One of the biggest risks in the workplace, and one that isn’t always preventable, is a fire.
If your office is based in a building that houses other businesses, the likelihood of a fire is increasedas you cannot be sure that the other organisations in the building have the appropriate control measures in place. Hence, you should always be prepared for a fire.
The biggest cause of workplace fires is electrical faults, and though it is your duty to regularly check outlets and appliances to reduce the risk of a fire, accidents can still happen.
By putting an evacuation procedure in place and practicing it regularly you can ensure that your employees are safe and calm if a fire breaks out.
Furthermore, fire drills are not just for fires.
An evacuation plan is important for power outages, gas leaks or any other emergency which requires you to quickly and safely get out of the building.
How to Conduct an Effective Fire Evacuation
You should first put in place a fire marshal or two, depending on the size of your business, who will be responsible for making sure that all employees are out of the building and communicating with the fire department and other officials when they arrive on the scene.
This appointed person(s) will need to undergo the appropriate training and be provided with clothing that clearly indicates their status during an evacuation such as a hi-vis jacket or labelled helmet.
You then need to make sure that fire exits, directional signs and emergency exits are clearly marked around the premises so that if any visitors are on site, they are able to find a safe way out without having gone through an evacuation procedure.
It’s also important to regularly check that these exits are clear and not blocked by any boxes, furniture or other potential obstructions.
Once the safest route has been mapped out and a meeting point has been chosen – a safe distance from the premises – this must be communicated to all staff.
They must be told exactly what to do if the fire alarm goes off and shown how to exit the building and where to wait whilst the situation is being handled.
They will then go through a registration, or head count, conducted by the fire marshal so that any missing person(s) is quickly identified.
Then, it’s time to go ahead and practice the evacuation procedure.
The first time around is a great way of testing that the plan is the most efficient and practical option, and if so, this should stay in place and be carried out at least once a year.
It’s important to remember that the most effective fire evacuations are ones that are clearly communicated to employees, practiced regularly and constantly improved upon as staff numbers increase or changes to the premises are made.
If you would like any advice on or support with putting your fire evacuation plan into place, you can book a free consultation with us on 0845 2626 260.