How To Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers:  For Daycare Providers

How To Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers: For Daycare Providers

Millions of Children in Day Care Facilities

Every week in the United States, over 11 million children younger than age five are in some type of childcare arrangement. On average, these children spend 36 hours a week in childcare. It’s their second home, so it must be protected from all harm, which includes fires. No matter the number of children and sites, daycares must meet minimum safety requirements as mandated by the NFPA code and state laws . Among them, fire extinguishers are required for ALL daycares.

Here are some interesting facts from the U.S. Fire Administration:
• Fires in daycares and preschools are predominantly due to cooking (73 percent), followed by heating (six percent) and electrical malfunction (five percent).
• Seventy-five percent of fires are limited to the object of origin; 18 percent limited to the room of origin; just eight percent go beyond the room of origin.

Fire extinguishers are a basic fire safety tool, yet they go a long way to prevent greater loss if a fire does occur. Let’s put those stats into real-life scenarios: An extinguisher puts out a fire on a kitchen stove before it spreads beyond the stove and stops a fire from spreading beyond the kitchen.

Accessibility to a fire extinguisher is obviously key to limiting the scale of a fire. They should be mounted and located in conspicuous locations where they are immediately available for use. Safety codes require at least one portable fire extinguisher within 75 feet of occupied areas, plus in laundry rooms, boiler and furnace rooms, mechanical and electrical rooms, garages, kitchens, janitor closets, trash collection rooms, storage rooms and similar areas. It seems obvious, but you should never need to travel to another floor to get an extinguisher!

It All Starts with Online Training

Fire extinguisher requirements mean nothing if no one knows how to properly and effectively use one. Did you know that OSHA requires fire extinguisher training for all employees at least once a year? Yet, coordinating training annually for your entire workforce can be a difficult balancing act due to:
• New hires
• Staffing changes and promotions
• Changing employee roles
• Young people entering the work force for the first time
• Company expansion (new locations, new facilities)
• Multiple Locations.

Proper training needs to be more than a five-minute demonstration by a skilled (or heaven forbid an unskilled) trainer. Not everyone is mechanically minded so training needs to take a hospitable straightforward approach. Employers need to consider the number of people who need training, properly using group training time, and the expense of in-person training.

Life Safety — Made Simple:  Online Academy Coming Soon

If it sounds like coordinating in-person onsite affordable, effective and consistent training across all locations and roles is difficult, if not impossible, that’s because it is. The solution is online training. Brothers Fire & Security offers a new online academy, “Life Safety Made Simple,” which makes it makes it easy and convenient to ensure that every member of your staff knows how to use fire extinguishers. “How to Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers” saves money and stress and can take place whenever your workforce changes. You can incorporate the training into onboarding processes and promotions and when new facilities open. The online course meets OSHA compliance requirements for all staff without travel expenses, which lowers training costs and increases successful compliance.

If you’re wondering if an online course is as comprehensive and effective as onsite training, I can answer with a resounding YES. Your employees will learn:
• Different types of fires and what extinguishers to use
• The correct way to use different types of fire extinguishers
• The Fire Triangle, how it works and what to do
• Firefighting concepts of R.A.C.E (Rescue, Alarm, Confine, Extinguish) and P.A.S.S. (Pull the pin, Aim at base of fire, Squeeze handle, and Sweep side to side)
• Life-saving steps to take when there’s a fire

At the end of the course, each attendee who successfully passes the interactive testing will receive a Certificate of Completion.

To ensure the safety of your staff, children and property, I encourage daycares of all sizes and facilities to consider “How to Effectively Use Fire Extinguishers.” Knowing how to use this first line of defense in fire safety could save lives.

ABOUT BROTHERS FIRE & SECURITY

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods. And coming soon, our new Online Academy: Life Safety — Made Simple with eLearning courses designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and your business fire and security code compliant.

Announcing: Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy

Announcing: Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy

Changing with the Times

One thing I’ve learned in the 25 years since our business was launched is that I am always learning and at times need a good refresher course to keep my skills sharp. There have been countless changes, advances and innovations in fire and security technology since 1994—at lightning speed in recent years—and I’ve made myself stay on top of things. I’ve made sure Brothers Fire & Security stays on top of things too.

It’s absolutely without a doubt necessary for businesses to change with the times. As that wise old philosopher Socrates said, “The secret of change is to focus not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” (The old man sure was a shrewd businessman for 400 B.C.)

Building the new is just what Brothers Fire & Security is doing. How are we doing it? We’ve embraced eLearning.

With over 6,000 clients, we are always asked if we can offer training in a wide variety of areas. One of the challenges our clients face is how to keep their staff trained on fire and security issues and how to be ready to handle any emergency or react to ever evolving threats. We have always provided one-on-one training, but we realized that we can help more clients if we build an online training platform.

Build It and They Will Come

Part of our 2020 strategic vision is to launch the Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy. Our goal is to build a training platform for our clients that’s specifically focused on life safety issues. Through our online courses you will have the convenience of providing training and certifying staff based on your needs when you need it. You can integrate fire and safety training with onboarding new hires, promotions and staff changes. The Academy offers single purchase, volume discounts and annual certifications for employee records. Our research shows clearly that the more employees are engaged and familiar with emergency situations the more apt they are to take positive action.

Courses going online soon include:

  • How to Use a Fire Extinguisher (for different industries)
  • Know Your Equipment and Emergency Planning
  • How to Build an Effective Safety Plan
  • Training Your Effective Safety Plan
  • How to Manage Card Access

Course Curriculum Categories and Options

For an example of our training, let’s take a look at the eLearning course on fire extinguisher use. A basic tool in a fire emergency, extinguishers can prevent major catastrophes, but only if you know how to operate one correctly. The course will teach:

  • Fire myths and realities
  • The Fire Triangle and how fire works
  • How to become an informed fire extinguisher user
  • Parts of the fire extinguisher and what they are used for
  • The right and wrong way to use a fire extinguisher
  • Types of fires and which fire extinguishers to use effectively
  • Basic firefighting concepts of P.A.S.S. (pull, aim, squeeze, sweep) and Stop, Drop and Roll
  • Life-saving steps to take if there’s a fire

You’ll get a handsome certificate of completion at the end of each course. Don’t be modest about these accomplishments—show them off! Prominently display the certificates in your business for employees, potential employees, vendors and clients to see. The certificates will give everyone confidence that you are on top of fire and security issues. I’d call it the Wall of Excellence in Life Safety Education.

The Life Safety Made Simple Online Academy is another value-added way that Brothers Fire & Security can ensure the safety of your business and its people. As your partner, we want to make it easier for you to keep your staff trained. Let us take care of the training so you can take care of your business.

To learn more about the Academy, call 800-607-2767.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods. And coming soon, our new Online Academy: Life Safety — Made Simple. Discover eLearning courses designed to help you get and keep your staff trained and your business fire and security code compliant.

 

Drake Hotel: A Cautionary Tale Becomes Harsh Reality

Drake Hotel: A Cautionary Tale Becomes Harsh Reality

In the News

It’s a heart-breaking story that made national headlines and makes me relive a personal tragedy from my childhood.

A fire breaks out at 3 a.m. Christmas Day in Francis Drake Hotel, a 146-room three-story former luxury hotel in downtown Minneapolis being used for temporary housing for the homeless. Within minutes the fire grew, the building was evacuated, and fire crews began their marathon battle against the fire that lasted more than 30 hours.

Quick lifesaving and neighbor-helping-neighbor action prevented deaths, although three people were hospitalized. Over 250 people were displaced; 100 of them children. It hits home with me because way back when I was 13, I lost my best friend to a Christmas day fire caused by the tree catching on fire resulting in the loss of the home and their lives.

The cause of the fire remains undetermined. Fire investigators said the fire started in one unit, but they could not identify a specific cause because damage was too extensive. The roof and third floor of one wing collapsed. The weight of that debris and the water sprayed on the blaze by fire crews put tremendous pressure on the second floor. As a result, the entire building had to be demolished.

The age of the building, built in 1926, had no sprinkler system. The fire caused far more damage than it would have if sprinklers were in place. There were fire extinguishers, but were residents trained to use them?

The case will be studied for years as housing and construction codes, and fire safety and prevention are evaluated. The human factor places even more urgency on the case.

Lessons Learned

The rationale “It will never happen to me” is classic denial and not an effective fire and loss prevention or risk management strategy in multi-family housing. Instead, we must learn from fires to save lives, time, money, stress, and less disruptions to residents. Most of the lessons we learn from the Drake Hotel fire focus on sprinkler systems.

  • While older multi-family buildings might not require that sprinklers be installed, it’s smart for commercial property owners to consider installing them to prevent more damage and expense if a fire does occur.
  • Up-to-date sprinkler systems are the most cost-effective way to protect your business and your residents. It’s often more costly to replace parts and rebuild sections of buildings than to install sprinkler systems.
  • Damage from fires can be made even worse by the efforts of fire departments to put out fires. Sprinklers prevent most of this additional damage.
  • Training programs to teach residents how to use fire extinguishers are crucial since this basic tool is the first line of defense in a fire.

A last word on fire safety: According to the National Fire Protection Association, smoke is the #1 cause of loss of life in a fire—accounting for up to 80 percent of fire deaths. It’s a sobering statistic and should be a vital motivator when planning fire prevention strategy.

I encourage owners and property managers of older multi-family housing to contact Brothers Fire & Security about the feasibility of installing or updating sprinkler systems. We’ll evaluate your building and develop a plan to help ensure your property won’t end up as a cautionary tale that became harsh reality.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.

Senior Living: Have Fire Extinguisher, Will Travel

Senior Living: Have Fire Extinguisher, Will Travel

Changing Senior Living Needs and Options

It’s inevitable that you or someone you love will move into an independent or assisted living community, rehabilitation or memory care facility. Over 1.3 million people move into nursing homes and 713,000 currently move into residential care communities each year, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance. The American Senior Communities advocacy group says that while 76 percent of residents in assisted living communities moved there from their own home, apartment or a family residence, some seniors move after an unexpected hospital stay or rehab—meaning the family may not be adequately prepared for the move.

Whether planned or unplanned, moving to a senior facility is a major lifestyle change—often distressing—for the entire family. It takes the senior time to adjust to their new home and routines. Family makes the transition easier when they help research senior communities, put the house up for sale, and direct the actual move.

While senior living facilities provide excellent care and pleasant home-like environments, the apartment may be lacking one life-saving piece of equipment: a fire extinguisher. Did you know that fire extinguishers are NOT required by law in the residential units of a senior living facility? Hallways and common areas, yes. Some communities do include fire extinguishers in the residents units, and I applaud them for taking this essential initiative.

Let’s Talk About Fire Extinguishers

This story really happened! A senior woman was feeling cold in the middle of January in her new senior apartment and wanted a warm blanket. She decided to heat up a blanket in the microwave. The blanket had metallic threads in it, but she didn’t know that metal can’t be put in a microwave. The microwave caught fire and there was no fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Even if there had been one, she was not trained to use an extinguisher. Fortunately, the fire alarm went off and sprinklers were triggered. There was no loss of life, but there was extensive damage to several units.

Her story is not uncommon. The National Fire and Protection Association reports an estimated yearly average of 1,830 structure fires in senior living communities. Cooking equipment was involved in 83 percent of the fires and the peak time was between 4 and 6 p.m.—mealtime.

That’s why the family must step in to make sure there’s a fire extinguisher mounted in the kitchen near the stove and the microwave. The perfect choice is a small fire extinguisher. It weighs less than three pounds, is easy to use, just as effective, and conveniently fits in small spaces, such as apartments. Operation is simple; it’s perfect for those who aren’t tech-savvy. I like to give these small fire extinguishers as gifts to friends and family, so include a small fire extinguisher as a house-warming gift.

But there’s more to having the right fire extinguisher in the right place for the right situation. Most seniors don’t know HOW to use the extinguisher. Knowing how to correctly use it in an emergency can save lives.

To help the family and their senior learn how to operate an extinguisher, Brothers Fire & Security has developed the online course, “Fire Extinguisher Training for Family with Seniors.” It teaches the entire family—even the kiddos—how to use a fire extinguisher. I encourage you to make this course a family event. What better way to empower your senior loved one, give them confidence in moving into their new home, and give you peace of mind knowing they’ll be prepared if something happens!

A Fire Prevention “State of Mind”

Most seniors will move from one phase of care to another: independent living, rehab after being hospitalized, assisted living, long-term care, sometimes memory care. When you pack the suitcases and boxes for a move, bring along the fire extinguisher, make sure it’s operational, even test it if necessary.

I call it the “Have fire extinguisher, will travel” philosophy, and it should become a mindset. Just like you take special effort to pack your mother’s favorite family photos for display on her bookshelf, pack her fire extinguisher and place it conveniently in her kitchen.

A Final Word on Senior Living Security

Just a quick mention of another issue to consider in senior living. Security needs to be at the top of your list of research questions, including:

  1. What building access equipment does the facility have and how much security can your senior physically and cognitively handle (keys, keypads, doors, codes, etc.)?
  2. What does the company provide for security monitoring services (24/7 coverage inside and outside, security guards, visitor access, data storage)?
  3. Are all the required safety and security inspections up-to-date and coordinated for all fire and security systems and equipment?
  4. Is there a current evacuation plan in place?

A high-quality senior living community is happy to answer these questions and has rock-solid answers, so don’t hesitate to ask. If there’s hesitation or the answers aren’t good enough, cross the facility off your list and move on—literally!

While moving into senior housing is life-changing, challenging and even upsetting, I hope this advice will help the entire family through the process to find the perfect, safe and secure home for your senior loved one.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.

Top Five Safety and Security Questions To Ask When Researching Senior Living Options

Top Five Safety and Security Questions To Ask When Researching Senior Living Options

Happy New Year!

The impact the Baby Boomer generation has on senior living cannot be underestimated, and the numbers prove it.

  • The Population Reference Bureau says seniors over the age of 64 compose 16 percent—52 million—of the current population.
  • The number of households with people age 80 and over jumped 71 percent from 4.4 million in 1990 to 7.5 million in 2016, according to Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.
  • There are approximately 23,500 professionally managed senior housing and nursing care communities in the U.S., representing 3.04 million professionally managed units/beds, CBRE National Senior Housing reports.

We are all facing these facts—and statistics—of life. Whether you’re a 65+ new retiree couple wanting to downsize, or an adult child looking into assisted living for your parents, finding the right place takes careful consideration. Do your research. Check online reviews. Take tours of facilities. Ask the right questions. Get accurate answers.

What’s Next? with Diana Pierce

Many thanks to Diana Pierce for recently discussing the following important fire and security questions that every family needs to know when considering senior living options. CLICK HERE to view the show that aired on December 5th, 2019.

Ensuring Safety and Security

Among the key senior living issues that must be addressed are safety and security. To guide you through the search process, I developed the Top Five Safety and Security Questions to ask when looking for a new place to call home for those entering this next stage of life.

  1. Building Access: Keep Your Senior’s Capabilities in Mind – What access equipment does the facility have and how much security can your senior physically handle? (keys, keypads, doors, etc.)
  2. Personal Safety: Security Monitoring – What does the company provide for security monitoring services?
    • 24/7 coverage inside and outside
    • Full-time security guards for emergencies
    • Visitor access
    • Data storage
  3. Where are the fire extinguishers located and who has been trained to operate them?
    • Extinguishers are right for the space
    • Staff is trained in how to use equipment and reset monitoring equipment
    • Kitchen hoods are cleaned regularly
    • There’s a no smoking policy
  4. Annual Inspections and Equipment Servicing – Are all the required safety and security inspections up-to-date and coordinated for all fire and security systems and equipment?
    • When the last inspection was done
    • Issues were resolved
    • Annual inspections are provided
    • Inspections and servicing are compliant with state code
  5. Evacuation Plan: Saving Lives and Emergency Preparedness – Is there a current evacuation plan in place?
    • Who activates the plan in an emergency and who’s in charge
    • How often the staff is trained
    • There are alerts for severe weather, power outages, gas leaks, medical emergency, and intruders
    • Back-up generators

Having answers to important safety and security questions like these will lead you to the senior living experience that’s right for you and your family, supports your decision- making process, and brings you peace of mind. At Brothers Fire & Security we know all about the unique safety issues and needs of senior living, so give us a call. We can help you navigate this journey to find your loved ones’ Home Sweet Home.

About Brothers Fire & Security

As one of the premier providers of fire and security solutions in the Upper Midwest, Brothers Fire & Security strives to build long-term, value-added relationships. We work with business owners and property management companies, as well as all types of public institutions to solve fire and security needs. By taking advantage of our integrated bundled services, many of our clients find that they can save 25-30% on their safety services, annual inspections and more. From a single location to franchises throughout the region and the country, our integrated approach saves our clients valuable time, money and stress. We provide fire protection systems, security systems, fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, 24-7 monitoring, fire extinguishers, card access and kitchen hoods.