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Fire Strangers

Toddlers mispronounce many a word while first developing speech, and larger words like "feridgerator" or "breakfixt" are personal favorites of mine. As well is "fire stranger." This one may not jump out at you, but even though as an adult you can now pronounce "fire extinguisher" the statistics show you still can't use one. They're everywhere right?! As they should be, since international fire statistics show that 95% of all fires are found to be extinguishable if the correct fire extinguisher is applied promptly. Can you imagine the destruction that could be eliminated or at least greatly reduced by these magic tools?

Too bad they don't work.

They don't work for a few reasons - studies show it's typical for:

Less than 50% of building occupants to feel confident in how to operate a fire extinguisher

Less than 25% of people when randomly tested can locate their nearest fire extinguisher from memory without searching the building

Over 50% of the people who operate a fire extinguisher do so incorrectly or dangerously (i.e. not using the correct extinguisher, not sweeping across the fire, not continuing to spray after the fire is out and not aiming at the base of a fire or using the incorrect type of fire extinguisher)

Only 10-15% of people are aware that different types of fire extinguishers must be used on different classes of fire and of the very dangerous effects of using the incorrect fire extinguisher on specific classes of fire

Do you know the acronym PASS?

P - Pull (the pin)

A - Aim (low at the base of the fire. This is the where the fuel source is.)

S - Squeeze (the lever above the handle)

S - Sweep (from side to side)

Quick, right now quiz 3 of your closest coworkers. Do they know what PASS stands for? How about the locations of the closest fire extinguisher?

If you don't go 6 for 6, there's room for improvement. Where do we go from here? Conduct regular fire safety training including the locating and use of fire extinguishers.

Folks this is ONE of MANY components to a proper Emergency Action Plan (EAP). If you don't have one, get one. If you have one, practice it. If you've practiced it, know it! When the time comes that you need to use it, your EAP should require no thinking, just acting.

ASW is strongly committed to a #SafetyFirst culture and work environment. Join us in celebrating National Safety Month!




Australian journal of emergency management 2006 Article ‘Fire safety training: it’s importance in enhancing fire safety knowledge and response to a fire’

Eastern Kentucky University Study 2012, ‘Ordinary people and effective use of fire extinguishers’

2012 University Study - Fire drill: Intentional blindness and amnesia for the location of fire extinguishers, by Alan D. Castel & Michael Vendetti & Keith J. Holyoak

Fire and Safety Australia client and public research 2012-2013

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