Fire prevention never sleeps. Despite a pandemic, there is a need for my expertise and services. The same goes for my clients. Many work in essential operations. Similarly, systems and processes that present fire risk have become essential to our daily operations. We choose to live with these risks by taking proper preventive measures.
I feel called to help by provoking a discussion related to how fire safety/response and COVID-19 prevention/response have some inherent similarities:
For one, there are processes and procedures in place at worksites implemented with the intention of curbing the risk of a fire incident. Some workers look at such regulations/guidelines as arbitrary — extra red tape, if you will, that makes their job harder. However, that mindset can be detrimental, as there’s a lot at stake when people act as if the rules weren’t meant for them. Worst case: Death or injury. Best case: Property damage.
In other words, a cavalier attitude can come with real costs. Instead, workers should approach fire safety on the job with the same attitude and attention given to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and beyond. While protocols might change as new scientific developments come to the fore, that doesn’t mean the rules are any less valid or legitimate. Bottom line: Don’t be selfish or careless and everyone wins.
Second, there needs to be consideration when it comes to the risk-reward calculation. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as a preventative measure is akin to assessing readiness of a sprinkler system. Such a system is designed to be a stop-gap measure to protect job sites and their workers should an incident occur. To be effective, sprinkler systems must be:
- Installed correctly
- Designed in relation to the risk
- Adequately maintained
- Correctly tested
Failure to meet any of these standards can result in a system which may not control a fire, and can mean serious consequences. Similarly, not following the recommended protocols for vaccines (such as not following the prescribed schedule) can leave workers more vulnerable to infection.
If nothing else, I hope this post inspires some introspection. Remember: We’re in this together.