Even if you have every precaution in place, fires happen in the workplace. This is especially true when you work in an industry that deals with a lot of chemicals and other combustible materials. In fact, from 2011 – 2015, US fire departments responded to an average of about 37,910 industrial and manufacturing fires a year.
While fires may occur more often in these industries, office buildings and other types of businesses are certainly not exempt from the risk. Therefore, it’s important that every workplace has a fire evacuation plan in place. Even if you never have to use it, you’re better safe than sorry.
Here are the six steps to develop an effective fire evacuation place.
Establishing a clear chain of command will help the evacuation process go more smoothly. Consider adding the following roles to your plan.
If you have a Communication Lead, this will largely be their responsibility. After they notify the employees and fire department and everyone is safely outside, they may need to also contact others. For example, you don’t want delivery drivers, customers, and suppliers showing up if the building is on fire.
Draw a map of your building and plan out your fire escape routes. Make sure you establish primary and secondary routes out of the building in case the fire blocks one of the paths.
When creating your evacuation map, ask yourself the following questions.
You likely have a variety of fire suppression and prevention tools at the workplace. Make sure you know how to use your fire extinguishers, detectors, alarms, and sprinkler systems, and that they’re inspected regularly.
To make sure you have everything covered, run through your fire evacuation plan with your employees. Make sure everyone knows what to do and where to go if a fire breaks out at your workplace. You may even want to go through a fire drill on a regular basis to help ensure that no one forgets what to do in an emergency.
If you identify some areas for improvement during a drill, then adjust your plan accordingly for the next ones. You may even need to report and document these drills and changes, so be sure to check your company’s policies and safety requirements.
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