Disasters can strike anytime. For instance, in the event of a fire outbreak within your business premises, it may not only cause property damage and financial loss but can also lead to potential deaths. And as a business owner, part of your responsibility is to provide safe working conditions for your employees and ensure their safety and well-being while at work.
One of the key elements to creating a safe workplace and ensuring fire preparedness includes having clear policies and guidelines. To start, you can conduct seminars on fire evacuation to educate your employees. This way, they can be guided on what to do or where to go during such an emergency.
For instance, each team member should be familiar with emergency equipment like SCSR and SCBA (Self-Contained Self Rescuers and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus), which can aid your employees during a fire emergency. Moreover, having a fire evacuation plan to be shared with all of the team members is also critical.
What Is A Fire Evacuation Plan?
A fire emergency evacuation plan is a detailed document explaining all the procedures employees should follow in the event of a fire emergency. But besides facilitating your team members’ actions during a workplace emergency, an emergency action plan is also required by the law.
Importance Of A Fire Evacuation Plan
Creating a fire evacuation plan after careful consideration of different risk factors within your premises is beneficial in the following ways:
- Increases fire preparedness for employees and other occupants, preventing injuries and saving lives during fire outbreaks.
- Enhances your compliance levels, protecting you from possible penalties.
- Helps prevent extensive fire damage to your property by protecting various business assets from loss or damage.
- Demonstrates a level of care, improving overall employee workplace satisfaction.
Your Fire Evacuation Checklist
An evacuation checklist can help increase the chances of attaining the overall goal during any emergency: to get people out safely from the building in the shortest time possible. Hence, to help you get started, you may consider the following tips to guide you when developing a comprehensive fire evacuation plan:
- Establish A Chain Of Command
Ideally, your evacuation plan should comprise an evacuation team with different roles, including an occupational safety manager, communication lead, route guides, and floor managers. This is essential since an organized team during any emergency, including a fire, can help eliminate confusion and guarantee a smooth sailing evacuation process.
Your occupational safety manager can be given the principal responsibility of planning and preparing the entire plan, including conducting regular evacuation drills. The communication lead activates the mass alarm system that signals a fire breakout, while route guides can calmly direct people to safety zones. On the other hand, floor monitors ensure that everyone is evacuated from the premises and account by providing a headcount to the team leader.
While you can assign these roles to anyone in the organization, consider putting in charge the most responsible members. Moreover, ensure they undergo continuous training and seminars to comprehend and be able to execute their duties and obligations during a fire.
- Identify Your Main Risks
Once your evacuation team is in place, the members must determine the most common risk factors within your premises. For instance, if you’re running a hotel or hospital, would a fire be more likely to originate from the kitchen or boiler rooms? Or would it originate from an electrical fault in a server room?
Understanding the areas with the greatest likelihood of a fire breakout can help guide your team in mapping evacuation routes.
- Map Out Likely Scenarios
Your evacuation plan should also consider possible scenarios during a fire. For instance, are there employees with unique medical conditions that can be triggered by the slightest change in the air caused by smoke? In such a case, you may need to prepare essential medicines and supplies for such team members.
Essentially, a scenario plan allows you to foresee what could go wrong and work to avert it in advance.
- Outline Emergency Guidelines
This step entails listing all evacuation guides, including mapping your floor plans to determine where emergency kits and equipment should be placed and other firefighting essentials. It should also entail identifying all possible evacuation routes and determining the safest exit points and meeting places.
- Ensure Your Building’s Fire Fighting System Is In Good Condition
Another critical step when creating an evacuation plan for your business is determining the necessary fire suppression and prevention equipment on your premises, including fire detectors, alarms, extinguishers, and sprinkler systems. You should also ensure that your firefighting system undergoes regular inspection and maintenance routines.
- Regularly Monitor And Evaluate Your Policies
When you start rehearsing your evacuation plan, it’s advisable to get the input of all team members continuously. This can highlight areas for improvement in workplace safety and what measures you can implement to shorten the time during evacuations.
Your business depends on your workforce and various physical assets to operate and succeed in a competitive environment. A fire outbreak can cause irreparable damages and losses that can significantly set you back, forcing you to close shop in a worst-case scenario.
Although a fire evacuation plan is a requirement by the law, it should be treated as a bare minimum because it lays down preventive measures against a fire outbreak and protective procedures in the event of one.