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Fire continues to be one of the greatest risks we face. There were nearly 4,000 fire-related deaths in the United States in 2003 alone; more people die in fires every year than from all natural disasters combined.
The safety of staff and visitors to Fred Hutch is of paramount importance to everyone. Safety has a direct impact on both the quality and the value of Fred Hutch. Each person and every department is expected to perform work in a safe manner and in compliance with regulatory requirements.
Fred Hutch's Fire and Life Safety Program contains policies and procedures that, when implemented and maintained, prevent loss of life, injury, and property damage, satisfy the fire code and our legal obligations, and help satisfy insurance requirements regarding fire and other related emergencies.
Fred Hutch's Emergency Warden Program plays a vital role in both the Fire and Life Safety and the Emergency Management Programs. The concept of operations provides for each of Fred Hutch's buildings to be assigned a designated building captain; each floor is assigned a floor emergency warden; and on every floor department emergency wardens are assigned. These assigned staff members perform functions in accordance with the Building Emergency Plan.
It is important for your safety to treat every alarm activation as an actual emergency until it is fully investigated and reported to be otherwise.
If a fire alarm is activated in your building:
1. Proceed to the closest available exit. Exit the building as soon as possible. Do not delay. Do not wait for someone to tell you to leave.
2. Do not use elevators. They will not be available in case of a fire emergency.
3. If necessary, cover your mouth and nose with a wet cloth.
crawl low in smoke
4. If you encounter smoke, crawl. Stay low.
5. Use the back of your hand to feel the lower, middle, and upper portions of closed doors for heat. If the door is not hot, brace yourself against the door and open it slowly.
6. Do not open the door if it is hot. Look for another way out.
7. Proceed to your building's primary assembly area.
Each building's emergency plan includes specific building construction details, fire protection features, and information on the proper sequence of operations. The following is general information regarding building construction that applies to all Center buildings. Hutchinson Center buildings are designed, constructed, and maintained in accordance with the Seattle Building Code (SBC) and Seattle Fire Code (SFC). Typical construction materials used in the Center's newer buildings are type-1 fire resistant with fire resistive interior finishes.
All building fire protection and life safety components are inspected, tested, and maintained in accordance with the SFC by Facilities Engineering. Sometimes a life safety system (e.g., a fire alarm, a smoke detector or the communication system) is not 100% functional. If it breaks down unexpectedly, it is considered an emergency impairment. If it is impaired due to a planned, temporary shutdown necessary for inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, or modification, it is considered a pre-planned impairment. All impairments should be prepared for and handled in accordance with the Impairment of Fire Protection and Life Safety Systems policy, which can be found on the Hutchinson Center website.
Fully automatic fire protection sprinkler systems are provided throughout Hutchinson Center buildings as required by the SBC and SFC. Automatic fire sprinklers have been in use in the U.S. since 1874. Fire sprinklers are widely recognized as the single most effective method for fighting the spread of fires in their early stages, before they can cause severe injury to people and damage to property. Sprinkler systems for fire protection consist of overhead pipes fitted with sprinkler heads. Each head is held closed independently by heat-sensitive seals. These seals prevent water flow until a designated temperature is exceeded by the individual sprinkler heads. When heat activates a sprinkler head, water is discharged. A water flow alarm sends a signal to the fire alarm control panel that activates the local evacuation alarm and notifies the fire department.
Automatic smoke detection systems are provided throughout the Center's buildings as required by the SBC and SFC. Detectors consist of photoelectric and ionization type detectors that are connected to a building's fire alarm system. Smoke detectors provide the earliest possible detection of fire. When smoke is detected, the detector sends a signal to the fire alarm control panel that activates the local evacuation alarm and notifies the fire department. Smoke detectors are also used to close fire doors, recall building elevator systems, and secure heat, ventilation, and air condition systems.
Manual fire alarm pull stations are provided throughout the Center's buildings as required by the SBC and SFC. Manual fire alarm pull stations are provided so that staff can manually report a fire emergency and initiate evacuation. Manual fire alarm pull stations are located along the means of egress (i.e., exit routes), at the entrance to exit stairways, and at building exits. When a manual fire alarm pull station is activated by a staff member, the device sends a signal to the fire alarm control panel that activates the local evacuation alarm and notifies the fire department.
Portable fire extinguishers are provided throughout the Center's buildings as required by the SBC and SFC. Five-pound, dry chemical fire extinguishers are generally located in the corridors in extinguisher cabinets. They are rated for fighting fires involving ordinary combustibles, flammable liquids, and fires on energized electrical equipment. The extinguishers have a discharge range of 12-18 feet and discharge within approximately 15 seconds.
To operate a portable fire extinguisher, remember the P-A-S-S acronym and follow these steps:
Portable fire extinguishers should only be operated if:
Exercise good risk management. Remember:
Nothing in the building, except people, is worth risking your life for.
Fire safety is everyone's job. Staff should watch for the following conditions that could start a fire, contribute to the spread of the fire, or impede egress (ability to exit a building) or fire-fighting ingress (ability to enter a building):
Hazardous operations such as hot work must be authorized and conducted in accordance with the Hot Work Fire Safety policy. Hot work is defined as work involving any open-flame or arc-producing device or any activity involving welding, torch cutting, or burning.