It should come as no surprise that fires can be exceptionally dangerous, whether in the home, a workplace, or any other crowded environment. When fire breaks out, the key is to be prepared. A well-thought-out evacuation plan can literally save lives. When escaping a fire, time is of the essence, and you’ll want to think about your evacuation plan well before an event occurs.
Today we will discuss some key components of any fire evacuation plan.
What is a Fire Evacuation Plan?
A fire evacuation plan is a series of rules and guidelines laid out in a structured format to ensure that everyone can escape a building in the event of a fire. This isn’t just something that should be considered for businesses. Homes and even schools can all benefit from a well-thought-out fire evacuation plan.
What are the Advantages of a Fire Evacuation Plan?
It is Orderly
Fire is a situation that creates panic. Mass panic is rarely conducive to a successful outcome. By having a plan and ensuring that people are well trained to stick to it, you can ensure an orderly evacuation of premises in the event of a fire.
It Saves Time
The key to avoiding injury or loss of life due to fire boils down to time. The sooner everyone can get away from a potentially life-threatening situation, the better.
A good fire response plan can mean that everyone can leave the building most expeditiously.
It Ensures that Nobody is Left Behind
It is a nightmare scenario that someone remains trapped in a school or business that is ablaze. By sticking to some simple rules, you can ensure that everybody is accounted for. If not, plans can be made to ensure their safety.
What Key Components Should a Fire Evacuation Plan Contain | 9 Elements
1. Assign Tasks for a ‘First Responder’
Shock is normally the first emotion felt when people encounter a fire.
You can ensure that your fire escape plan will always be actioned by giving people a set response. A ‘first responder’ isn’t any named person in particular. It is the name given to whoever first discovers a fire. Instructions on what to do if a fire is discovered should be distributed to everyone who works or studies in your building.
2. Decide on Evacuation Routes
As we said, fire is a time-critical situation. To egress a dangerous situation quickly, there must be clear routes and exits designated.
Walk routes and time them. Work out how many people could comfortably exit at one time and pay particular attention to any ‘bottlenecks’ that could slow an evacuation.
3. Check Escape Routes
Once you have decided on an escape route, you must designate it.
The correct signage is vitally important. And remember, at the end of each route, there must be a means to escape. If there are fire doors at the end of the route, these must be unlocked at all times.
Also, nominate a person or people present every day to check escape routes are free of obstructions. If a fire escape route becomes inadvertently blocked, this could lead to a potentially dangerous situation.
4. Brief Emergency Equipment… To Everyone
Emergency equipment such as fire extinguishers and hose assemblies should be able to be used by anyone. For smaller fires, these can be used to completely extinguish the fire.
But they do provide another purpose.
Emergency fire equipment can also be used to clear a path to safety. To ensure that everyone can make a clear path, everyone should be aware of how to use the equipment. Written instructions could be provided, but a demonstration is better. Why not consult a professional fire protection service to demonstrate how to use equipment in your school or building?
5. Nominate a Muster Point
The last thing you need following a fire is people wandering in all directions and ‘doing their own thing.’ It would be practically impossible to ensure that everyone has exited the building safely.
The key is nominating muster or assembly points where people can gather and be accounted for. It makes sense to promulgate these points and possibly designate them with signage. It is also vitally important that you choose an area that is well clear of danger.
6. Nominate Fire Wardens
Making people responsible for fire safety can result in fires being stopped completely. Also, during an evacuation, a few responsible individuals can oversee the process and identify any problems. Nominate people to perform different roles during a fire.
This can be taking a role call, grabbing a first aid kit, calling the emergency services, and checking a set area of their workspace to ensure that no one is left behind.
7. Ensure a Roll Call
Accounting for everyone in a fire is of utmost importance. Hopefully, by following an escape plan, everyone is kept safe. But how do you check this?
It’s an easy answer.
Take a roll call. In schools, you may have a class register. In businesses, every entrant to the building must be signed in and out. Assign the registers to a nominated person who can then check that everyone who should be there is there at each muster point.
8. Contact the Emergency Services
This is a vital step that must not be forgotten. Be sure to check that someone has called the emergency services, and if not, take responsibility and do it yourself. The sooner the fire department arrives, the less damage incurred.
The final step is the most important. By holding a fire drill, you get a good chance to practice your fire escape plan. This will show you how effective it is and whether there are any weak areas. This can all be done in relative safety and will ensure that your fire escape plan is as effective as it can be if a fire event were to occur for real.
Fraker Fire is a California-based fire protection service that can offer valuable advice on creating an effective fire evacuation plan. They can also advise the best fire extinguishers and fire door requirements and provide an appraisal of your school or office building.