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Prepping the Firefighters
April 3, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Facility executives know to train their occupants on fire safety and evacuation procedures. However, its just as important to make sure the fire department has all the information it needs to fight a fire.
The fire department has a prevention team and a suppression team. The prevention team might sent a representative into your building once or twice a year to conduct life-safety training and enforces codes. The suppression team is the people who show up to fight the actual fire. These two teams might not be communicating as well as they should, leaving the suppression team less familiar with your facility.
Facility executives can take several steps to help inform the fire department. Make sure the suppression team knows who the main fire contact for the building is and where hazardous materials are stored. Provide an aerial shot of your building with access points, water points and major equipment such as HVAC clearly marked. If possible, allow the fire department to drill in your facility at night, so they have first-hand experience with the space.
Some municipalities may already have these systems in place, but if you are unsure as to what your local fire department does or does not know about your facility, reach out and offer whatever information they might need.