Fire Prevention Week 2022 at a Skilled Nursing Facility – Guest Columns

Stan Szpytek

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) created Fire Prevention Week to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, as well as to promote home and workplace fire safety each year during the second week of fire prevention. ‘october. This year marks the 100e anniversary of Fire Prevention Week (FPW) and can be a good time to put more emphasis on fire safety in your skilled nursing facility.

It is likely that elementary school children across the country will be visited by their local firefighters during the week of October 9.e – 15e to learn more about fire prevention and fire safety. Wouldn’t this be the perfect time for your healthcare facility to also focus on fire safety?

Although nursing homes are required to conduct regular fire drills and fire response training in accordance with CMS and NFPA requirements, it is not uncommon for a concept known as ” exercise fatigue” sets in due to the redundancy that comes with frequency. of these requirements. Think about the number of times a long-time employee at your facility has participated in training programs and drills. The program is essentially the same and the exercises follow a typical format but can be perceived as routine and boring. Until a real emergency occurs and these exercises reveal their true value.

Fire Prevention Week is a great opportunity for NFCs and other healthcare facilities to focus more on fire safety by coming up with creative ways to promote this essential part of facility operations to staff. The theme that the NFPA has developed for this year is “The fire won’t wait, plan your escape.”

Conducting special training on each shift focusing on fire safety and emergency response procedures during FPW is a good place to start. Reviewing common protocols associated with fire response, including RACE (Rescue, Alarm, Confine, Extinguish) and PASS (Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep) procedures, will remind your team of the critical sequence intervention in the event of fire or smoke. in your building.

In addition to reviewing emergency response protocols, consider doing something a little more creative to promote fire prevention and response with your team. When was the last time your facility provided “hands-on” fire extinguisher training with your fire extinguisher contractor? FPW is the perfect time to conduct this type of training.

Another thing to consider would be creating an interactive display for staff that showcases the building’s fire protection features along with fire prevention tips. For example, you can create a tabletop display that includes a mockup of a fire alarm station that everyone can actually “pull” along with other fire protection features that staff can see up close. , such as fire sprinkler heads and smoke. detectors. In the same view, you may also have examples of items that cause fires such as candles, extension cords, and power supplies that are prohibited in an SNF.

Another popular activity you may also want to consider is hosting a meal (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) for facility staff during FPW that aligns with this year’s theme. Serving cupcakes, cookies, a sheet cake, or some type of decorated treat to promote fire safety can help improve levels of safety and preparedness within your facility.

You may also consider specifying a specific day during FPW where everyone wears a “red” shirt or similar item of clothing to promote fire safety awareness.

Trying to get help from your local fire department is always a good idea, but it will likely be a challenge during Fire Prevention Week this year. Most fire departments are full this week in October with visits to schools and other organizations within their jurisdiction to promote fire safety. Don’t let that stop you from contacting the fire department to see if you can bring them to your community next year during FPW to reinforce your SNF’s focus on fire safety.

You can visit the NFPA website for Fire Prevention Week 2022 to get more ideas.

Stan Szpytek is president of national consulting firm Fire and Life Safety, Inc. based in Mesa, Arizona, and life safety/disaster planning consultant for the Arizona Health Care Association, California Association of Health Facilities (CAHF) , Utah. Health Care Association and American Assisted Living Nurses Association (AALNA). Szpytek is a former Deputy Fire Chief and Fire Marshal with over 40 years of experience in life safety compliance and emergency preparedness. For more information, visit www.FLSafety.org or email Szpytek at [email protected]

The opinions expressed in McKnight Long Term Care News guest submissions are those of the author and not necessarily those of McKnight Long Term Care News or its editors.

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