Although we hope you never need it, a well-structured fire evacuation plan is an important part of your business’ Fire Risk Assessment (FRA). A seamless evacuation process is not just a requirement under The Regulatory Reform (Fire Saftey) Order 2005, it is essential for ensuring your employees fully understand their roles and responsibilities should the worst happen.
Does your business have a fire evacuation plan? If the answer is yes, do you actually know what it is?
Here are 10 points that your plan should cover, or you should be considering in a plan update…
Make sure all employees know what to do if they discover a fire
- Alerting the building by activating the nearest alarm call-point
- If trained and it’s safe to do so, tackling the fire with available extinguishers
Make sure EVERYONE is aware of the situation
- Consider the needs of people who have hearing/visual impairments because they will need extra assistance
- Will the call-point alert them? If not, make sure other employees warn them and assist them with the rest of the fire evacuation procedure – if necessary
Did you know that more than 1 in 10 employees DON’T know where their fire assembly point it?
- Make sure everyone is clear on where to go
- Ensure that all employees leave the building using their nearest, but, above all, their safest, exit
- Your designated Fire Marshal(s) should sweep the premises to check everyone has evacuated
Identify your escape routes
- Make sure exit doors that are to be used as escape routes are clearly highlighted with signs
- Make sure there are no obstructions to these exits
Store your equipment sensibly
- Fire Fighting equipment should be stored in common areas of the building and also nearby to fire exit doors
- Make sure all your employees are aware that only the designated Fire Marshals or trained individuals are permitted to use fire extinguishers
Are your employees aware of their duties?
- If you have visitors or customers on-site during a fire evacuation, your employees need to understand that they are responsible for ensuring they are escorted out of the building and to the designated assembly point
- Make sure your employers are confident in doing the above procedure
- Make sure your Fire Marshals are on top of their duties. These duties could be things like contacting the fire brigade, checking windows are closed, conducting a role call to ensure everyone is out of the building and many more.
Have you covered all bases?
- Make sure clear arrangements are in place for the safe evacuation of people deemed to be at greater risk i.e. young persons, people with disabilities, contractors etc
Who calls 999?
- Make a clear decision on who is responsible for calling the fire brigade and other services if necessary
- Have a back-up option of who will fulfil this duty, should the designated person be absent on the day. Similarly, make sure this individual is confident with taking on this responsibility if required
When the fire brigade arrive…
- You should have a procedure in place for the sole reason that everyone knows their role once the fire brigade arrives
- Your Fire Marshal should notify the fire brigade of any specific risk when they arrive e.g. the location of highly flammable materials
Keep on top of your training
For your fire evacuation plan to be effective, make sure…
- Run annual fire drills for all employees
- Give all employees annual fire briefing
- Keep records and annually review everyone’s training
- Provide the Fire Marshal with sufficient training