DHEC stresses Fire Safety during Fire Prevention Week
In recognition of Fire Prevention Week, which is Oct. 7-13, this year, DHEC’s Health Care Facility Fire and Life Safety team would like to thank the more than 1,000 licensed and Medicare-certified health care facilities in South Carolina for their efforts to promote and maintain fire safe facilities. Through oversight, inspection and education, DHEC helps ensure the reduction of fire-related emergencies and the prevention of loss of life and property at health care facilities. DHEC conducted more than 500 fire and life safety inspections at health care facilities across the state in 2017 with the assistance of the Fire and Life Safety program’s team of investigators, local authorities and, most importantly, the health care facilities’ owners and operators. South Carolina continues to be a leader in fire-safe health care facilities because of the state’s continued training and education about the importance of constructing and maintaining fire safe buildings, from the smallest assisted living facility to the largest hospital. “Work, home, vacation, day or night, fires can and do happen anywhere and at any time,” said Todd McAlhany, DHEC Fire and Life Safety Program Coordinator. “We urge the public to always be prepared to protect themselves and their families from the dangers of fire.” The theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week, which is an annual campaign of the National Fire Protection Association, is: “Look. Listen. Learn. Be Aware. Fire can happen anywhere.” As cooler weather and the holiday season approach, DHEC reminds the public of the need for increased awareness of fire safety, not only in health care facilities but also at home. DHEC recommends these safety precautions. Check home smoke alarms monthly and replace the batteries twice a year. “Don’t wait, check the date”: if a smoke alarm is more than 10 years old, it’s time to replace it. Keep combustibles at least three feet from sources of heat. Ensure each employee or family member knows how to initiate a fire alarm and how to evacuate to a designated outside assembly area. Keep means of egress free and clear of obstructions at all times. Ensure all fire protection equipment is in proper operating condition and ready for use. Inspect all electrical holiday decorations prior to use. Use only flame-proof holiday decorations. Remember that live-cut trees are not allowed in licensed health care facilities. Learn more about DHEC’s Health Care Facility Fire and Life Safety team at www.scdhec.gov.