If there is a fire in the building where you are now going through this training program, what would you do? The right course of action is for you to act quickly and R.A.C.E. to respond to the fire.
The R.A.C.E. response for the direct care staff person is to:
- Remove any clients or other persons near the fire.
- Activate the alarm to notify others that there is a fire.
- Confine the fire by closing doors as you exit the room.
- Exit. All clients in the home must quickly evacuate outside the building (or in some homes, to a fire safe area inside the home).
All personal homes are required to have operable smoke detectors or fire alarms to alert you of fires. Some homes may have sprinkler systems. Knowing where this equipment is located is necessary in the event you need to activate an alarm. Look for detectors in the hallways and outside the bedroom doors. You will also want to learn if there are any clients with hearing impairments who are dependent on signaling devices like vibrating beds or strobe lights to warn them of emergencies.
How do you use a fire extinguisher?
It is important for you to learn the location of the extinguishers, and how to unlock and use them. Newer fire extinguishers use the picture/labeling system to designate which types of fires they are to be used on. Older fire extinguishers used the label with colored geometrical shapes with letter designations.
Think of the word PASS to learn to use a fire extinguisher:
P – Pull the metal pin on the upper handle.
A – Aim at the base, or the bottom, of the fire or flame.
S – Squeeze the handle while holding the extinguisher up straight.
S – Sweep from side to side while still aiming at the base.
A direct care staff person should not use a fire extinguisher to fight a fire. It should be used only to clear an exit path or put out a fire on a person.
How do you plan for a fire emergency?
The best way is to prepare yourself and the clients for an emergency before it happens. How do I assess the care recipients’ home for fire safety? Some of the things you should be aware of when assessing a home for fire safety include:
- Are there smoke detectors and are they working? The batteries should be checked periodically.
- Install a fire extinguisher if there isn’t. Check them periodically according to the manufacturer’s directions.
- Check electrical cords for fraying or for broken prongs. Also, be sure there aren’t too many cords plugged in to one outlet. Some appliances should be unplugged when they are not in use.
- Have an emergency plan for how to exit the home in an emergency. Decide on a meeting place outside in case a fire does occur. Also, plan an alternate exit route.
- Use common sense when cooking. Never leave cooking unattended on the stove. Don’t wear loose-fitting sleeves when working around the stove. Turn off the burners and oven when you are done using them. Turn handles toward the back of the stove when cooking.
- Encourage appropriate smoking habits. Never smoke in bed. Smoking should NEVER be allowed around oxygen. Make sure the care recipient uses acceptable ashtrays, preferably with notches on the side to hold cigarettes. Ensure ashtray contents are disposed of properly.
- Remembers the STOP, DROP, and ROLL rule. (If clothing catches on fire, stop immediately, drop to the ground, and roll to smother flames).
- Check the home for hazards such as: excess papers or rags; improperly stored cleaning products, paint, and chemicals; faulty space heaters or heating pads.
Whenever you observe any safety hazard, follow the agency policy for reporting it. Every personal home apartment has a fire evacuation plan. Here are some other things you will need to know to help yourself and the residents move quickly to safety:
- How to contact local fire and emergency services.
- The location of the exits – there are at least two independent and accessible exits on every floor.
- The location of the escape routes and how to evacuate the home. These routes must be unlocked and clear at all times.
- How to assist clients with mobility needs during an evacuation.