Not many people have actually used a fire extinguisher, which is obviously a good thing if it means the need hasn’t arisen. In the event of an incident, however, you will want to have tested putting out a fire, which you can do on the University's practical fire protection course. Photo: Getty images.2023-09-20
Learn how to use a fire extinguisher
The University's practical fire protection training course allows you to try putting out fires using a fire extinguisher.
The University recommends that all employees should complete a fire protection course involving both a theoretical and practical element at least once every five years. Fire protection training forms part of systematic fire safety efforts that all organisations must carry out.
The theoretical part consists of an online course on the Staff Portal, which takes about half an hour. The practical part takes about one hour and is currently conducted outdoors in a controlled environment.
Practical fire protection training basically involves learning how to use a fire extinguisher. Most of us have probably never used a fire extinguisher, so it’s good to practise in a calm environment.
“The practical fire protection training is designed to make you feel confident in using a fire extinguisher,” explains Joakim Ohldén, Security Officer at the University Administration. The course also provides a basis to more effectively assess whether you can extinguish a fire yourself using an extinguisher without endangering yourself.
Alerting, warning and potentially extinguishing
In the event of a fire, the public authority and its staff on site are responsible until the emergency services arrive. This includes – if possible without risking anyone’s life – trying to extinguish the fire.
“That's when the fire extinguishers come into use. But I must stress that there is no requirement to try to extinguish. However, you should always alert the emergency services and warn people nearby.
“But I feel that everybody likely wants to help save lives, research results and buildings so that we can quickly resume operations after a fire. Practical fire protection training dramatically increases our chances of minimising the damage from a fire.”
The practical fire protection course is usually well attended.
“There is a lot of interest; employees want to take the course. After the pandemic, there is also pent-up demand as training courses were put on ice. You can also benefit from the course privately, of course.”
Common mistake we make in case of fire
One of the most common mistakes we make in the event of a fire is not acting on the signals we receive and not evacuating quickly enough in case of a fire alarm.
“For example, a while ago we had a gas alarm at Ångström. Students who were on the premises did not perceive any danger and therefore remained seated. There are also examples of employees closing the door to their office and continuing to work when the fire and evacuation alarm sounds, putting their lives at risk.”
Digital firefighting simulator in the future
Planning is also under way for the practical fire protection course to be carried out using a digital fire extinguishing simulator in the future. This will involve having a physical fire extinguisher that uses a laser to simulate extinguishing a fire on a screen.
“This gives us several advantages. We can make practical fire protection training more accessible to departments by allowing fire protection officers, once trained, to deliver practical fire protection training themselves.”
At each department or equivalent, the heads of department must have appointed a fire protection officer who, among other things, helps with systematic fire protection initiatives.
“The digital firefighting simulator also allows us to simulate different fire scenarios at our premises, which means that the training can be better adapted to activities.”
The digital firefighting simulator is planned to be operational in 2024.