The Security Officer's Guide to Handling a Fire Outbreak
Let’s start with the numbers. According to the United States National Fire Protection Association, at least every 60 seconds, there is a fire outbreak somewhere in the country. This translates to over 3,000 deaths and a $14.8 billion loss in 2019. More deaths came from home fires, while more property loss came from other types of fires. One thing we can take away from the above is that prevention is better than handling a fire outbreak. Most likely, security officers are the first line of response in a fire outbreak. It will be unprofessional and even negligent for such a security officer to be at a loss as to how to handle the situation. Usually, during onboarding before resuming duty, security officers are trained and intimated with emergency response protocols. That said, here is the security officer’s guide to handling a fire outbreak.
This is the first point because preventing the fire is cheaper than handling the damage and loss resulting from a fire outbreak. Security officers play a crucial role here. For instance, they can ensure people’s actions and inactions do not constitute a fire hazard. Putting all combustibles and flammables away from heat. And finally, checking fire extinguishers are in a good state, visible instructions and emergency call numbers, and phones on standby.
This will follow the emergency response call protocols. Some buildings have a smoke detector that raises an alarm when detected. But where no such detectors and no alarms are ringing, the security officer has to first confirm the smoke and then make appropriate calls. First would probably be to the State fire department, next ambulance, then more calls to the supervisor or company executives.
Depending on the severity of the fire outbreak, people may be able to get out of the building. It’s important to then take account of personnel and try to find out if anyone is missing.
Generally, in the event of a fire outbreak, security officers should be focused on mitigating the damage and loss to life and property. Their own safety is also important. They should go in with the appropriate gear.