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Fire safety standards: What you should know

Fire safety standards are created to prevent or lower the incidence of fires that cause death, injury, property damage and the destruction of natural resources


Roughly 4,000 people die every year and over 18,000 people are injured in fires. Add to those statistics the fact that firefighters in the U.S. respond to over 360,000 fire emergencies that cause billions of dollars in property damage annually and you see why fire safety standards are something you should investigate as a preventative measure.

Fire safety standards are created to prevent or lower the incidence of fires that cause death, injury, property damage and the destruction of natural resources. Fire safety also focuses on helping people survive fires better and to reduce the damage that fires cause to property. Generally local and state governments draft, enact and enforce codes to regulate fire safety standards which prevent fires and increase the level of public safety. The violation of a fire code can result in criminal prosecution and the enforced closing of a building by fire officials.

Fire safety standards also govern the way that public events with the potential for fires are regulated. These include fireworks displays, automotive racing events and occupancy standards in buildings with the potential of a stampede if a fire breaks out.

One aspect of fire safety standards involves drafting and enforcing building construction codes to minimize the risk of fire. These regulations are called building codes and govern both commercial and housing construction.

Fire codes are also enforceable after construction and are especially important in large apartment buildings, schools and high rise commercial buildings. In an effort to ensure public safety, fire standards increase in stringency in relation to the number of occupants in the building.

Fire safety standards for public buildings include installing fire extinguishers, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, fire escapes and having clearly marked exits in crowded public venues like movie theatres and shopping malls.

Enforcing fire safety standards is the job of the local Fire Marshall. Public building inspections are periodically conducted to check for things like working fire alarms, fire extinguishers, proper ingress and egress, hazardous materials, flammable materials storage and maximum occupancy.

Fire safety standards are relayed to the public through community education programs conducted by local fire departments in order to increase public understanding among adults and children. This furthers the safety of the public by educating them about the hazards of fire and what they can do to prevent them and survive them if they do occur.

References
http://www.osha.gov/
http://www.wikipedia.org

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