Firefighting is urgent and stressful work, and decisions are often made without vital information on the hazards that exist. To better protect emergency responders in these situations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised its manual, Fire Service Features of Buildings and Fire Protection Systems.
The revised manual explains how fire personnel can resolve an incident sooner and in a safer manner if a building design is tailored to meet their needs during an emergency. The manual includes: new chapters on water supply and integrating design elements to protect fire personnel during a building's construction, occupancy and demolition phases; new sections on energy conservation, emergency power, and room and floor numbering; and additional photos to help explain concepts.
The manual is aimed at helping emergency responders during fires and other emergencies such as hazardous material releases, emergency medical care, non-fire rescues and terrorist attacks.
Recently, a Denver firefighter died after falling 25 feet through a skylight. OSHA's manual addresses this and many other types of building-related hazards for emergency responders.
"Structural fires present hazards that can result in serious injury or death for emergency personnel who respond to them," said David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "This revised manual offers practical and relevant information to help emergency responders stay safe while doing their jobs."
OSHA's Fire Safety webpage contains additional training resources on fire hazards in the workplace, planning for workplace emergencies and evacuations, and preventing fire-related injuries.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.