Fire safety in the workplace depends on you Published Sept. 16, 2007 By Staff Sgt. Blaine Holland Fire prevention office ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- In a series of articles building up to Fire Prevention Week, we are focusing on fire safety in all aspects of our lives. Fire prevention in the workplace is a responsibility that we all share, not only to protect property, but also the people throughout Andersen. The latest nationwide studies say carelessness and complacency contribute greatly to the annual workplace fire toll of 200 deaths, 5,000 injuries and $2.3 billion in property damage. It is imperative that we not only concern ourselves with fire safety in our own workplace but also the occupancies we visit. The biggest concern in a facility fire is life safety; so by knowing where the exits are located and that they are properly identified and operational, we will save lives. Ask yourself, "Where would I go right now if I had to get out immediately?" An important tool for fire safety in the workplace is a fire reaction and evacuation plan. This plan identifies where to exit the facility and identifies where to assemble for accountability outside, which is vital in assisting emergency responders. This evacuation plan can be located in high-traffic areas for customers and employees to use for quick reference. Everyone should be trained on the operation of portable fire extinguishers. The P.A.S.S. acronym for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep is an easy way to remember the steps to use an extinguisher. Always keep the exit to your back when using an extinguisher to fight fire; it will provide a safe place to retreat. If a fire breaks out at your workplace, make sure people in the facility are aware by pulling the fire alarm pull box. Then, call 911 to ensure the fire department is responding; also state that you are on Andersen so your call is forwarded to the correct dispatch center. Some key fire safety tips for the office or workplace include not overloading electrical outlets, keeping exit pathways and doors free from obstructions, ensuring excess cardboard and trash is taken out, flammable liquids are stored in proper storage lockers and emergency lighting, if equipped, is functional. The loss of life and property is something we all want to avoid, and by taking the time to think about fire safety in the workplace, you can save your own life and the lives of people around you.