|Tenant Safety Handbook|
When proper procedures are followed, emergency situations can be controlled with little or no disruption to your normal work day.
This page provides you with the information needed to effectively react to emergency situations in your facility. It also explains how to eliminate fire hazards, conduct evacuations and handle medical emergencies.
This page addresses such questions as:
It is nearly impossible to anticipate all situations that may arise during an emergency. For this reason, application of the contents of this booklet will not, at all times, suffice. If you have any questions about potential emergency situations not covered in this page, you should contact your Facility/Building Manager's Office or the proper emergency services organization for guidance.
|Tenant Safety Organization|
Every building has a Tenant Safety Organization comprised of a group of employees who have volunteered and have had special training to assist you and visitors during an emergency evacuation. Each Tenant Safety Organization typically contains the following members:
What is the purpose of a Tenant Safety Organization?
The Tenant Safety Organization assists in the orderly evacuation of employees and visitors during regularly scheduled fire drills and actual evacuations. In the event of an actual emergency, these volunteers are a vital, lifesaving link between those who occupy OGS managed State facilities and the fire safety personnel.
It is important to remember that the Tenant Safety Organization is set up for the sole purpose of ensuring a safe and orderly evacuation of all employees and visitors in the event of an emergency. A member of the tenant safety organization should never attempt to fight fires or search for bombs.
It is important to remember that your cooperation is essential to maintain a safe, well-protected work environment.
You can aid in the prevention of fires and accidents - or at least minimize their effect - by practicing proper safety and evacuation procedures.
This booklet is not intended to alarm you or to imply that your office building is not safe. The NYS Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code is applied to each building owned or leased by New York State. Nevertheless, fires and accidents may occur and you should be prepared to act accordingly.
In the Event of a Fire
If you see a fire or smoke, evacuate the area immediately. Report the situation to the police or fire department. If you are in an area that is free of smoke, use the phone. Give the police or fire dispatcher a clear statement of what is burning (if you know). Identify the exact location of the fire by building, floor, room or section number. If your personal safety is at risk, pull the nearest fire alarm or call on an office phone in a safe area. Some buildings have emergency phones to the police/fire personnel. Learn their locations before an emergency occurs.
You Are Not Expected to Fight Fires!
A modern office contains many natural and synthetic compounds such as wood, paper, plastic, rubber and wool which produce harmful gases and fumes when they burn. In case of a serious fire, do not delay initiating an evacuation of the area before contacting the police/fire officials for your facility. Do not attempt to use a fire extinguisher unless you know how.
An emergency evacuation of your building is the best possible protection against fires and/or bomb threats. Fire drills are an important part of the fire protection system. They help determine if all employees can be swiftly evacuated and that proper procedures exist to assist the disabled in the event of an emergency evacuation. All employees are expected to participate in an evacuation, whether it is being conducted as a drill or is an actual emergency. When the fire alarm sounds, you must proceed as follows:
Do not linger, smoke or carry beverages in stairwells. All of these can cause accidents and needless injuries. Also, remember to keep conversation to a minimum since this could interfere with follow-up instructions provided through the public address system or by members of your Tenant Safety Organization.
When you arrive at the assembly area, move completely away from the exit door. This is important as it will alleviate bottlenecks and avoid delays for those employees still in the stairwells. Most of all remain calm and follow instructions.
During an evacuation, you will leave your work station and proceed to a designated assembly area. The location of this assembly area will depend on your work station and the type of evacuation ordered. You may be evacuated to a lower floor, to an adjacent area, or from the building. It is important that you proceed to your designated assembly place as directed by police and/or fire officials or the members of the Tenant Safety Organization.
Partial Versus Total Evacuation
The extent of an evacuation will depend on the nature of the emergency and the type of building affected by it. In some high-rise buildings, partial evacuations are necessary to evacuate those individuals closest to the emergency and to prevent congestion in the stairwells. Partial evacuations are utilized when evacuation of several floors is sufficient to protect tenants while the hazard is being eliminated. In similar structures, total evacuations may be necessary.
During fire drills, a total evacuation gives all employees experience in leaving their work stations and proceeding to the outside through emergency exits. However, in high-rise buildings there is substantial risk involved in moving a large number of tenants at one time. Therefore, in such cases only a few floors may be evacuated at a time. Partial evacuations are an effective method of evacuating those areas that are nearest the hazard.
Each Facility Safety Plan includes procedures to evacuate disabled employees. These procedures apply to both permanent and temporary disabilities.
Who is considered disabled?
In addition to those employees with visible physical limitations, the term "disabled" includes anyone who feels they are unable to climb or descend stairs. This includes but is not limited to employees with heart problems, back and/or respiratory conditions. Women in the later stages of pregnancy may, at their discretion, also be included in this category.
Disabled employees should inform their floor marshal or warden that they will require assistance during an evacuation. The floor marshal should then incorporate this information in the Facility Safety Plan. In most instances during an evacuation, designated personnel will escort disabled employees to elevators which are operated by the emergency service personnel. If the elevators are inoperable, the disabled employee(s) will be brought to safety through the emergency stairwell. If you are not sure of the procedure to follow in your area, ask your Facility Manager for a copy of the Facility Safety Plan.
All visitors are to be evacuated in event of a fire drill or an emergency. During an evacuation, direct visitors to the appropriate emergency exit and/or escort them to your assembly area. If a visitor is disabled, notify the floor marshal or warden that there is a disabled person in need of evacuation. You must then report directly to your assembly area.
Always use the exit stairwells in your building to evacuate. These stairwells are specifically designed with fire-rated walls and self-closing doors to keep out smoke and flames, and are considered safe in the event of a fire. Once inside the exit stairwell, you are protected until you exit the building.
Doors to exit stairwells must be kept closed unless a person is entering or leaving. Do not, at any time, wedge or tie these fire doors open. Doing so can lead to tragedy. For the general safety of all building occupants, always close the fire and emergency exit doors behind you.
Never use an elevator to evacuate a building unless instructed to do so by emergency service personnel. Studies have shown that many deaths from fire in high-rise buildings are related to elevators. Shafts can fill with smoke and heat; the elevator can become damaged and STOP between floors; elevators which are equipped with heat-sensitive controls may automatically go to the fire floor.
During a fire or emergency evacuation, elevators, when available, will be used to evacuate disabled employees and visitors. Elevator controls will be manually operated by emergency service personnel and will not respond to calls from tenant areas.
In most buildings, if you are in an elevator which has been placed on fireman service, the car will descend directly to the main floor or lobby. When the elevator reaches the main level, you must leave the car immediately and follow the instructions of the emergency service personnel.
Most fire hazards result from poor housekeeping. Often, the employees responsible for maintaining a work area are not even aware that a hazard exists. There may be a misplaced room divider blocking entry to a fire corridor or a disorderly storage area containing a large amount of combustible material. Your cooperation in identifying, reporting and/or eliminating hazards is critical to successful fire and accident prevention.
In addition to participating in evacuation drills, you can improve the safety of your building by following these housekeeping rules:
Storing of Flammable Liquids
Some liquids used in modern offices may be highly flammable and if not stored properly present a serious fire hazard. These liquids include but are not limited to, duplicating machine fluid, acetone, alcohol, and cleaning solvents. Whenever you find that your office is using flammable liquids, follow the manufacturer's recommendations of precautions to ensure your safety.
Areas With High Concentration of Combustible Materials
Work locations with large amounts of combustible material (material that burns easily) require special safety precautions. Both supervisors and employees must cooperate to ensure that proper housekeeping practices are maintained in these areas. If your work area has a high concentration of combustible materials, follow these guidelines:
In accordance with state and local building code requirements, portable fire extinguishers are available in all State-owned/leased buildings. However, fire extinguishers must not create a false sense of security. Employees are not expected to fight fires using these extinguishers, nor should they delay reporting a fire by attempting to use these extinguishers.
Fire extinguishers are designed for small fires and must be properly matched to the type of fire in order to be effective. Most fire extinguishers contain 30 to 60 seconds of firefighting material. If they are not used properly, or if their use causes a delay in reporting a fire, they could do more harm than good. Unless you are familiar with the proper use of your building's portable fire extinguisher, your safest action is to report the fire and evacuate the floor.
All bomb threats must be reported immediately to the police and your supervisor. If the bomb threat is received by telephone, try to get as much information from the caller as possible:
All of this information is important to assist the police in determining if the threat is real or just harassment. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO SEARCH FOR A BOMB. If you see a suspicious object, DO NOT TOUCH IT. Warn other employees to avoid the area and let the proper authorities investigate.
If an employee has an accident or becomes seriously ill, follow this procedure:
Give the exact location including the name of building and the street number, floor, section, room number, and door to enter.
Have someone meet the rescue personnel. Send a co-worker to the designated point of entrance to meet the rescue personnel and have someone hold the elevator.
Notify the family. At the employee's request, a supervisor or friend should notify an adult member of the immediate family. Be factual. Do not cause any unnecessary alarm. If appropriate, repeat the name of the hospital/emergency facility where the employee was taken. Be sure to give the family your name and telephone number so they can check back with you, if necessary.
|Things to Remember|
When reporting a fire or other emergency:
When the fire alarm sounds:
If there is a fire on your floor, follow these steps:
If there is a fire or substantial amount of smoke in the hallway: