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Fires usually start small, but can rage out of control quickly. Stopping them before they start requires that we all work together to detect possible fire hazards and report them promptly.

Although buildings may be built of steel and concrete, their contents are not. Most of the materials and equip­ment we use everyday on the job are flammable or combustible. So even if a building resists a fire for awhile, its contents will not. What is even more important is that the contents add fuel to the growing blaze. Soon it will be large enough to finally wreck the entire structure. And think of the costs, not to mention the lives that could be lost.

Before fire strikes, let us look at how each of us can help make our department's fire protection program work.

1. Housekeeping - Neat and clean work areas are not just for show. Good housekeeping helps to prevent fires. How? When rubbish and other combustibles are disposed of properly and not piled in corners, fire doorways, or exits, there is much less fuel for a fire to burn. The same can be said and is especially true for paint-soaked or oily rags. Store them in approved covered safety containers or cabinets.

2. Flammable Liquids - Be sure all flammable liquids are stored only in approved safety cans that are kept in a safe storage cabinet or room. Keep only a one days' supply of a flammable liquid at your work station. Return all such materials to their proper storage areas at the end of your shift.

3. Smoking Materials - Observe the "No Smoking" rule in all designated areas. Carelessly discarded cigaret­tes, cigars, pipe tobacco and matches are ignition sources and start thousands of fires. Use ashtrays in smok­ing areas and always be alert for "stray" matches and cigarettes.

4. Know what to do if a fire breaks out - This includes knowing your exits, how to turn in an alarm, where the fire protection equipment is located, and how to use it. Here are five points to remember in case of fire:
A. Sound the Alarm - Don't underestimate any fire; report it immediately.
B. Warn People - Warn all people in the area immediately so they can get to places of safety. This is especially important in building fires.
C. Think Fast and Act with Caution - When a fire is discovered, size it up fast. If it is from an energized source of fuel supply, immediately de- 
      energize by cutting off the source of power or fuel supply. If it is small, if the proper fire protection equipment is on hand and you've been
      trained in its use, try to extinguish the fire.
D. Stand By - Stay near the fire. Meet and tell the fire fighters where the fire is and how to attain access.
E. Fire Fighting - You are responsible for preventing fires. In general, never join in fire fighting unless your help is requested by your supervisor   
      or fire fighters and you have been trained.