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If you suspect arson, no matter how small the incident, follow your components procedures for reporting emergencies (i.e., fire). Do not alter the fire scene in any way, unless you are trying to extinguish a live fire. The police and Fire Department work together to investigate possible arson.

6. Combustible Storage

By storing excess combustible materials improperly, employees not only increase the potential for having a fire, they increase the potential severity of a fire. To reduce the hazards associated with combustible storage, follow these guidelines:

  • Eliminate excess combustible materials such as paper and cardboard.
  • Do not store combustible materials in hallways, stairwells, or mechanical rooms.
  • When stacking combustible materials, leave at least 18 inches between the top of the stack and the ceiling.

7. Portable LPG

The Texas Railroad Commission regulates the sale and use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), including butane and propane. These regulations govern several types of LPG-powered equipment including the following:

  • Forklifts
  • Floor buffers
  • Cooking and heating equipment
  • Laboratory equipment

Exhaust fumes may contain carbon monoxide which can present a health hazard. Exhaust can also create smoke which may activate a smoke detector. Take special precautions to ensure adequate ventilation when using these machines indoors. Because LPG is extremely flammable, it is a potential fire hazard. Do not store LPG near heat, flame, or other ignition sources. In addition, do not leave portable LPG containers larger than 16 oz. in a building overnight. Instead, place portable LPG containers and LPG equipment outside in a storage area that is at least 25 feet away from other buildings, combustible materials, roadways, railroads, pipelines, utility lines, and the property line. This storage area should prevent unauthorized entry and have a portable fire extinguisher within 25 feet. Refer to the Agriculture Safety chapter of this manual for more information on LPG.

8. Emergency Access and Egress

Emergency access and egress are critical during an emergency situation such as a fire. During a fire, timing and quick response are essential to save lives and property. Effective emergency access ensures that fire trucks can reach a building in time to extinguish the fire. Unobstructed emergency egress ensures that building occupants can exit a building to safety. These definitions help clarify the concept of emergency access and egress:

  • Emergency Access: Pertinent facilities and equipment remain available and unobstructed at all times to ensure effective fire detection, evacuation, suppression, and response.
  • Emergency Egress: A continuous and unobstructed way to travel from any point in a public building to a public way. A means of egress may include horizontal and vertical travel routes, including intervening rooms, doors, hallways, corridors, passageways, balconies, ramps, stairs, enclosures, lobbies, courts, and yards.

IMPORTANT: Each location within a building must have a clear means of egress to the outside.