Caring for Our Childen, 3rd Edition (CFOC3)

Chapter 3: Health Promotion and Protection

3.4 Health Protection in Child Care

3.4.3 Emergency Procedures

3.4.3.2: Use of Fire Extinguishers

Frequently Asked Questions/CFOC3 Clarifications

Reference: 3.4.3.2

Date: 10/13/2011

Topic & Location:
Chapter 3
Health Promotion
Standard 3.4.3.2: Use of Fire Extinguishers

Question:
Should all teaching staff be trained to use fire extinguishers or should the focus be on evacuating (maybe having facility staff training in use?)

Answer:
Staff should be trained that the first priority is to remove the children from the facility safely and quickly. Putting out the fire is secondary to the safe exit of the children and staff. The staff should demonstrate the ability to locate and operate the fire extinguishers.


The staff should demonstrate the ability to locate and operate the fire extinguishers. Facilities should develop a plan for responding in the event of a fire in or near the facility that includes staff responsibilities and protocols regarding evacuation, notifying emergency personnel, and using fire extinguishers. The staff should demonstrate the ability to recognize a fire that is larger than incipient stage and should not be fought with a portable fire extinguisher.
RATIONALE
A fire extinguisher may be used to put out a small fire or to clear an escape path (1). Developing a plan that includes staff use of fire extinguishers and conducting fire drills/exercises can increase preparedness and help staff better understand what to do to respond to a fire. It is just as important that staff know when not to try to fight a fire with portable fire extinguishers.
COMMENTS
Staff should be trained that the first priority is to remove the children from the facility safely and quickly. Putting out the fire is secondary to the safe exit of the children and staff. However, depending upon the situation at hand and the number of available staff, the facility’s plan could identify which caregivers/teachers evacuate the children, where they will all meet outside, who should call emergency personnel, and who should locate/use the fire extinguishers. These efforts can take place simultaneously.
TYPE OF FACILITY
Center, Large Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS
9.2.4.3 Disaster Planning, Training, and Communication
REFERENCES
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Injury and Poison Prevention. 2000. Reducing the number of deaths and injuries from residential fires. Pediatrics 105:1355-57.