Draw floorplan, give to firemen, everybody wins

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By Jenna McKenna

Cedar Key Fire Chief Robert Robinson addressed the Cedar Key City Commission recently to notify residents of the fire department?s new project to develop a fire emergency plan for every business on the island.

The plan, which Robinson stressed is not a fire inspection, is designed to help Cedar Key's firefighters have as complete knowledge as possible of the structure, layout and potential hazards of the city's commercial buildings.

Last week, business owners received a packet that included a sheet of graph paper for drawing and a page of detailed instructions. Robinson wants business owners, who know the layout of their buildings better than anyone, to make a drawing of their buildings on the graph paper, including all the important details.

Some of the details firefighters want to know include the location of all doors and windows. Business owners should especially point out which of those doors and windows cannot be opened.

They also want to know exactly where the gas, water and power shutoffs are, as well as the location of the fire alarm panel and sprinkler connection, if any. Business owners should also let the department know if the building has any special or unexpected hazards.

Other details that will help the department plan how to fight a fire at a given location include the description of the business (what it does) and the number of employees normally in the building.

Business owners are asked to be sure to include all contact information, including the name, physical address and mailing address of both the business owner and the building owner. Include a primary phone number and at least one emergency phone contact.

Once the fire department has the completed floor plan drawing and information survey completed for a business, firefighters will conduct a walkthrough of the premises in order to better inform themselves of the details of each building.

The outcome, Robinson said, should be a more informed, safer firefighting crew. In addition, the planning program should enable the Cedar Key Fire Department to secure a lower ISO rating, leading to lower fire insurance rates for everyone in Cedar Key.

Business owners who have not received the fire department's survey by today are urged to call the fire department at 543-5192 and leave their name, address and telephone number for a survey packet to be mailed, or send an email to cedarkeyfire@bellsouth.net.