R.A.C.E Fire Safety
This article will enlighten you on what R.A.C.E mean in fire safety.
R.A.C.E is a part of “The Fire Response Plan”. It is adopted to ensure the safety of patients, visitors, employees, staff, and other occupants of the building in a fire situation and also prevent and/or minimize property loss.
It is an acronym that hospital personnel use mostly to remember their duties in case of fire.
The health facility like any other facility is not exonerated from fire incidents, that is why a concrete fire emergency plan must be in place to fight fire or reduce it effects.
The acronym is represented thus:
- R – RESCUE/REMOVE: Remove everyone from the area. If a fire occurred in a patient room, the staff should immediately remove the patient from the area.
- A – ALARM/ALERT: Pull the nearest alarm and/or call emergency numbers.
- C – CONFINE/CONTAIN: If practicable, close all doors and windows to contain the fire (only if it safe to do so).
- E – EXTINGUISH/EVACUATE: Try to extinguish the fire using appropriate firefighting equipment only if you are trained and it is safe to do so.
Let us discuss the acronym more in-depth:
(R) Rescue – Remove residents and individuals in danger of immediate harm by assisting them from the room and closing the door. Rescuing residents is every healthcare worker’s primary concern, and it is always the first step because a fire can quickly escalate with lethal results. Elderly people are especially susceptible to smoke inhalation, which is the primary killer in a fire.
(A) Alert/Alarm – Whoever discovers the fire should call out to a co-worker to call the emergency number and activate the fire call box/pull station while rescuing the resident.
Facilities with intercom systems can utilize their facility’s code words, such as “Code Red.”
(C) Confine/Contain – Fire, smoke, and toxic combustion products must be confined to the area where the fire started as much as possible. Closing doors and windows can prevent the smoke from spreading, cut off the flow of oxygen to the fire, and save lives. Staff should never open a door if it is hot to the touch.
(E) Extinguish/Evacuate – Staff should know the location of the fire extinguishers and be able to find them even if the lights are out and there’s a lot of smoke.
Fortunately, all fire extinguishers operate in the same way, which can easily be remembered with another acronym:
P.A.S.S., which stands for:
P – Pull the pin in the nozzle of the extinguisher;
A – Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire;
S – Squeeze the handle; and
S – Sweep from side to side, covering the fire.
Staff should attempt to extinguish only small, contained fires (no larger than a waste basket) where their safety is assured, they have an escape route behind them, and other staff members are available to assist. The rescuing of those in immediate danger, sounding the alarm, and confining fire and smoke should be concurrently accomplished by sufficient numbers of other staff members. If the fire cannot be extinguished, staff should immediately leave, close-off the area, and let the fire department put it out.
Staff members should be prepared, so if there is danger from smoke or fire in their immediate work area, they should evacuate that smoke compartment. To do this, they should first initiate a horizontal evacuation by moving residents down the corridor, through at least one set of fire doors to a safe area. If there is continued danger from smoke or fire, they should next initiate a vertical evacuation by moving residents down the stairs to a lower level of safety and ultimately out of the building.
The importance of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff during a fire cannot be overstated. It is crucial to ensure that all staff members are properly equipped with the right PPE to protect them from the dangers of a fire.
It is important for staff to remember the following:
- Never use elevators to evacuate a fire area.
- Evacuate people closest to danger first, then ambulatory residents, followed by non-ambulatory residents, and lastly, critical residents on life support (because they are not in immediate danger and will need more time and care).
- If possible, move resident charts with the resident.