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Workplace fire safety

fire-alarmRead this statement:

Attention all employees:
We will be conducting a fire drill Friday, July 22 at 10.00 a.m.
Please respond if there was a real fire.
Thank You, The Management

What message did you get?

  1. They want you to respond AS if there was a real fire or;
  2. Only IF there is a real fire?

Did you read the word “as” in the third line? Look again.

What do they really want you to do?

One word can change the whole meaning of a message.

The message above was posted in a high-rise office building elevator. One employee reading it was heard saying, “I have no idea how to respond to a fire.”

Learn Don’t Litigate

  1. Do you conduct regular fire drills in your workplace?
  2. When was the last time you conducted a fire drill?
  3. How do your employees respond when they hear the fire alarm? With concern? With a purpose? With confusion? With indifference?

For further information on employer’s responsibilities for fire safety, visit the Office of the Fire Marshal.

The message again: Learn Don’t Litigate

Here’s some tips from the city of Coquitlam, BC:

If a fire occurs in the workplace:

  1. Activate the fire alarm, leave the building and close all doors behind you.
  2. Have a primary and secondary exit. If you must exit through smoke, stay low by crawling on your hands and knees.
  3. Check doors for heat before opening them. If you can, close doors if you notice fire on the other side of the door
  4. Call 911 regardless of how small the fire appears to be.

Andrew Lawson
Health and Safety/Human Rights Advisor, Learn Don’t Litigate

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Andrew Lawson

Trainer and advisor at Learn Don't Litigate
Andrew Lawson is a human rights and health and safety trainer and advisor, currently consulting to both the federal and Ontario governments. Since 1996, he has conducted extensive legal research in the areas of human rights and occupational health and safety law. He has worked in the people management business for over 25 years. Read more
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