Course 629 Planning for Workplace Emergencies

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Fire Prevention and Protection Plans


Image of firefighters
How will your company respond to a fire?

The most important reason to have a Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) is to prevent loss of life. Developing a FPP is also important to eliminate the causes of fire and prevent loss of property by fire. The FPP should be developed to comply with the OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.39, Fire Prevention Plans.

An effective FPP does all of the following:

  • It provides employees with information and guidelines that will assist them in recognizing, reporting, and controlling fire hazards.
  • It identifies materials that are potential fire hazards and their proper handling and storage procedures.
  • It distinguishes potential ignition sources and the proper control procedures of those materials.
  • The plan describes fire protection equipment and/or systems used to control fire hazards.
  • It identifies persons responsible for maintaining the equipment and systems installed to prevent or control ignition of fires.
  • The FPP identifies persons responsible for the control and accumulation of flammable or combustible material.
  • It describes good housekeeping procedures necessary to insure the control of accumulated flammable and combustible waste material and residues to avoid a fire emergency.
  • The plan provides training to employees with regard to fire hazards to which they may be exposed.

For additional free information on developing fire prevention plans, visit the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) free access webpage.

1. The most important reason to have a Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) is to _____.

a. comply with OSHA
b. prevent loss of property by fire
c. eliminate the causes of fire
d. prevent loss of life

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FPP Responsibilities

Image of responders
Know your responsibilities under the Fire Prevention Plan.

Fire safety is everyone's responsibility. All employees should know how to prevent and respond to fires, and are responsible for adhering to company policy regarding fire emergencies.


Management determines fire prevention and protection policies. They should do the following:

  • Managers should provide adequate hazard controls to provide a safe workplace.
  • Managers should also provide adequate resources and training to employees to encourage fire prevention and the safest possible response in the event of a fire emergency.

Plan Administrator

This person maintains all records pertaining to the plan. The Plan Administrator should also:

  • Develop and administer the fire prevention training program.
  • Ensure that fire control equipment and systems are appropriate and properly maintained.
  • Control fuel source hazards in the workplace.
  • Conduct fire risk surveys and make recommendations for improvement.


Supervisors ensure that employees receive appropriate fire safety training.

  • Supervisors should notify the plan administrator when changes in operation increase the risk of fire.
  • They are also responsible for enforcing fire prevention and protection policies.


All employees should complete all required training before working without supervision. It's important that employees also:

  • Conduct operations safely to limit the risk of fire.
  • Report potential fire hazards to their supervisors.
  • Follow fire emergency procedures.

2. Who is responsible for ensuring employees receive proper training in the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP)?

a. Plan administrators
b. Supervisors
c. Safety committees
d. Safety staff

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Written Plan Components

Image of firetriangle
You must have adequate oxygen, fuel, and heat to have a fire.

A fire prevention plan must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review. However, according to OSHA, if you have 10 or fewer employees you may communicate the plan orally to employees.

At a minimum, your fire prevention plan must include:

  • A list of all major fire hazards, proper handling and storage procedures for hazardous materials, potential ignition sources and their control, and the type of fire protection equipment necessary to control each major hazard;
  • Procedures to control accumulations of flammable and combustible waste materials;
  • Procedures for regular maintenance of safeguards installed on heat-producing equipment to prevent the accidental ignition of combustible materials;
  • The name or job title of employees responsible for maintaining equipment to prevent or control sources of ignition or fires; and
  • The name or job title of employees responsible for the control of fuel source hazards.

An employer must inform employees upon initial assignment to a job of the fire hazards to which they are exposed. An employer must also review with each employee those parts of the fire prevention plan necessary for self-protection.

3. At a minimum the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) must contain _____.

a. potential sources of overexposure
b. procedures to control all substances
c. a list of all major fire hazards
d. corrective maintenance procedures

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FPP Best Practices

Develop a checklist of safe practices in your FPP.

To limit the risk of fires, good housekeeping is critical. All employees should take the following precautions:

  • Minimize the storage of combustible materials.
  • Make sure that doors, hallways, stairs, and other exit routes are kept free of obstructions.
  • Dispose of combustible waste in covered, airtight, metal containers.
  • Use and store flammable materials in well-ventilated areas away from ignition sources.
  • Use only nonflammable cleaning products.
  • Keep incompatible (i.e., chemically reactive) substances away from each other.
  • Perform "hot work" (i.e., welding or working with an open flame or other ignition sources) in controlled and well-ventilated areas.
  • Keep equipment in good working order (i.e., inspect electrical wiring and appliances regularly and keep motors and machine tools free of dust and grease.
  • Ensure that heating units are safeguarded.
  • Report all gas leaks immediately. A responsible person shall ensure that all gas leaks are repaired immediately upon notification.
  • Repair and clean up flammable liquid leaks immediately.
  • Keep work areas free of dust, lint, sawdust, scraps, and similar material.
  • Do not rely on extension cords if wiring improvements are needed, and take care not to overload circuits with multiple pieces of equipment.
  • Ensure that required hot work permits are obtained.
  • Turn off electrical equipment when not in use.

4. Which of the following is an important best practice within the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP)?

a. Keep exit routes free of obstructions
b. Ensure hot work is performed only on live pipelines
c. Keep combustible waste in open, non-flammable, synthetic barrels
d. Ensure flammable liquids are cleaned up as soon as practical

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Hazards that Cause Fires

Image of a welder
Know the hazards in your workplace that cause fire?

Electrical Hazards

Electrical system failures and the misuse of electrical equipment are leading causes of workplace fires. Fires can result from loose ground connections, wiring with frayed insulation, or overloaded fuses, circuits, motors, or outlets.

Portable Heaters

All portable heaters should be approved by the plan administrator. Portable electric heaters should have tip-over protection that automatically shuts off the unit when it is tipped over.

Office Fires Hazards

Fire risks are not limited to industrial facilities. Fires in offices have become more likely because of the increased use of electrical equipment, such as computers.

Welding, Cutting, and Open Flame Work

Welding and cutting and working with open flames are obvious fire hazards in the workplace, and in some cases fire watches need to be positioned close by, and barriers may need to be placed between welding and materials that might catch fire.

Flammable and Combustible Materials

If your workplace contains flammable and combustible materials, the plan administrator should regularly evaluate the presence of those materials.

  • Class A Combustibles: These include common combustible materials (wood, paper, cloth, rubber, and plastics) that can act as fuel and are found in non-specialized areas such as offices.
  • Class B Combustibles: These include flammable and combustible liquids (oils, greases, tars, oil-based paints, and lacquers), flammable gases, and flammable aerosols.

Smoking in the Workplace

In an effective FPP, smoking is prohibited in all company buildings. Certain outdoor areas may also be designated as no smoking areas. The areas in which smoking is prohibited outdoors should be identified by NO SMOKING signs.

5. Under the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP), portable heaters should _____.

a. be approved by the user
b. rely on proper manual shut-off switches
c. have Z359-approved components
d. have tip-over protection

Next Section

123rf photo 32308921
Know where your fire extinguishers are located and check them regularly.

Fire Extinguishing Systems

A fire extinguishing system is an engineered set of components that work together to quickly detect a fire, alert occupants, and extinguish the fire before extensive damage can occur. All system components must be:

  • Designed and approved for use on the specific fire hazards they are expected to control or extinguish.
  • Protected against corrosion or either made or coated with a non-corrosive material if it may be exposed to a corrosive environment.
  • Designed for the climate and temperature extremes to which they will be exposed.

Fixed Extinguishing Systems

Fixed fire extinguishing/suppression systems are commonly used to protect areas containing valuable or critical equipment such as data processing rooms, telecommunication switches, and process control rooms. Their main function is to quickly extinguish a developing fire and alert occupants before extensive damage occurs by filling the protected area with a gas or chemical extinguishing agent.

Portable Extinguishing Systems

Workplace fires and explosions kill hundreds and injure thousands of workers each year. One way to limit the amount of damage due to such fires is to make portable fire extinguishers an important part of your FPP. When used properly, fire extinguishers can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or controlling a fire until additional help arrives.

For more information on fire extinguishing systems and using portable fire extinguishers, see OSHAcademy course 718 Fire Prevention Plans.

6. Which type of fire extinguishing system is commonly used to protect areas containing valuable or critical equipment?

a. Portable extinguishing system
b. Fixed extinguishing system
c. OSHA-approved extinguishing system
d. Regulated extinguishing system

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How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Even though extinguishers come in a number of shapes and sizes, they all operate in a similar manner.  Here's an easy acronym for fire extinguisher use:

P  A  S  S -- Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep

Pull the pin at the top of the extinguisher that keeps the handle from being accidentally pressed.

Aim the nozzle toward the base of the fire.

Squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher. Position yourself approximately 8 feet away from the fire. If you release the handle, the discharge will stop.

Sweep the nozzle back and forth at the base of the fire. After the fire appears to be out, watch it carefully since it may re-ignite!

Make sure all employees who are expected to use fire extinguishers if a controllable fire occurs are properly trained with hands-on practice. There's no OSHA requirement to actually extinguish a fire or discharge a fire extinguisher during training. However, each employee should handle the fire extinguisher and demonstrate they can perform the PASS steps.

Please click on the video below to learn more about the PASS technique:

7. When using a fire extinguisher, be sure use the _____ method.

a. On, Sweep, Hold, Aim
b. Pull, Aim, Squeeze, Sweep
c. Behind, Load, Aim, Sweep, Train
d. Hold, Operate, Squeeze, Empty

Next Section

FPP Training Requirements

Image of firefighters
Make sure everyone is properly trained on what to do.

Employers should train workers about fire hazards in the workplace and about what to do in a fire emergency.

Management Training Responsibilities. Unless a specific manager is designated, all managers should be responsible for coordinating with the Plan Administrator for training all employees covered under the FPP.

  • All managers should be educated to understand their FPP responsibilities including inspection and drill procedures.
  • Managers should also make sure all employees who might be expected to use portable fire extinguishers are properly trained.
  • Supervisors should train employees about the fire hazards associated with the specific materials and processes to which they are exposed, and maintain written documentation of the training.

Many of the topics taught in the FPP training may be presented in the classroom. If employees are expected to use portable fire extinguishers, they must participate in "hands-on" exercises that help them understand the procedures. Hands-on training also gives employees an opportunity to demonstrate to trainers that they have the skills required to use fire extinguishers.

At a minimum, FPP Training should include all of the following topics:

  • review OSHA requirements contained in 29 CFR 1910.38, Emergency Action Plans,
  • review OSHA requirements contained in 29 CFR 1910.39, Fire Prevention Plans,
  • person(s) responsible for Control of Fuel Source Hazards,
  • the location of the company FPP and how it can be accessed,
  • good fire-prevention housekeeping practices and equipment maintenance,
  • alarm systems and evacuation routes,
  • proper response and notification in the event of a fire,
  • the use of portable fire extinguishers, and
  • recognition of potential fire hazards.

8. In the Fire Prevention Plan (FPP), when must employees be given hands-on training?

a. When given responsibility to inspect equipment
b. When given supervisory responsibilities
c. When acting as fire wardens
d. When responsible for operating fire extinguishers

Check your Work

Click on the "Check Quiz Answers" button to grade your quiz and see your score. You will receive a message if you forgot to answer one of the questions. After clicking the button, the questions you missed will be listed below. You can correct any missed questions and check your answers again.


Optional Video

This video, produced by the City of Woodbury, MN, is a great short video that shows what you can do to help prevent fires at work.

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