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Fire Prevention Week is October 8th through October 14th!  This year’s theme is “Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out!”  Every second does count when it comes to fire safety.  As with any emergency, it is always good to have an emergency plan in place to help guide you and your loved ones to safety without hesitation and with minimal panic.

Here are a few key messages from the National Fire Protection Association regarding your escape plan:

  • Drawing a map to plan out your escape route is a very important part in your emergency preparedness plan. Be sure to mark at least two exits from each room and a path outside from each exit.
  • Schedule home drills at least twice a year. One at night as well as one during the day.
  • Try to remember to close doors behind you as you leave each room – this may help slow down the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
  • Last, but certainly not least, once you’ve made it safely outside, STAY OUTSIDE.

Click on this link to download the NFPA’s sample fire escape plan.

Source: Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2017 NFPA.

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Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  The fire took place over a span of two days, starting on October 8th and continuing into October 9th, when the majority of the damage took place.  The fire killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres.  While the Great Chicago Fire is considered the most well-known blaze to start on October 8, 1871, it was far from the largest.  There was another fire that started on October 8th, 1871, the Peshtigo Fire in Northeast Wisconsin which is considered the most devastating forest fire in American History.  The Peshtigo Fire burnt down 16 towns, killing 1,152 people and scorched 1.2 million acres before it was put out.

On the 40th Anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the International Fire Marshals Association decided that the anniversary of these horrific fires should be observed with a way to keep people informed about the importance of fire prevention rather than celebrating it with festivities.  This led to President Woodrow Wilson issuing the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation in 1920.  Fire Prevention week is observed on the Sunday through Saturday that October 9th falls.  Something you may not know is that every year since 1925, The President of the United States has signed a proclamation proclaiming a national observance during that week.

Each year since 1927, Fire Prevention Week has focused on a different ‘Theme’.  A few themes that have been focused on in the past are:

  • 2000 – Fire Drills: The Great Escape!
  • 2001 – Cover the Bases & Strike Out Fire
  • 2002 – Team Up for Fire Safety
  • 2003 – When Fire Strikes: Get Out! Stay Out!
  • 2004 – It’s Fire Prevention Week! Test Your Smoke Alarms
  • 2005 – Use Candles With Care
  • 2006 – Prevent Cooking Fires: Watch What You Heat
  • 2007 – It’s Fire Prevention Week! Practice Your Escape Plan
  • 2008 – It’s Fire Prevention Week! Prevent Home Fires
  • 2009 – Stay Fire Smart! Don’t Get Burned
  • 2010 – Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With
  • 2011 – It’s Fire Prevention Week! Protect Your Family From Fire!
  • 2012 – Have 2 Ways Out!
  • 2013 – Prevent Kitchen Fires
  • 2014 – Smoke Alarms Save Lives: Test Yours Every Month
  • 2015 – Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm!

This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is, “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”.

Source: Reproduced from NFPA’s Fire Prevention Week website, www.firepreventionweek.org. ©2016 NFPA.

Be sure to check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium Insurance,Cooperative InsuranceApartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!

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According to www.ready.gov, up to 40% of businesses affected by natural or human –caused disasters never reopen.  Disasters affect more than just individuals and neighborhoods.  They affect entire communities, including businesses of all sizes.  National Preparedness Month is about being proactive.  Creating a concrete business continuity plan will aid in protecting not only your company and your employees, it will also maximize your business’s chance of recovery after an emergency or disaster.

There are 5 key steps in developing a business preparedness plan:

  1. Create Your Plan – begin collecting information regarding hazards and assess risks in your area. After collecting this information, begin examining ways to reduce such risks and prevent possible hazards.
  2. Manage Your Plan – work on organizing, developing and administering your preparedness plan to your employees.
  3. Implement Your Plan – this will include writing down everything you need for resource management, emergency response, employee assistance, information technology, business continuity, crisis communications, training and incident management.
  4. Test Your Plan – it is important to test and evaluate your plan before an incident occurs. This will help your business learn to conduct the different exercises effectively if/when a disaster occurs.  Remember to take notes on the different exercises you test in order to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan later on.
  5. Evaluate the Results and Improve on Your Plan – review the notes you’ve taken during the testing of your plan. This will help identify the areas of your preparedness plan that need to be improved upon.

Remember, your company’s preparedness program should be reviewed each year to ensure it meets the current needs of your business.

Resources: www.ready.gov; www.FEMA.gov

Each September, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the US Department of Homeland Security sponsors National Preparedness Month.  There are several different organizations that participate and encourage Americans to take action.  According to www.CDC.gov, one of the major goals of National Preparedness Month is to educate the public about how to prepare for emergencies, including natural disasters, mass casualties, biological and chemical threats, radiation emergencies, and terrorist attacks.

During the month of September the different categories that will be focused on are….

  • Becoming informed – what to do before, during and after an emergency.
  • How to make a plan – prepare, plan and stay informed for emergencies.
  • How to build a Disaster Preparedness Kit.
  • How to get involved – learn how to support your community preparedness.
  • Learn how to Protect your Business in the wake of a disaster.

For more information on each of these topics, please visit www.ready.gov.

Check out a few of New Empire Group’s Preparedness Blogs

Resources: www.fema.gov; www.cdc.gov

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Tips for Dorm Room Fire Safety

September 1, 2016

It’s that time of year again; college students around the country are moving back into their dorm rooms or off-campus housing units.  Each year college students are experiencing a growing number of fire-related emergencies.  A major cause of this is simply lack of fire safety knowledge.  It is a new experience in their lives and with that comes new dangers.   It is important for them to be prepared in case of an emergency, so as you’re helping your child unpack their things make sure to take the time to review our Dorm Room Fire Safety Checklist.

College Students Fire Safety Guide:

  • Be aware of at least two means of egress – have a backup plan in case one exit is blocked
  • Be sure to have a means to break windows if necessary as an escape route
  • Make sure you always know where a flashlight is – it will be able to help guide you through smoke filled rooms
  • Be aware of how to properly notify the fire department using the 911 system
  • Buy a power strip with an over-current protector
  • Check the wattage consumed for all appliances before plugging them in
  • Do not connect multiple extension cords together
  • Do not staple extension cords – damaging the insulation that is meant to protect you from currents and potentially exposing a wire increases the possibility of sparking
  • Use light bulbs that have proper wattage for the lamp you are using
  • Do not overload extension cords, power strips or outlets – they can overheat
  • Do not smoke within 25 feet of entryways, exits or wheelchair ramps serving as an entry or exit
  • Do not use appliances such as hot plates, microwaves, halogen lamps or toaster ovens
  • Do not burn candles or incense

To download the .pdf version of our checklist visit our Documents Downloads page.

To watch a dorm room fire demo check out this link by Montclair State University: http://youtu.be/zNR1FWy3QJU

It is important to know the different classes of fires and which fire extinguishers you should use.   Using the wrong type of extinguisher on the wrong type of fire can be life-threatening.

  • Class A fires are fueled by ordinary combustible or fibrous material (wood, paper, cloth and some plastics). Do not use carbon dioxide or ordinary dry chemical extinguishers on Class A fires – use an APW or Air Pressurized Water extinguisher
  • Class B fires include flammable or combustible liquids, greases and gases, such as gasoline, paint and propane. Use either a carbon dioxide extinguisher or a dry chemical extinguisher on this type of fire
  • Class C fires include electrical equipment, such as motors and heaters that are not connected to a power source. Do not use water extinguishers on energized electrical equipment.  Use a carbon dioxide extinguisher on this type of fire
  • Combustible metals (Class D) are difficult to extinguish, because once ignited, they give off sufficient oxygen to support combustion – try using “dry powder” to extinguish these types of fires as it works by smothering and heat absorption.
  • Class K fires are fueled by cooking oils or fats. Wet chemical fire extinguishers are the best type of extinguisher for Class K fires.

Keep in mind, all fire extinguishers have a picture of what they can be used for.  Class A extinguishers have a picture of a garbage can on fire.  Class B extinguishers have a picture of a gas can on fire.  They may also have pictures with a line through it to show what classes of fire they shouldn’t be used on.  This is an easy way to determine what type of extinguisher you should be using.

For more helpful information regarding the different types of fires and fire extinguishers visit BFPE International.

Be sure to check out the great Insurance Programs for Condominium Insurance, Cooperative Insurance, Apartment Insurance and Property Manager’s Insurance that New Empire Group, Ltd. offers!

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