Fires can happen anywhere, any time, for a variety of reasons. But, when a fire occurs in a facility or home where frail, elderly or sick people live, the consequences can be devastating. What should you do if a fire breaks out where you work? First of all...don’t panic! If a fire breaks out, stay calm to set an example for clients—and follow these R.A.C.E. guidelines.
R = Rescue: Move clients who are in immediate danger away from smoke or flames first. Smoke kills, so bend or crawl under it. DON’T BREATHE IT IN!
A = Alarm: Pull the fire alarm. If you are working in a facility, report the fire according to the facility’s policies and procedures. If you are in a client’s home, call 911. When you report the fire make sure you do the following:
C = Confine: Close the doors and windows of client(s) rooms behind you to slow the spread of smoke and flames. Don’t open doors without checking for heat. If the door is hot, it means there is fire on the other side. Opening a hot door can injure you and cause the fire to spread.
E = Extinguish: Fight the fire ONLY if the fire is small and contained (such as a wastebasket or a frying pan) and ONLY if you have been trained to operate a portable fire extinguisher. However, before you begin to fight a small fire, make sure:
If you'd like to know more about fire safety, check out our complete CNA inservice, Fire Prevention & Safety. And, above all, stay safe out there!
Linda Leekley BS, RN