13 Nov Fire Evacuation Checklist – Get Out Safe
Getting stuck in a building during a fire is a person’s worst nightmare. The owner of the building or the employer is responsible for keeping people safe and avoiding such incidents through proper safety precautions, a fire evacuation checklist & a fire safety plan. In this article we will look at the steps you need to take and better learn the responsibility of others that will dictate weather or not the unwanted evacuation runs smoothly.
In the United Kingdom, every building owner must make their staff aware of the actions to be taken in case of a fire. For this purpose, a Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan (FEEP) is issued to the employers, which includes the procedures to be followed by the employees during a fire emergency and other arrangements such as calling the fire brigade.
In short, it consists of a proper evacuation plan, so that there is minimal damage in case a fire erupts. The following are some of the basics of a fire evacuation plan that should be communicated to the staff.
1. Discovery of Fire
What is the first thing to do when a fire is discovered? Often, people panic in such an event and put their and others lives in danger.
The staff should be trained to hold themselves together, raise the alarm and contact the emergency services.
If it’s a small scale fire, it can be extinguished using a fire extinguishe that should be available on all floors of the building. But in any case, safety comes first and evacuation should be practiced and carried out.
2. Raising a Fire Alarm
The staff should know the location of the fire alarm call points and how to use them so that they can act right away.
Once a fire alarm has been raised, the staff should immediately move towards the emergency exits. If you’re the designated fire warden, then you have additional duties, which include pointing the people to the emergency escape routes and helping those who require assistance.
3. Escape Routes
It is very important to keep the emergency exits clear of boxes, furniture, or anything that might block it, even for a short period. The staff should be well familiar with all of the routes and exits around the building so that they can get themselves and other people out without any confusion.
Frequent emergency drills are extremely effective for the staff to know exactly how to keep control and where to head if a fire breaks out.
4. Calling the Rescue Service
Calling the emergency services plays a vital in a safe evacuation. This responsibility lies with the fire warden. As soon as a fire erupts and the alarm has been raised, the fire warden should immediately call the rescue service, so that timely action can be taken to keep the fire from spreading and causing more damage.
5. Disabled People
Often there are staff members or people present in the building who require assistance during the evacuation process. These may include pregnant women, disabled people, or the elderly. There should be a personal emergency and evacuation plan so that any additional equipment required for their evacuation can be arranged on an urgent basis or should be available at hand.
6. Evacuation Maps
Another important part of the evacuation process are the emergency exit maps. These maps should be clearly displayed and fire exit routes should be properly marked, so that the people present inside can easily find their way out. The appointed fire warden will be responsible to ensure the evacuation runs smoothly.
But what other responsibilities does a fire warden have?
Duties of a Fire Warden During an Evacuation
A fire warden is a person especially selected from different areas of a building, to manage the evacuation process and make sure that everyone is out safely. They are given proper training to provide assistance in case a fire erupts.
- Showing People the Way Out
Another important duty of a fire warden is to point people to the emergency exits. Visitors and other people, who are not part of the workforce might not be aware of how an evacuation takes place. They might panic and put themselves at risk. A fire warden is supposed to calm them down and lead them to safety.
- Extra Assistance
There might be people who may require some extra assistance during the evacuation process, such as disabled people and pregnant women. They might need wheelchairs to reach the emergency exits safely. A fire warden is supposed to help these people during such an event.
- Tackling Small Fires
If the fire breakout is of a small scale, a fire warden should use fire extinguishers to put it out, without putting themselves at risk. If the fire is not being handled by an extinguisher, they should lead others and themselves out and leave the matter to the firefighters.
- Roll Call
When everyone is out in the safe zone, the fire warden must run a roll call to make sure the whole staff is present and nobody is missing.
Fire Evacuation Drills
Workplaces should carry out regular fire drills, so that all the employees are well-prepared when something similar happens in reality. According to the laws in the United Kingdom, a minimum of one emergency drill should be done every year, and in case new employees have been hired, it can be carried out more than once. All this, so that the whole staff are prepared and the evacuation process is engraved.
Adopting the adequate fire safety measures is the only way to minimize the risk.
What Is a Fire Evacuation Drill?
A fire evacuation drill are a safety measure that helps the occupied people to safely exit the affected premises and is a procedure which imitates the steps that would be taken during a fire event for evacuation.
These simulated procedures ensure that the employees are familiar with the plan and also aim at making the evacuation quick, effective, and safe.
Benefits of a Fire Drill?
The major benefit of the fire evacuation drill is to ensure that everyone in the premises can get to the assembly point during a fire. Also, it helps in evaluating the procedure and identifies the flaws in the plan which may be present, and to make any changes if required.
Taking any safety step wrong might put life in danger. Fire drills and evacuation traning ensures that everyone will evacuate safely during a fire incident. Similarly, if there is any blockage in the exit or if they are not wide enough for every person in the building to go out in time, the procedure should be changed accordingly.
The fire safety fire warden or marshal (Learn more about fire marshal training) also better learn about their role in the evacuation procedure, enabling them to perform their roles effectively when needed.
Steps for Fire Evacuation Drill
Evacuation drills are not only helpful in case of fire but also assist in preparing for other emergencies such as arson or earthquakes. The following are some simple steps of fire evacuation.
Before conducting the drill, preparation of a detailed fire evacuation plan is required. This plan must include all the exit routes and actions entail in reaching the assembly point. Moreover, the names of fire wardens and marshals, together with their role should be included in the evacuation plan.
Once a detailed plan is made, now it’s time for training. It should aim at facilitating the personnel to understand the importance of fire evacuation drill and make sure that they are well trained for it. Without preparation, the evacuation plan is of no use.
- Safe Point
A successful evacuation completes when everyone gathers at the safe spot mentioned in the plan. These points are of key importance and fire marshals should check if everyone reaches the spot or not. Large premises may have multiple safe points outside the buildings away from the fire.
Rehearsing the fire evacuation drill guarantees that your employees are well trained and can evacuate in an emergency situation like fire. Additionally, the fire safety team also understands the weaknesses by performing mock drills.
What Are The Three Categories Of Fire Evacuation?
1. Simultaneous Evacuation
Simultaneous evacuation means that all staff and work colleuges must evacuate the premisis together after being alerted of the emergency situation by the means of a full building fire alarm system.
2. Vertical or Horizontal Phased Evacuation
A vertical or horizontal evacuation will allow people who are at immediate risk have priority in the evacuation over those who are not, and is for buildings with multiple floors or a complex layout.
3. Staff Alarm Evacuation (Silent Alarm)
In many cases, it is not appropriate for the immediate safe evacuation of people. Often in larger premises, a silent alarm initially alerts staff allowing them time to prepare a safe evacuation.
4. Defend in Place
A defend in case evacuation requires staff to get to a safe place within the building. It is mainly practised in healthcare for people who are physically unable to get out safely.
What Are The 5 P’s of Fire Evacuation?
People & Pet Supplies
Includes people and pets, livestock and other animals and supplies
Prescriptions and medical equipment, medicines, hearing aids, glasses & batteries
Hard copies of important documents, or digital copies stored on an external hard-drive. Documents include insurance, statements, legal letters and contracts
Includes food, money, clothes, baby-ware, water, credit cards, mobile phones and first aid kits.
Items include things such as memorable photos and other valuable items that are irreplaceable.
Fire Evacuation Checklist: Conclusion
To carry out a well-planned fire evacuation, the entire workforce needs to be properly trained through frequent drills. An emergency fire evacuation checklist & and plan should be on every floor of the building in plain sight. Fire escape routes should be properly marked and kept clear, so that people can make their way to safety without panicking.
If proper guidelines are followed, casualties and injuries can be minimized or better, avoided.