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Fire Safety: Emergency Tests Planning


By Dan Hounsell Fire Safety/Protection
Firefighters hose spray

The threat of fire is a real threat to many institutional and commercial facilities. No matter the building type, age or location, fire can strike unexpectedly, and when it does maintenance and engineering managers and other facility officials must hope their emergency planning efforts will pay off in terms of protecting occupants, visitors and facilities themselves.

Facility officials at a Pennsylvania nursing home recently faced just such a test. At least 20 people were taken to hospitals as a massive fire ripped through a senior living community in West Chester, Pa., according to an article on CBS Philadelphia. Dozens more, many of whom were unable to walk, were forced into the cold night air.

Click here to learn more about accessibility and ADA considerations in planning for evacuations.

The fire was reported around 11 p.m. at Barclay Friends Senior Living Community, about 35 miles west of Philadelphia. The fire quickly spread to multiple buildings and flames could be seen shooting from the roofs and windows of the structures, forcing residents to evacuate.

News helicopter video shows dozens of residents lining up along the street, wrapped in blankets. Many were in wheelchairs or in beds on wheels. A spokesperson for the community, Faith Woodward, said it was about 40 degrees outdoors at the time.

Residents who weren't taken to hospitals were brought to various facilities in the area, CBS Philadelphia says.

Click here to learn more about working with occupants in planning for evacuations.

One hundred forty people live in the community. All were evacuated and, as far as she knew, accounted for. It was unclear what sparked the fire. Residents reported a loud pop just before it began.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com.

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