What is a RACE fire plan?
RACE is a simple 4-step fire plan that everyone in your team can remember.
Fires create panic and confusion. While your workplace or healthcare team may already be trained in your organisation’s fire plan, parts of it can often be lost in the panic of the moment if a fire emergency really does arise. The RACE acronym simply stands for: Remove, Alarm/Alert, Confine, Extinguish/Evacuate. It is a great tool to use in the case of a fire emergency, as it’s easy to remember, even when panic has taken hold. Here’s a quick guide to the components involved in a RACE fire plan:
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Step 1: Remove
Ensuring that visitors, guests and staff are taken to safety is the most crucial step in any Emergency Evacuation Plan. It should always be the first step because a fire can escalate fast, damaging people and property. While it can be tempting to try and fight the blaze first thing, getting people out should always be the number one priority.
Step 2: Alert/Alarm
- Once people are evacuated from the premises, the next crucial step is to alert external authorities and sound all internal alarms, in line with your organisation’s emergency evacuation plan:
- Contact emergency services on 000
- If you have a manual call point/break glass alarm, or an intercom system you should activate these
Step 3: Confine/Contain
Once you’ve confined people to safety, the next step is to the minimise the damage the impending fire may cause. Fire, smoke, and toxic combustables should be confined to the area of the fire as much as physically possible. Closing doors and windows is a good way to help prevent smoke from spreading, as it cuts off the flow of oxygen to a fire.
Step 4: Extinguish/Evacuate
Does your team know the location of your fire extinguishers? They should be able to find the nearest equipment even if there’s smoke and darkness. In accordance with AS3745, all this information should be found on your building’s evacuation diagrams.
Fire extinguishers contain labels, with the type and class of the extinguisher and its operating instructions. The PASS acronym can help you and your team remember how to use a fire extinguisher:
P – Pull the pin in the nozzle of the extinguisher
A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
S – Squeeze the handle
S – Sweep from side to side, covering the fire
Please note, that while PASS is a helpful acronym to help people remember how to use equipment, it should never replace proper fire equipment training. This training provides a plethora of important information to your team, that they can’t simply figure out on the spot. Plus, this information needs to be drilled in and refreshed regularly for the safest possible results in an emergency.
Here are some useful tips for extinguishing fires:
- Staff should only attempt to extinguish contained fires, not dangerous ones that have already spread out of control
- Staff should only attempt to put out a fire if they have an escape route behind them
- Rescuing and evacuating people in immediate danger, along with sounding the alarm and confining the fire should be a main priority, before attempting to put out the blaze itself
- If a staff member cannot extinguish the fire, they should evacuate immediately, close the area off and wait for the authorities to arrive
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