Mark your Truss-type construction and protect firefighters

Trusses are fabricated components (constructed with diagonal members) made of wood and steel.  Although Truss structures are very safe and the smart choice when spanning a large open area, they collapse with less stress from a fire, thus putting firefighters in greater danger.  Marking Truss-type buildings with labels on entrances will allow firefighters to be prepared while fighting a fire in that structure. Trusses are covered by roof or floor systems so if a fire goes undetected for even a short time, these structures will be extremely damaged before help arrives.  New York State, New Jersey, Florida, Vermont and various cities across the country have developed truss codes for primarily new construction.  Other states and more cities are expected to follow suit.

NFPA released new edition of NFPA 1600® available for free on nfpa.org

NFPA 1600® Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs

“NFPA 1600 establishes a common, high level set of criteria for disaster and emergency management and business continuity programs to develop, implement, assess, and maintain these programs. The programs address management, planning, prevention, mitigation, implementation, response, recovery, testing and improvement.”

A major difference between the 2010 version and the 2007 version is omission of one chapter: Program Elements, and the creation of new chapters: Planning, Implementation, Testing and Exercise, and Program Improvement.  The contents of 2007’s Program Elements chapter was broken down and added to these new chapters, then expanded upon.

Chapter 4 – Program Management, has been elaborated to create specific guidelines for individuals who are leaders for their company’s disaster and emergency plans. Leadership and commitment has been added to this chapter along with performance objectives, finance and administration, and records management.

Chapter 5 – Planning, includes planning process, risk assessment (carried over from the former chapter 5), business impact analysis, mitigation, and more.

Chapter 6 – Implementation, includes much of what was Chapter 5 in 2007 along with new additions: employee assistance and support, Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs), training and education.

Chapter 7 – Testing and Exercises reminds Emergency Leaders that practice makes perfect when it comes to implementing an evacuation plan.

Chapter 8 – Program Improvement has been added in order to recognize that emergency plans are “working” documents. As regulations and recommendations are updated by NFPA or there are changes in personnel at your facility, your emergency policy must be updated accordingly.   This chapter also calls for reviews after each incident to reevaluate your program and learn from lessons.

2010’s 1600 seems like a more thought-out version than the 2007 1600. Please make your safety officers aware of these updated changes.  Well-practiced emergency procedures keep employees safe from injury or even death – do not take these recommendations lightly.

Source: nfpa.org

What do the metric system and European pictorial Exit Signs have in common?

Green "running man" Exit Sign

…neither will likely be used by the United States although they’re used by most of the world. In an article by Julia Turner, the US is nearly alone in its use of red-lettered Exit signs, just as we’re alone in using miles instead of kilometers.

The rest of the world uses the “running man”, a pictorial sign showing a man running through a door – in green – the international color meaning “go”, and in this case GO NOW! Tuner says, “In most places in the United States, its safe to assume people speak English…our sign systems have typically communicated in text. Europe, by contrast, developed symbolic road signs…On a continent where you can’t drive more than a few hours before encountering a new language, the pictorial approach made sense.”

The red Exit sign was developed in 1911 after a fire in a garment warehouse killed 146 workers because exit doors were bolted shut but also not clearly marked. Although the US began adopting pictograms on a smaller scale in 1974, the Exit sign remained in text. The current “running man” sign was created by a Japanese designer named Yukio Ota, whose design beat out a very similar design by a Soviet designer. Neither knew the other design was a man running through a door, meaning the rest of the world was already thinking in pictorials.

Turner interviewed a prominent member of the NFPA who says the National Fire Protection Association sees no need to change the red lettered Exit sign used in the United States. Although we may never switch from text to pictogram exclusively, some areas are requiring both signs to be posted. New York City changed its building codes for high rises in 2006 to include the “running man” on all fire doors.

Luckily for Emedco customers, we offer both the standard, familiar text Exit Sign, and the widely accepted “running man” pictogram sign. It’s my opinion that until the green “running man” is more widely accepted in the United States, you should stick to NFPA’s guidelines and place red-lettered text Exit signs in your facility. But, who knows – maybe labeling your exit doors with the green man will start the trend that gets him racing across our country.

Create a complete exit, fire & evacuation guidance system

Exit, fire & evacuation policies are mandated by OSHA, thus necessary for every business.  Emedco helps you to create an exit, fire & evacuation system above and beyond what is expected by OSHA, giving you an edge on safety in any emergency situation. First and foremost, you must place Exit Signs above exit doors.  For a money-saving “green” option, choose Emedco’s SuperGlo signs, the safest glow-in-the-dark material on the market – it glows for 30 hours without electricity. More essential items are fire extinguishers.  Choose the extinguisher that could best extinguish a fire that may start at your facility, for example, don’t buy a fire extinguisher for oil/grease fires when you’re in an office with electrical cords and paper. Remember to mark your fire extinguishers or equipment with bold signs or labels so they will be easily found in an emergency. Other products that will help your employees evacuate the building safely are emergency lighting units, glow markers – including anti-slip glow markers, emergency procedure centers, and flashlights. Emergency lighting units light up when electricity goes out while flashlights can be placed near stairwells or emergency procedure centers. Glow markers can guide employees along your pre-determined evacuation routes and anti-slip glow markers add safety to slippery areas along the route. The main point to remember when building your emergency system is to ensure all employees are familiar with the system and have practiced it. Emedco fills in gaps in existing exit, fire & evacuation systems to make your facility as safe as possible for effective emergency planning.

Create a safe haven with Evacuation Assembly Area products

Where do your employees gather after an evacuation?  Most stand in the parking lot away from the building, some go their cars, some wander around the premises… it’s almost impossible to keep track of everyone unless you have a well-organized Evacuation Assembly Area. Easily account for everyone in your facility when every employee is required to meet at a safe spot far away from the building and emergency crews.  A good Evacuation Assembly Area will include bright bold signage at the designated assembly point, traffic cones and barricade tape to block off hazards and dangerous areas, and lightsticks in case the environment is dark due to time of day or smoky conditions. It’s best to be proactive about your emergency training – ensure each employee is required to attend emergency procedure training once a year.  Provide plenty of practice opportunities and appoint certain employees Evacuation Leads.  These small and simple steps will protect your workforce from any emergency situation.

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Emedco carries the safest glow-in-the-dark material in the industry

SuperGlo is the brightest, safest glow material on the market that is applied to the top of an Emedco exit sign for added safety in the most dire conditions. It is a non-toxic, non-radioactive ultra-safe glow-in-the-dark film.  The film charges in 5 minutes by natural or fluorescent lighting and does not require electricity to glow for over 30 hours.  SuperGlo material is perfect for reducing energy costs and is eco-friendly, non-toxic and non-radioactive, making it safe for any employee to handle.  By adding SuperGlo topcoat to your Exit Sign, it instantly exceeds all international building code standards.  SuperGlo topcoat features advanced Photoluminescent technology which means it absorbs and stores light for a long-lasting glow-in-the-dark effect.  In the middle of an emergency when evacuation is crucial to the survival of your employees, SuperGlo Exit Signs outperform standard Exit Signs that disappear in dark conditions.

Reflective Exit Signs are favored by firefighters

Reflective Exit Signs are a firefighter-favorite when it comes to searching a dark building. Reflective signs light up instantly when struck by a beam of light from a flashlight, making them perfect for dark corridors and basements.  Reflective signs are not a good option for every area of your facility, but they’re perfect for dark rooms and stairwells that don’t get direct sunlight or constant fluorescent lighting. When firefighters enter a dark or smoky building, they rapidly sweep walls with light from their flashlights looking for Exit Signs, Stairwell Markers, Fire Extinguishers or other vital emergency equipment.  Instantly finding a Reflective Exit Sign will help them navigate through the building, search for victims, and ensure all sources of fire have been smothered.

-MS