detector senses a fire, it actuates an audible and/or visual alarm.

fire extinguishing system

A fixed or automatic system used for controlling or putting out fires. Fire extinguishing systems also detect fires and alert occupants.

fire prevention plans

FPP. A plan of proactive procedures implemented to avoid fires in the workplace. FPPs include such things as a list of all major fire hazards and types of fire protection equipment needed to control these hazards.

fixed fire extinguishing systems

Any fire extinguishing system permanently installed in a building. The requirements for a fixed fire extinguishing system should be located in a fire prevention plan.

flame-retardant powder

An extinguishing agent made to resist burning. Flame-retardant powder is used in dry chemical extinguishers.

floor plan

A diagram of a building detailing the location of primary and secondary exits, assembly points, fire extinguishing equipment, and evacuation routes. Floor plans should be posted in highly visible locations in a workplace.

grinding

The use of an abrasive to wear away at the surface of a workpiece and change its shape. Grinding creates sparks, which can be a fire hazard near flammable materials.

Halotron I

A vaporizing, ozone-friendly liquid extinguishing agent. Halotron I requires no clean-up after the fire is out.

manual pull box alarms

A fire alarm system with a pull handle that actuates an audible and visual alarm. Manual pull box alarms have an auxiliary power supply.

mono ammonium phosphate

A non-conductive, mildly corrosive extinguishing agent. Once the fire is out, the area must be thoroughly cleaned to avoid corrosion.

multi-purpose extinguishers

A fire extinguisher used for extinguishing Class A, B, and C fires. Multi-purpose extinguishers contain mono ammonium phosphate or Halotron I as the extinguishing agent.

piping

A network of pipes designed to distribute an extinguishing agent. All fire protection systems have corrosion-resistant piping and fittings suitable for all temperatures.

sheltering in place

Keeping employees inside of a room or building during an emergency. Procedures for sheltering in place should be followed if evacuation is not a safe option.

small hose systems

A system of hose ranging in diameter from 0.625 to 1.5 inches (1.588 to 3.81 centimeters) that is for the use of employees. A small hose system provides a means for the control and extinguishment of incipient stage fires.

sodium bicarbonate

A non-toxic, non-corrosive, non-conductive extinguishing agent. Sodium bicarbonate is a type of flame-retardant powder.

standpipe system

A hose system that discharges the water for use in firefighting. Standpipe systems are rated as Class I, II, or III depending on the diameter of the hose and water flow capacity.

strobe lights

A high intensity flash tube that is ideal for signaling in areas where high ambient light levels make traditional rotating or flashing lights difficult to distinguish. Visual alarms sometimes use strobe lights.

ABC dry chemical extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher that uses a mixture of dry chemicals to deprive fires of oxygen and stop chemical reactions. ABC dry chemical extinguishers, also called multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers, are effective against class A, B, and C fires but ineffective against class D and K fires.

air-pressurized water extinguishers

APWs. A portable fire extinguisher that uses water to cool down burning materials. Air-pressurized water extinguishers are effective against class A fires but ineffective against class B, C, D, and K fires.

ammonia

A colorless, strong-smelling gas. Ammonia is toxic, corrosive, and flammable.

aqueous film-forming foam extinguishers

AFFFs. A portable fire extinguisher that uses foam to cool down burning materials and deprive them of oxygen. Aqueous film-forming foam extinguishers are effective against class A and B fires but ineffective against class C, D, and K fires.

assembly points

A location outside of the workplace where employees should gather after an emergency evacuation. Gathering at assembly points allows emergency coordinators and evacuation wardens to take headcounts, give instructions, and provide first aid in an organized manner.

audible alarms

A device that uses a sound to alert employees to danger. Audible alarms include bells, horns, sirens, and voice announcement systems.

automatic fire suppression systems

A network of devices that detect fires and release extinguishing agents without human intervention. Automatic fire suppression systems use pipes, valves, and nozzles or sprinklers to contain and control extinguishing agents.

automatic sprinkler systems

An automatic fire suppression system that uses water as an extinguishing agent. Automatic sprinkler systems should be connected to both a main water supply and a backup water supply.

carbon dioxide

A colorless, odorless, inert gas used for extinguishing fires. Carbon dioxide works by depriving fires of oxygen.

carbon dioxide extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher that uses carbon dioxide to deprive fires of oxygen. Carbon dioxide extinguishers are effective against class B and C fires but ineffective against class A, D, and K fires.

chemical reaction

A process in which one or more substances are changed into another substance. Chemical reactions change the physical structure of a substance in some way.

Class A fires

A fire fueled by common flammable solid materials such as wood or plastic. Class A fires can be extinguished using water-based, foam-based, and dry chemical fire extinguishers.

Class B fires

A fire fueled by flammable liquids or gases. Class B fires can be extinguished using foam-based, carbon dioxide, and dry chemical fire extinguishers.

Class C fires

A fire fueled by energized electrical equipment. Class C fires can be extinguished using carbon dioxide and dry chemical fire extinguishers.

Class D fires

A fire fueled by combustible metals. Class D fires can be extinguished by specialized dry powder fire extinguishers.

Class K fires

A fire fueled by cooking oils and fats. Class K fires can be extinguished by specialized wet chemical fire extinguishers.

clean agents

A fire extinguishing agent made of chemicals that evaporate without leaving behind any residue. Clean agents are often used in fire suppression systems around critical equipment.

combustible

Capable of igniting and burning. Combustible materials require special storage and labeling.

combustible dust

A substance that consists of fine grains of material that are capable of exploding or catching fire. Combustible dust is generated by many manufacturing processes, including metal cutting and woodworking.

cutting

A machining process that uses a tool to remove metal from a workpiece in the form of chips. Cutting can generate heat and sparks, creating a potential fire hazard.

dry powder extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher that uses specially formulated powders to cool down burning materials and deprive them of oxygen. Dry powder extinguishers are only used for class D fires.

EAP

Emergency action plan. A written document detailing procedures to follow during an emergency. An EAP should include evacuation, critical shutdown, and emergency reporting procedures, as well as instructions for accounting for personnel, performing rescue operations, and providing medical assistance.

electrical circuits

An enclosed path of devices and wires through which an electrical current flows. Electrical circuits can generate heat, sparks, or fire when they are damaged or overloaded.

emergency action plan

EAP. A written document detailing procedures to follow during an emergency. An emergency action plan should include evacuation, critical shutdown, and emergency reporting procedures, as well as instructions for accounting for personnel, performing rescue operations, and providing medical assistance.

emergency response coordinator

The designated employee responsible for directing the emergency procedures outlined in the EAP. The emergency response coordinator leads the internal chain of command during an emergency.

emergency services

An organization that responds to any event that endangers public health or safety. Emergency services usually include firefighters, ambulance services, and police.

employee alarm systems

A device or set of devices that alerts employees to the existence of an emergency. Employee alarm systems should include both audible and visual alarms.

evacuation wardens

An employee designated to help move other employees to safety during an emergency and take headcount. One evacuation warden should be appointed for every 20 employees.

extinguishing agents

A substance used to suppress or put out fires. Common extinguishing agents include water, foam, carbon dioxide, and halon.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

FEMA. A government agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that coordinates response and recovery efforts for serious disasters that overwhelm the abilities of state and local governments. The Federal Emergency Management Agency also provides training and guidelines for emergency preparedness in the home and workplace.

fire blanket

A sheet of fire-retardant material, such as fiberglass or treated wool. Fire blankets can be used to put out small, incipient stage fires by depriving them of oxygen.

fire detection systems

A device or set of devices that monitors an environment for the products of fire. Fire detection systems may include one or more types of fire detectors, such as smoke, heat, and flame detectors.

fire detectors

A device the senses smoke, heat, or flames from a fire. Fire detectors activate employee alarm systems when they sense a fire.

fire drills

An organized rehearsal of the emergency procedures to follow during a fire. Fire drills usually involve practicing emergency evacuation, assembling for headcount, and sometimes using portable fire extinguishers.

fire prevention plan

FPP. A proactive strategy that identifies procedures implemented to avoid fires in the workplace. Fire prevention plans include lists of major fire hazards and fire protection equipment needed to control these hazards.

first aid

Short-term medical treatment that is administered immediately after an injury or health event. First aid, such as bandaging small cuts or treating minor burns, requires little technology or training to administer.

flame detectors

A device that triggers an alarm when it detects the specific types of light emitted by flames. Flame detectors are highly sensitive and accurate.

flammable

Capable of easily and quickly catching fire. Flammable items may ignite at room temperature.

flammable gases

A gas that will burn when mixed with air and provided with an ignition source. Common flammable gases include propane, hydrogen, and ammonia.

flammable liquids

A liquid that will ignite if it reaches its flash point and is provided with an ignition source. Common flammable liquids include gasoline, acetone, and ethanol.

FPP

Fire prevention plan. A proactive strategy that identifies procedures implemented to avoid fires in the workplace. FPPs include lists of major fire hazards and fire protection equipment needed to control these hazards.

fuse

A safety device that opens a circuit when it detects excess current in the circuit. Fuses often have a component that melts and opens the circuit.

halon

A liquefied colorless and odorless or faintly sweet-smelling gas used for extinguishing fires. Halon works by inhibiting the chemical reaction between fuel and oxygen.

hearing protection

A type of personal protective equipment specifically designed to prevent hearing damage. Earplugs and earmuffs are common forms of hearing protection.

heat detectors

A device that triggers an alarm in response to sudden increases in temperature. Heat detectors are less sensitive than smoke detectors but are useful in environments that produce smoke as part of normal operations.

hot work

Any manufacturing process that can create a source of ignition, such as flames, sparks, or excessive heat. Common forms of hot work include welding, brazing, and soldering.

hydrostatic testing

An inspection procedure during which a portable fire extinguisher is partially disassembled and tested for leakage. Hydrostatic testing must be performed every 5 or 12 years depending on the type of extinguisher.

ignition sources

Any process or event capable of causing a fire or explosion. Open flames, sparks, static electricity, and hot surfaces are all possible ignition sources.

incipient stage

The beginning stage of a fire that occurs soon after igniting. Incipient stage fires can often be extinguished or controlled using a portable fire extinguisher.

magnesium

A strong, lightweight, gray-white metal. Magnesium can easily catch fire at room temperature.

mobility aids

Any device used to help a person move around more quickly and easily. Common mobility aids include crutches, canes, and wheelchairs.

multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher that uses a mixture of dry chemicals to deprive fires of oxygen and stop chemical reactions. Multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers, also called ABC dry chemical extinguishers, are effective against class A, B, and C fires but ineffective against class D and K fires.

National Fire Protection Association

NFPA. A non-profit organization devoted to eliminating deaths, injuries, and damages caused by fires. The National Fire Protection Association publishes standards for workplace fire safety and firefighting equipment.

National Incident Management System

NIMS. A standardized emergency prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery strategy published by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The National Incident Management System provides a common framework to help workplaces develop their own individualized emergency prevention and response plans.

natural disasters

An environmental event that causes a great deal of danger, loss of life, or damage to property. Natural disasters include events such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

NFPA

National Fire Protection Association. A non-profit organization devoted to eliminating deaths, injuries, and damages caused by fires. The NFPA publishes standards for workplace fire safety and firefighting equipment.

NIMS

National Incident Management System. A standardized emergency prevention, mitigation, response, and recovery strategy published by the United States Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). NIMS provides a common framework to help workplaces develop their own individualized emergency prevention and response plans.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

OSHA. A government agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that sets the standards for safe working conditions in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates fire safety and prevention in the workplace.

oily waste cans

A container used for disposing of rags soaked in flammable and combustible liquids. Oily waste cans feature self-closing lids.

organic peroxides

A type of chemical that is both an oxidizer and fuel, making it capable of generating heat, catching fire, or spontaneously combusting. Organic peroxides must be stored and handled very carefully.

OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A government agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that sets the standards for safe working conditions in the United States. OSHA regulates fire safety and prevention in the workplace.

oxidizers

A chemical that may trigger or promote flammability in another substance. Common oxidizers include hydrogen peroxide, nitrates, and nitric acid.

oxygen

A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that naturally exists in the atmosphere. Oxygen is required for fires to burn.

P.A.S.S. technique

The procedure for operating a portable fire extinguisher. The P.A.S.S. technique involves pulling the safety pin, aiming the nozzle, squeezing the handle, and sweeping the nozzle across the fire.

personal protective equipment

PPE. Any piece of clothing or device used to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injuries. Personal protective equipment may include safety glasses, hard hats, and steel-toed shoes.

pictogram

An illustration of a concept that is intended to be understood even if the viewer cannot read. Pictograms are used to indicate the classes of fire that can be extinguished by portable fire extinguishers.

portable fire extinguishers

A tank of extinguishing agent that sprays out of a hose, horn, or nozzle when a lever is squeezed. Portable fire extinguishers should be visually inspected once a month, given a full inspection once a year, and hydrostatically tested every 5 or 12 years.

PPE

Personal protective equipment. Any piece of clothing or device used to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injuries. PPE may include safety glasses, hard hats, and steel-toed shoes.

pressure gauge

An instrument that measures and displays the pressure of liquid or gas within a vessel or system. Pressure gauges usually have a dial display.

pressure vessel

A container designed to hold liquids or gases at high pressures. A cylindrical pressure vessel makes up the main body of a portable fire extinguisher.

primary emergency exits

An exit that is safest to use during an emergency. Primary emergency exits should be located away from potentially dangerous areas or obstructions.

propellant

A pressurized gas used to force the extinguishing agent out of a portable fire extinguisher. The propellant is contained in a cartridge that is pierced when the lever is squeezed.

pyrophoric

Capable of igniting or exploding spontaneously. Pyrophoric materials often ignite when exposed to air or water.

respiratory

Concerning the organs involved in breathing air. Respiratory organs include the nose, larynx, and lungs.

risk assessment

The identification and evaluation of factors that may cause danger to employees. Risk assessments may be formal documented processes or informal processes used to quickly assess danger in an emergency.

safeguards

A device or procedure used to prevent injury or harm. Safeguards include mechanical devices, such as enclosures, and procedural steps, such as cleaning up flammable waste materials.

safety data sheet

SDS. A document that describes safety information about a chemical, such as the risks, precautions, and first aid procedures associated with the chemical. A safety data sheet must accompany almost every chemical in the workplace, including flammable and combustible liquids.

safety pin

A small piece of metal or plastic that prevents the accidental activation of a device. The safety pin on a portable fire extinguisher must be pulled before the extinguisher can be used.

secondary emergency exits

An alternate exit to use if primary emergency exits are inaccessible during an emergency. Secondary emergency exits should be located far away from primary emergency exits so that it is unlikely or impossible for both to be blocked at once.

self-reactive

Likely to catch fire or explode spontaneously or when exposed to water. Self-reactive materials include nitroglycerin, halogens, and white phosphorous.

smoke detectors

A device that triggers an alarm when it senses smoke. Smoke detectors can detect smoke particles in the air before the smoke becomes visible to the human eye.

smoke inhalation

The breathing of very hot, harmful fumes produced by burning materials. Smoke inhalation can cause serious injuries to the face and respiratory organs, including the nose, larynx, and lungs.

sodium

A common element in the alkali metal group. Pure sodium is highly reactive and flammable at room temperatures.

solvents

A chemical substance used to dissolve another material. Many solvents are highly flammable.

spontaneously combust

To burst into flame without being exposed to a fire. Many chemicals have the potential to spontaneously combust.

sprinkler heads

The component in a fire suppression system that discharges water when a fire has been detected. Sprinkler heads are usually located on or near the ceiling.

standpipe systems

A hose system that discharges water for use in firefighting. Standpipe systems are rated as Class I, II, or III depending on the diameter of the hose and water flow capacity.

stop, drop, and roll

A fire safety technique used when clothing, hair, or anything attached to the body catches fire. Stop, drop, and roll involves dropping to the ground and rolling back and forth to extinguish the flames.

structural fires

A fire that burns a residential, commercial, or industrial building. Structural fires can generate temperatures of up to 1,500° Fahrenheit (816° Celsius).

tactile alarms

A device that uses touch to alert employees to danger. Tactile alarms include devices that shake or vibrate seats or equipment.

thermal burns

An injury caused by contact with fire, heated objects, or hot liquids or gases. Thermal burns can range from minor first-degree burns to potentially fatal fourth-degree burns.

titanium

A strong but lightweight metal. Powdered titanium is flammable and potentially explosive.

toxic

Poisonous or harmful. Toxic substances may be released into the air as smoke or fumes during a fire.

visual alarms

A device that uses lights to alert employees to danger. Visual alarms use steady, flashing, or strobe lights.

welding

A joining process that uses heat, pressure, or a combination of both to fuse two materials together permanently. Welding presents a serious potential fire hazard.

wet chemical extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher that uses a wet mist of chemicals to cool down burning materials, deprive them of oxygen, and stop chemical reactions. Wet chemical extinguishers are specially designed to be used against class K fires.

wheelchair-accessible exits

An exit that can be used easily and conveniently by a person using a wheelchair or other mobility aids. Wheelchair-accessible exits should be labeled on floor plans.