15 fam 830

OBO/OPS/FIRE emergency action plans

(CT:OBO-95;   11-29-2019)
(Office of Origin:  OBO)

15 fam 831  post fire emergency action plan

(CT:OBO-95;   11-29-2019)

a. The Post Emergency Action Committee (EAC) is responsible for developing an Emergency Action Plan (EAP), which, among other things, provides guidance for posts when dealing with a fire.  Fire, heat, and smoke move rapidly through a building; thus, it is critical that all occupants are familiar with the procedures before an emergency strikes and are ready to evacuate as quickly and safely as possible.

b. 12 FAH-1 Annex B contains the Department’s guidance, organized sequentially and grouped by roles, for post personnel to follow when a fire is discovered.  Post's EAC should carefully review/modify the lists and add additional roles as needed.  Due to the critical circumstances of ensuring accountability on compound and keeping personnel safe in a fire event, and as fire may be a component of a larger, more complex attack, incident command must be delegated to the Regional Security Officer (RSO) or Post Security Officer(PSO).  Marine Security Guards (MSGs) and local guards play an integral role in the first response to a fire emergency.

c.  The Management Officer, USAID Executive Officer, General Services Officer, Facility Manager, and Locally Employed Maintenance staff handle technical support for a fire emergency and are not to be assigned as the incident commander.  That responsibility lies with the RSO or PSO.

d. OBO/OPS/FIRE assists with the development of posts' EAPs and reviews EAPs during their fire and life safety visits to posts.

e. The plan must designate personnel for the following positions:

(1)  Floor wardens to facilitate evacuation of each floor or area;

(2)  Fire warden to coordinate the evacuation with floor wardens and to account for all personnel; and

(3)  Fire department liaison to coordinate fire department activities in relation to security requirements.

f.  Fire emergency actions at post must be based on the following priority order:

(1)  Sound the fire alarm to provide an initial notification of a possible fire.  Assume that any fire jeopardizes the safety of occupants.  Do not delay sounding or responding to the alarm just to determine the size and nature of the fire, as this may waste the time needed to complete rapid evacuation of occupants;

      NOTE:  When a building is equipped with a full-fire alarm detection system, the fire alarm system must only be silenced after it has been determined that the building is fire safe.  The “Selectone System” or other emergency notification system (ENS) must not be used in place of the fire alarm system to direct personnel to stay in place or delay evacuation when the fire alarm system has been activated;

(2)  Initiate evacuation of occupants immediately.  When notifying occupants to evacuate, instruct them to use the nearest safe exit route and assemble in a designated place outside the building.  The RSO should use available security personnel to safeguard assembly areas;

      NOTE:  Personnel that smell smoke or see fire should ensure the alarm is activated, then immediately evacuate;

(3)  Notify the fire department immediately.  Do not delay notifying the fire department just to investigate the size and nature of the fire.  The RSO must be prepared to coordinate fire department activities, including fire apparatus' entry onto the U.S. embassy/consulate compound;

(4)  Continue to evacuate the building.  If the fire is located and is small, attempt to extinguish it with one fire extinguisher only but only if this action presents minimal risk of personal injury.  Post personnel must not look for another fire extinguisher if the fire continues to burn or enter into an area of an uncontrolled interior fire without specialized training, knowledge, and protective equipment;

(5)  Account for all personnel, including visitors, after evacuation.  Accountability results (including a list of missing or unaccounted for) must be reported to the Chief of Mission/Principal Officer (COM/PO), the U.S. representative to an international organization (when PO), RSO, if applicable, or the designated officer assigned by the COM; and

(6)  Secure the fire scene after extinguishment.

g. Post management is responsible for distributing and displaying the action plan to familiarize employees with its contents, their duties, and whom they should contact for further information.  Employee familiarization must take place within the first 30 days after arrival at post, and on an annual basis thereafter.  OBO/OPS/FIRE recommends post display the action plan in common places or in a location easily accessible so employees can read it where notices are customarily posted.

h. Post's "Emergency Preparedness Coordinator" (EPC) in coordination with the Facility Manager, RSO, and MSGs must conduct fire evacuation drills in accordance with 12 FAH-1 H-762, Post-Wide Drills.  The frequency of drills is determined by cumulative ratings in the two Security Environment Threat List (SETL) categories: terrorism and political violence (see 12 FAH-6 H-012, Threat Categories and Levels).  During the drill, all personnel must evacuate the facility.  Post management must evaluate the plan’s effectiveness and implement actions to improve performance whenever necessary.


(CT:OBO-95;   11-29-2019)

a. Natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) leaks increase the risk of a fire and explosion.  Personnel that suspect a natural gas leak inside their residence or workplace must immediately stop what they are doing, evacuate the premises, and contact the appropriate authority, Post One, or U.S. embassy/consulate office.

b. Posts must review their procedures for reporting and responding to natural gas emergencies annually.  Posts must ensure emergency procedures exist for natural gas and LPG leaks and that natural gas and LPG reporting protocols are clear, simple, and unambiguous.  Individuals in a position to receive emergency calls must understand the severity of a gas emergency and know exactly what to do next.

c.  Post Facility Managers or Post Occupational Safety and Health Officers (POSHOs) must coordinate inspections of residences/apartment buildings, which have natural gas and ensure the local gas authority has certified the lines and valves.  The inspection results must be kept on file for review during fire and life safety visits from OBO/OPS/FIRE.

d. Personnel must follow the procedures below for any suspected gas leak:

(1)  Immediately stop what you are doing and evacuate the residence or building and move at least 100 feet away from the structure.  Treat the incident as you would a fire emergency;

(2)  Do not turn on or off any electrical or mechanical devices (i.e., computers, lights, appliances, flashlights):  these devices can all cause a static spark, which may ignite any gas in the air;

(3)  Do not start any vehicles or use a garage door opener;

(4)  Do not try to find the source of the natural gas leak, or attempt to turn off the gas;

(5)  Do not open or close any windows;

(6)  Use a neighbor's phone or, once at least 100 feet away from the structure, your cell phone to call for help.  Once outside, follow the mission emergency notification procedures; and

(7)  Do not re-enter the house/building for any reason until cleared by a certified gas professional or emergency service worker.


(CT:OBO-95;   11-29-2019)

a. All employees must be familiar with the importance of properly securing and storing fire accelerants (combustible and flammable materials) and such weapons of opportunity.  This is driven by the fact that these weapons of opportunity can cause extensive damage during attacks on U.S. embassies, consulates and diplomatic missions.  To ensure the safety and security of mission property and personnel, all materials that can be used as weapons of opportunity including, but not limited to, flammable or combustible liquids, hand and power tools, rebar, rigid conduit, loose scaffolding, and other loose construction materials or equipment must be stored as securely as possible when not in use to prevent access to and use by unauthorized persons.

b. OBO/OPS/FIRE's Fire Protection Publications list specific plans for storage of certain hazardous and nonhazardous materials:

(1)  Hazardous Materials and Chemicals – reference Fire Protection Guide Section F-5.  Proper storage and protection methods, protection of personnel, product identification methods, and methods for cleaning up spills are addressed.  Specific questions regarding identification and/or handling of potentially hazardous materials should be directed to the Office of Safety, Health, and Environmental Management, in the OBO's Directorate for Operations (OBO/OPS/SHEM);

(2)  Emergency Generators – safe handling and storage are referenced in Fire Protection Guide Section F-6;

(3)  Flammable and Combustible Liquids – storage, handling, and use of flammable and combustible liquids, including waste liquids, are referenced in Fire Protection Guide Section F-7; and

(4)  12 FAH-5 H-470, Securing Fuel Storage on Diplomatic Facilities.


(CT:OBO-95;   11-29-2019)

a. OBO/OPS/FIRE is responsible for the Emergency Escape Breathing Device (EEBD) program and provides new and replacement masks to high threat/high risk missions.

b. EEBD Use and Limitations: The OCENCO M-20.2 Emergency Escape Breathing Device (EEBD) is a respiratory protective device providing an oxygen supply for a maximum of 10 minutes to allow personnel to escape from atmospheres containing toxic gas or in atmospheres that do not have enough oxygen, usually as a result from a fire.  An integrated Teflon hood is designed to protect the face and eyes from heat, common chemicals, and smoke.  Once activated, the EEBD provides breathable air, independent of the surrounding atmosphere to a person escaping from any area of toxic gas or oxygen deficiency.  It is important to note that the EEBD must be used only for escaping a facility and not used for purposes that would delay a safe exit from the building.  Additionally, due to the limitations, the EEBD is not designed to enter or re-enter a smoke or fire environment; only escape.  Personnel must only use the EEBD for its intended and designed purpose.

c.  Location/Distribution:  Designated high threat/high risk posts must determine the distribution of the OCENCO EEBD based on the expected occupancy of the safe havens and safe areas as indicated in 12 FAH-5 Appendix H 20(d), Safe Haven/Area and Compound Emergency Sanctuary; the EEBDs are only to be placed in designated safe havens and safe areas.  When post management requests EEBDs, they must take into account that these units are not intended to be issued to each individual assigned to a mission.

d. Inspection:  The EEBD is defined as life-saving equipment and not emergency supplies as outlined in 12 FAH-1 H-770.  The only inspections required for the M-20.2 EEBD are visual inspections.  Every two years remove the M-20.2 EEBD from the orange secondary container but do not open the clear case to inspect the M-20.2 EEBD:

(1)  Visually inspect the M-20.2 EEBD for indications of abuse.  If any of the signs below are present, remove the M-20.2 EEBD from service.  If the M-20.2 EEBD fails any of the inspections below, it must be removed from service:

(a)  Case is cracked, burned, deformed or excessively worn;

(b)  Signs of heat distortion;

(c)  Damaged latch or cover band;

(d)  Dirt, debris, or moisture visible through the case;

(e)  Belt loops broken;

(f)   Missing tamper indicating ball;

(2)  Read the pressure gauge.  The tip of the white needle on the gauge is normally in the green zone.  If the needle is in the red zone or on the white zero pressure mark, remove the M-20.2 EEBD from service.  If the view of the gauge is obstructed, remove the M-20.2 EEBD from service.  If the surrounding air temperature is above 38º C (100°F), and the needle is in the red zone, above the green zone, allow the M-20.2 EEBD to cool down to 18º - 24º C (64° - 75°F) for 24 hours.  If the needle returns to the green zone, keep the M-20.2 EEBD in service.  If the needle does not return to the green zone, remove the M-20.2 EEBD from service;

(3)  Check the LIFE DATE on the Information Label.  If the M-20.2 EEBD has exceeded the LIFE DATE, remove the M-20.2 EEBD from service; and

(4)  Check the BELT WORN date on the Band Label.  If the belt worn M-20.2 EEBD has exceeded the 5-year belt-ware period, either put it in an orange secondary container and place in a stored position or return it for factory service.

e. Training:  Personnel must be trained on the proper operation and use of the OCENCO EEBD in order to maximize the likelihood of survival in a smoke compromised environment.  OBO/OPS/FIRE currently provides training on the use of the EEBD during the Foreign Affairs Counter Terrorism (FACT) training.  OBO/OPS/FIRE will also provide training during the biennial fire and life safety visit to posts by the OBO Fire Marshals.  Post leadership must also train personnel within one month of the initial receipt of the EEBDs and thereafter ensure all personnel receive refresher training on a yearly basis.  Post Management is directed to review the Fire Protection Guide, Section C-3 (Emergency Escape Breathing Device); the OCENCO EEBD training streaming video on BNET; and data provided by the manufacturer in developing this training program.  Posts are required to send OBO/OPS/FIRE a statement of certification confirming that all personnel at post were trained on the use of these masks.

f.  EEBD Operational Concept:

(1)  Oxygen automatically flows from the cylinder to the breathing bag when the device is pulled from its clear base;

(2)  During inhalation, and whenever the bag flattens, the oxygen regulator increases the oxygen flow into the breathing bag;

(3)  During inhalation and exhalation, the lithium hydroxide scrubber absorbs carbon dioxide;

(4)  During inhalation, oxygen passes from the breathing bag through the scrubber and into the mouthpiece;

(5)  During very low work rates, such as when the user is at rest waiting rescue, the oxygen regulator supplies more oxygen than the user can consume.  When this occurs, the excess gas automatically vents through the relief valve;

(6)  The EEBD operates automatically.  This includes the starting of the oxygen flow, the increased oxygen flow rate during high work periods, and the venting of excess gas through the relief valve.


(CT:OBO-95;   11-29-2019)

a. The ultimate responsibility for restoring facilities' functionality after a disaster lies with OBO.  In the aftermath of a crisis affecting U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad, the mission of the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations is to return post's facilities to functional and productive status as soon as possible after the emergency has been mitigated.  If the facilities are destroyed beyond repair, OBO helps posts to resume operations in an interim facility until a permanent facility is available.  OBO will provide response to the affected post for short-term and long-term recovery.

b. The Department of State’s Operations Center (S/ES-O) must immediately notify the OBO Duty Officer of a disaster at a post.  The OBO Duty Officer notifies the OBO/OPS/FIRE Director, OBO Director, and the Managing Director of OBO/OPS.

c.  The OBO Disaster Response Plan (DRP) guides the OBO Senior Staff and the OBO Disaster Response Committee (DRC) in managing the bureau's response to a major disaster overseas.  The senior staff will be briefed and kept apprised of the situation by the Disaster Response Committee Leader (OBO/OPS/FIRE Director).

d. The DRP addresses three basic goals of managing/mitigating a crisis situation – Preparation, Response, and Recovery.  To achieve these goals, the plan requires the execution of several implementation subcategories:

·         Organization

·         Notification

·         OBO Disaster Response Operations Center Activation

·         Incident Specific Planning

·         Deployment

·         Equipment/Flyaway Kits

·         Operations

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