What Should I Do When the Fire Alarm Sounds?
By Douglas Krantz
When the alarm sounds
, as caretaker for an apartment building, what should you be doing? "I would never suggest turning off the fire alarms, or in any way delay calling the fire department." So says Brad Sveum, fire marshal for the City of Richfield.
Let the Sound of the Alarm Continue
The sound of the alarm
is there to tell people there could be a fire. When the sound stops, people might think that everything is all right, and they can now go back to what they were doing.
If there is a problem, you don't want to tell people that nothing is going on, so, to warn everyone, let the alarms continue to sound.
Call the fire department
Instead of turning off the sound of the alarm, call the fire department. The fire alarm system may automatically call, but Sveum says you should "never assume the system is going to call the fire department
He even goes on to say, "I'd rather get a call from someone on the premise saying 'the alarms are going off and I don't see or smell anything
,' or 'the alarms are going off and the hallways are filled with smoke.' A little added information doesn't hurt." As a matter of fact, he says "If we get two to three calls on it (the fire), that's fine."
What should I do when the alarm sounds? When the alarm system is sounding throughout the building, just allow the sound of the fire alarm to tell everyone to take action. Once you've called the fire department you will know the firemen are on their way.
Get Out of the Building
The company you're working for may have a written policy telling you, as their employee, that you need to do something else when the alarms sound. But without that written policy, and once you've called the fire department, all you need to do is get out of the building with everyone else.
Based on his electronics training, and his understanding of Life Safety, Douglas Krantz has compiled his knowledge of Conventional Fire Alarm Systems into the book Make It Work - Conventional Fire Alarms
. The book covers the basics of the Conventional Fire Alarm System, and shows how Life Safety and internal supervision affects the fire alarm system.
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