Fire safety and evacuation plans for businesses
A hugely important aspect of fire safety for businesses is ensuring people know how to respond in the event of a fire. A swift and organised evacuation of a building can literally save lives when fire is involved. To make sure your business and employees are prepared in case of a fire, you should have in place fire safety and evacuation plans and provide sufficient fire safety training for your employees. In this article, we will discuss what these plans should encompass and why they’re important.
Fire evacuation plans
All businesses should have a written fire emergency evacuation plan which describes the actions that should be taken in the event of a fire. For small businesses, this should be summarised and simply explained in a fire action notice which is displayed in an accessible location for staff. For larger businesses, a more detailed evacuation procedure will be needed and more detailed instructions of the specific procedure to be followed should be displayed.
The fire evacuation plan should cover aspects such as:
- Fire evacuation strategy: generally, this will be simultaneous evacuation whereby all your employees will use the fire escapes to evacuate the building immediately upon hearing the fire alarm.
- Escape routes: all routes should be clearly marked, easily accessible, short, direct and kept clear at all times. If you have a large premises, you may have several different routes for different areas/groups of people to ensure all your employees can exit the building quickly.
- Emergency apparatus: fire escape doors should be clear and easy to operate. Emergency lighting should be provided if necessary.
- Fire fighting equipment: suitable fire fighting equipment should be provided and easily accessible.
- Assembly point: a designated safe meeting point should be organised for staff to congregate after evacuating. This should be a safe distance from the building and where a roll call can easily be taken.
The best way you can prepare your employees for a fire is with good fire safety training. It is in fact a legal requirement that an employer provides their staff with adequate fire safety training for their premises. Your staff should be aware of the fire evacuation plan, fire escape routes and, where appropriate, how to use fire fighting equipment. This will ensure that optimal safety can be met in the event of a fire. Fire safety instruction can be provided by fire safety experts, such as those at Cheshire Fire, to ensure that a comprehensive level of training is achieved.
Fire drill practice
A good way to prepare for the break out of a fire is to carry out regular fire drills; at the minimum, a full practice fire drill should occur once a year. Records should be kept of the practice drill, including how effective your fire evacuation procedures are. This can be a great way to see whether your plans are actually effective or whether they need updating. Additionally, to ensure a fire evacuation is initiated successfully, your fire alarm systems should be tested frequently to ensure they are in full working condition.
Cheshire Fire’s team of experts can provide comprehensive, high standard fire safety training, specifically for businesses, to ensure you are qualified and able to react appropriately in the event of a fire. Our professionals can further help you meet fire safety legislation by providing fire risk assessments, fire fighting equipment and alarm systems. For help with your commercial fire safety in Chester, Warrington and the surrounding areas, get in touch with our specialists today.