You’ve invested in fire suppression systems for your fleet of heavy-duty mobile equipment, so it’s clear you prioritize the safety of your people. A key next step after the purchase and installation of a vehicle fire suppression system is operator training. Under a stressful situation, it’s easy for your operator to panic. But, with the proper training ahead of time, your operator can remain calm during a fire and execute the proper steps to actuate the system to safely exit the machine.
1 – Bring the vehicle to a stop and power it down.
Equipment with a fire suppression system installed will be equipped with an in-cab control panel that constantly monitors for a fire condition. When a fire is detected, the panel will alarm to alert the operator to evacuate the machine. The operator’s first step is to bring the vehicle to a stop in a safe location. The operator should turn off the motor and set the brake. Why? If the machine is left running, the engine may continue to pump fuel or hydraulic oil onto the fire resulting in fire reignition and impeding the fire suppression system’s effectiveness.
2 – Exit the machine, manually actuating the suppression system on the way out.
An operator’s next step after turning off the vehicle is to quickly exit the machine. As they’re fleeing, the operator should manually actuate the fire suppression system using one of the system’s remote actuators, located in cab of the machine as well as along the route of egress. The actuators are used by pulling the safety pin and forcefully striking the red knob with a closed fist. The sooner the fire suppression system discharges, the better chance of a successful result.
3 – Utilizing an onboard fire extinguisher, move a safe distance away from the machine.
While exiting the machine, the operator should also grab the onboard hand portable fire extinguisher to aid in creating a clear path of egress. And, once on the ground, the operator should move a safe distance away from the machine, protecting themselves from any explosions, heat, or flames resulting from the fire.
4 – Follow the company’s emergency response plan.
Your employees should also be aware of any additional company emergency response protocol in the event of a fire. This protocol may consist of maintaining a fire watch on the equipment; alerting the proper personnel, such as site supervisors or maintenance departments; or calling the local authorities.
Fire Suppression System Maintenance After a Fire Event
After the fire is resolved, the heavy equipment should not be restarted or put back into operation until it has been serviced and the cause of the fire has been determined. The equipment can be cleaned with water or compressed air, and a local fire suppression system service provider should be called to recharge and service the fire system so it is in working order and ready to protect against any future fire incidents.
We applaud you for investing in fire suppression systems for your heavy-duty mobile equipment and focusing on the safety of your operators, machines, and productivity. Training is key to ensuring your operators know what to do in the event of a fire. For some additional key next steps after the purchase of a fire suppression system, please download a free whitepaper at https://www.afexsystems.com/we-just-got-fire-suppression-for-our-heavy-equipment-now-what/.