Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fire Wardens and Pointless Process

At work, we got our Fire Warden coming around to hassle us. It's a part time occupation, so he's certainly not that fussed about it.
What irks me is a job done poorly, which is effectively make work, which is only done "because we have to"; and when a real fire does occur, I'm more at risk because of this busywork than if I had never listened at all.


Here's my tongue in cheek attempt at pointing it out..

The paper instructions


These instructions we're getting are made of cardboard. Which is flammable.
I've noticed that things in a fire like to burn, including cardboard.

People like myself are most likely to litter them about my desk; creating what I believe is called LOADS OF KINDLING.

Is there a benefit to adding more potential fuel to a sudden and unexpected desk fire?

Stopping to read the instructions


In a real fire, I'm expected to stop to collect my instruction sheet, and follow it?

Typically; when unexpected things happen, they are outside of the range of normal.

Am I expected to obey the instructions under normal circumstances?

Since sudden desk fires are by themselves completely unexpected occurences, under what circumstances could I expect a normal, business as usual desk fire to occur; where these instructions will be of use to me?

Can I use my own judgement under abnormal circumstances, like an unexpected fire?

If I can use my own judgement: do I need the instructions; or is it only for those completely normal, run of the mill fires?


The research


With our current fire safety policy and adherence, what current research suggests the effectiveness of it, given our unique circumstances?

ie, that we hire people who like LOADS OF KINDLING on their desks

If you haven't had a chance to; can I suggest the reading of some of the relevant materials; to ensure we're up to date?

Fire evacuation skills training for institutionalized mentally retarded adults
* Training people to get out of a building works well with moneytary rewards.
* The Fire warden should be able to organise drills, and pay people who get out best/fastest. I suggest a mix of Amazing race vs fire drill.


EFFICIENT EVACUATION METHODS IN TALL BUILDINGS
"The movement of people in stairs can be modelled as unified crowd flows. The maximum flow per stair width unit has been measured for different types of staircases, riser heights and tread depths"
"The flow models give optimistic results, since they assume that stairs do not become overcrowded. In case there is heavy congestion, the walking speed and also the occupant flow drop significantly. If the occupant density is more than 3.8 persons per square meter, the walking speed approaches zero (Pauls 1987)"

* If a collection of chubby people (and have you seen some of these people!) cause a bottleneck, we're all doomed.
* Research suggests the Fire warden should be able to issue gym memberships

What other processes seem futile with fire safety in the work place?

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