Original Date: 07/25/2005
Revision Date: 09/12/2006
Best Practice : Fire Protection and Life Safety Organization
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems implemented an innovative and aggressive Fire Protection and Life Safety Organization. All facets of training and prevention are well-planned and are continuously reviewed. Innovative uses of technology such as infrared imaging equipment and inventive hands-on lab training are hallmarks of Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems. Protection of the health and safety of people (occupants, responders, and the community)
Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems (NGES) evaluated the impact of fire on life safety and business operations and established a well-planned and aggressive program to address this risk. NGES is in an environment where fewer plants and suppliers, less redundancy, less “safety stock,” new process hazards, and higher costs of interruption exist. NGES established the following goals to address these potential risks:
Ensured business continuity (with the goal to minimize downtime and to affect critical operations and equipment)
Protection of NGES property (buildings, contents, and environment)
NGES’ fire protection and life-safety efforts focus on proactive intervention, including the mitigation of risks to people and business continuity. NGES accomplished this through education, risk mitigation, and a well-trained emergency response process. A well-planned education and training program is in place and is coordinated with the Industrial, Health and Safety Department. The program includes evacuation drills, disaster control training, traditional and web-based employee training, Intranet bulletins, a showcase corner, hands-on extinguisher training, and an innovative SINS (Say It’s Not So) lab with more than 70 common fire and hazardous material discrepancies that can, and have been found, in the NGES workplace. The SINS Lab gives employees a practical hands-on view of real-world fire and chemical hazards that are remembered more readily than in a standard classroom training environment. Regular audits and inspections are also conducted to confirm compliance and find problem areas that are frequently fed back to the training process for areas of weakness.
Readiness of building passive systems is checked during regular inspections. A weekly meeting with sprinkler and fire alarm subcontractors ensures that in-process building by the Facilities Department is addressed by the passive systems. A well-trained Emergency Response Team is the active part of the system should preventive measures fail. The team has been trained at the University of Maryland’s Fire Rescue Program and has received training in confined- space entry and hazardous material handling. NGES has also pioneered an innovative use of the portable infrared imaging system for hot work, using this device to ensure that no unseen hot spots are smoldering after welding.
All NGES’ efforts are part of a continuous, closed-loop evaluation process. Assessments are performed where risks are identified and categorized and regulatory requirements are reviewed against actual plant status; plans are developed using the best solutions to address identified risks and regulatory obligations; new procedures, guidance, training, and resources are implemented as necessary; and test or evaluation reviews are performed to assess the effectiveness of the changes and to update controls as needed.
NGES has a well-managed and aggressive program and is continually looking for ways to improve performance through better training and prevention.
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