How to Plan for Workplace Fire Evacuation and Emergencies
Most adults will spend the majority of their time at their workplace. Keeping the workplace safe should be a priority for everyone employed as well as the owners and managers. Any workplace emergency can be potentially deadly. Fires can be particularly devastating for employees as well as the employers.
A workplace fire safety plan should be in place at every business location to make sure any risk is minimized as much as possible. A key part of the fire safety plan should be the work place fire evacuation procedures.
With the proper workplace fire evacuation procedures in place, your employees, visitors and others in the building can safely leave the emergency area and reduce the likelihood of property damage, injury or even death.
Some of the basic procedures that should be included in a workplace fire evacuation plan include:
- Determine what constitutes a fire emergency – basically any situation which could result in smoke, fumes or flames and cause harm should be considered an emergency. Define your emergencies as clearly as possible in your plan. For example, a small cook fire that is quickly extinguished may not require a full evacuation. However a cook fire that results in a large amount of smoke may need an evacuation as a precautionary measure.
- Examine the risks – look for areas of your facility that have a higher risk of fire, and determine what ways can those risks be mitigated. This may include removing rubbish piles, clearing clutter around electrical closets, or installing fire extinguishers in the proper places.
- Install alarms and fire safety equipment – make sure that all smoke alarms and fire extinguishers are in proper working order and employees are trained on how to use the fire safety equipment. Also make sure that employees understand when to evacuate and when to stay and fight a fire.
- Implement an evacuation plan – review the optimum evacuation routes for the most populated areas of your building. Also consider areas where persons may be present and what route is best for them. All rooms should have an evacuation route clearly posted at the doorway. The evacuation plan should be communicated to all employees so they understand where to go in the event of a fire emergency. For example, employees in the kitchen area may hear the smoke alarm, and they should know to immediately head to the exit that is designated for the kitchen area. There should be a central meeting place and a process in place to account for each person who was inside the facility.
- Communicate the plan – managers and owners should clearly understand the fire emergency plan and the evacuation procedures. Employees should be instructed on the process, and then the process should be reviewed on a regular basis. Visitors should be able to quickly spot the posted evacuation route at the nearest doorway and proceed to the exit accordingly.
Reviewing and rehearsing the workplace fire evacuation procedures is the best method to avoid any catastrophic injuries or deaths. The review can also point out areas where additional fire safety equipment might be needed or evacuation routes that should be more clearly defined.