In the case of a fire emergency, nursing assistants’ immediate and calm reactions are vital to helping their patients exit the building in an orderly manner. Patients may have challenges walking, hearing, or seeing clearly, and they can become confused and anxious during an emergency.
You should already be familiar with the fire emergency plans for your workplace or school. Where are the fire alarm pull stations and the fire extinguishers? Where do you go during a fire drill, or where have you gone during a real fire emergency?
As a nursing assistant, you must be prepared to respond to a fire emergency. Following these guidelines called “RACE” will help in the event of a fire emergency:
“R” means Rescue. Help all of the residents get out of the building quickly and safely. Touch doors before you open them to check if they are already hot, and, if they are, try another route. Use the stairs, not elevators. When residents are outside, make sure a staff member watches them so they do not wander from the area.
“A” means Alarm. Pull the alarm and call 911 to report the location of the fire.
“C” means Contain. As you exit one section of the building, close all the doors behind you, keeping the fire contained in one area if possible.
“E” means Extinguish. If the fire is small and it is safe to do so, you can try to put the fire out using a fire extinguisher. To use a fire extinguisher, pull the safety pin at the top, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, squeeze the handle, and spray the chemicals in a sweeping motion.
Getting patients to safety during a fire emergency requires quick action while interacting with residents patiently and calmly. Your ability to respond to an emergency is key to protecting yourself, your residents, and your coworkers.