Fire drills aren’t always the highlight of everyone’s month. But their importance cannot be overstated. Simply put, an effective fire response plan will save lives. The time to create one is long before it is needed. This gives ample opportunity to discuss pitfalls and improvements. This article will look at what goes into a fire response plan and offer some great tips to ensure that it is effective.
What is a Fire Response Plan?
A fire response plan is a series of drills or actions performed by an individual or group when a fire is suspected or discovered. It will give details of specifics that each individual must follow. By successfully implementing and following a fire response plan, the damage and risk to life can be minimized.
What Should a Fire Response Plan Include?
There are several elements to a fire response plan. The actions must be carried out if a fire is either confirmed or even suspected.
An easy-to-remember acronym is ‘RACE.’ Each letter in this acronym offers simple guidance as to what to do in the event of a fire:
R: This stands for ‘Remove’. This means to remove people from the immediate area or any other areas of risk. Remember, in most fires, smoke presents a bigger threat to life than flames.
A: This stands for ‘alarm’. There are a few actions that fall under the umbrella of ‘raising the alarm.’
- First, activate the nearest fire alarm to ensure that even those who are not nearby are aware of the danger.
- Report the fire to the emergency services.
- Notify people verbally nearby.
C: This stands for ‘contain’. If safe to do so, you can limit the danger and damage caused by fire and smoke by closing doors in the area surrounding the fire.
Note: It is VITAL that you do not lock any doors if a fire situation is developing.
E: This is the final stage of your fire response plan. It stands for Extinguish or Evacuate.
If the fire is still controllable and you have the means, you can try to extinguish the fire. If at any time the situation becomes unmanageable, it is time to evacuate.
Please note that it is not worth trying to be a ‘hero’ and fight a fire that is too far gone. By remaining in an unsafe situation, you may be putting others’ lives at risk.
Evacuation can be quite detailed and forms a core part of your response plan. If possible, leave via the quickest and safest route. Avoid using elevators. Once you have evacuated the building, you must make your way to a specified rendezvous point.
Just to be clear, remember ‘RACE’:
Tips to Ensure a Fire Response Plan’s Success
The above has been kept to a minimum to ensure clarity. Now that you understand what is required, let’s look at some finer details and ways to ensure that your fire response plan is good.
1. Practice Your Plan
You must rehearse and practice your fire response plan. Otherwise, how do you know it will work? Has everyone clearly understood what they must do? Are there areas that could be performed better?
By practicing your response plan when there isn’t a fire, you can iron out any small wrinkles that could prove problematic during the real thing.
2. Be honest
Once you have practiced your plan, be honest with yourself as to how it went. Did everything go according to plan? If not, why not? By being honest, you can identify areas of weakness that can be improved. Better now than later.
3. Be Clear on Locations
The last thing you need is for firefighters to be putting their lives at risk to search for someone who is, in fact, quite safe and has gone to the wrong parking lot.
By being clear on locations, you remove all ambiguity. Encourage people to ask questions and ensure that no confusion can exist.
4. Establish a Chain of Command
There may be days when we aren’t present, or we might actually be incapacitated. The last thing you need is for the fire escape plan to be resting solely on you being around.
Establish a chain of command and designate people who will be in charge if you are absent. Each individual should know where they need to be and who to look to for guidance.
5. Make Contingency Plans
With the best will in the world, things don’t always go to plan. Create a backup option and a ‘when all else fails,’ to ensure that people aren’t left unsure of what to do.
6. Consider Exceptions
Is everyone in your building able to follow the plan? Have you considered people with reduced mobility or those in isolated areas? Be sure to include everyone in your plan, regardless of physical capacity.
7. Seek Professional Guidance
While a fire breaking out shouldn’t be a regular occurrence, you want to get it right when it does. First time. If you feel that planning an effective fire response plan is outside of your capabilities, it may be worth speaking to a professional fire protection service.
They’ll be able to give you excellent guidance on creating a plan. They may even be able to further reduce your risk and offer fire protection systems advice to make the whole process much safer and easier.
An effective fire response plan must be clear, easy to remember, and easy to follow. If you stick to some common-sense guidelines, you can easily ensure the lowest possible risk if a fire breaks out.
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” Fraker Fire can offer excellent guidance in fire suppression systems, alarms, and extinguishing tools.