There are innumerable things that may go wrong when a fire threatens your workers and company, each with disastrous repercussions. Construction workers on scaffolding had to run for safety when a Sydney, Australia, office skyscraper caught fire in the middle of 2018. They were racing against time as the building’s outside turned into a wall of flames.
While fires are harmful enough on their own, the threat is often increased if your business is unprepared by fear and turmoil. The easiest approach to avoid this is to have a thorough and practiced fire escape strategy. A top-notch evacuation strategy gets your company ready for any emergency, including active shooter situations and natural disasters, not just fires. By giving your staff the right evacuation training, they will be prepared to leave the workplace without delay in the event of an emergency.
Consider different situations
Start by asking these simple questions to determine the main hazards your company would encounter in the event of a fire before developing your business fire evacuation strategy.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 3,340 office building fires annually on average over the five years from 2007 to 2011. According to research, electrical problems, deliberate arson, and cooking equipment were the main causes of workplace fires. Cooking has been the main factor contributing to nonresidential building fires over the previous ten years, according to a subsequent review by the U.S. Fire Administration.
Identify the jobs and duties
Employees will turn to their leaders for confidence and direction when a fire breaks out and your company has to evacuate. Establish a chain of command that is crystal clear and includes backups to indicate who has the power to issue an evacuation order.
The following are the main duties you should think about include in your fire evacuation plan:
- Chief fire warden: This employee is in charge of all aspects of planning and preparedness for a fire occurrence. Frequently, the chief fire warden will verify that all doors have been shut, inspect the restrooms, and do a backup headcount in the safe place.
- Assistant fire warden: This individual phone the fire department, collects information, and notifies staff members through the mass alert system. Make sure this individual is a system administrator if your business has an emergency communication system.
- Route guides: Route guides are crucial in ensuring that routes are clear and that an evacuation is conducted in a calm and orderly manner.
- Floor monitors: After ensuring sure the space is clear, the floor monitor leaves last. They will be responsible for a designated area, oversee the employee evacuation, and report to the chief fire warden when everyone is out of harm’s way.
- Identify the closest exits and evacuation routes.
DirectAcessGP noted that primary and secondary escape routes should be included in your company’s fire evacuation strategy. All fire escapes and exits should be well marked with signage. Furniture and other items that might obstruct your workers’ ability to escape directly should be kept away from exit pathways.
Make many floor layouts and schematics for big workplaces and publish them so that staff members are aware of the escape routes. A separate evacuation plan should be created for those with impairments who may need more support, according to best practice.
Set aside a secure location for workers to congregate. Assign the assistant fire warden to keep an eye on things and take a head count at the assembly point. Finally, make sure that the gathering location and escape routes can hold the anticipated number of personnel who will be fleeing.
Make a communication strategy.
Establish a person (such as the assistant fire warden) whose main responsibility it is to contact the fire department and emergency responders, as well as to communicate information to important stakeholders like staff members, clients, and the media, while you are creating evacuation plans and conducting fire drills. Inspect your crisis communication strategy to see whether it also needs to include community outreach, suppliers, transportation partners, and government authorities, as appropriate.
Make a thorough choice for your communication partner. If the main office is damaged by fire, this individual may need to operate from a backup office to provide fast and accurate communication (or the threat of fire). In order to follow best practices, you should also have a fallback in case your crisis communication lead is unable to carry out their responsibilities.
Once you’ve determined that they play this crucial function, you must provide them access to a reliable multichannel emergency communication system. It may be highly hectic when there is a fire. It’s possible for people to lose access to their usual communication channels, to forget to check, or for networks to malfunction.
Know your tools and look them over
Have you recently examined the dingy workplace fire extinguishers? According to the National Fire Protection Association, disposable fire extinguishers should be replaced every 12 years and reusable extinguishers should be refilled every 10 years. Additionally, be sure to regularly remind your staff where the fire extinguishers are in the office. Establish a routine for checking that all other emergency equipment. Out of them, evacuation chairs hold a prominent place. In fact, evacuation chairs can help you to evacuate the building quickly, without having to worry too much about disabilities that people face.
Along with this essential fire safety equipment, you should also teach your staff how to use standard office supplies in an emergency. For instance, in the event of a real fire, office chairs and file cabinets may be used to smash through windows and open doors.
Practice fire evacuation techniques
If your kids attend school, you are aware that they often, sometimes monthly, conduct “fire drills.” Because doing many practice sessions lessens confusion and teaches youngsters how a safe fire drill should function, eventually lowering anxiety when a true emergency arises. Students who are composed and knowledgeable on what to do in the case of a fire are more likely to have a safe result.
Adults may learn via repetition in the same way as children, according to research. Before a potential evacuation, individual preparation is required since fires spread swiftly, and seconds may make a difference.
A thorough rehearsal of the company’s fire evacuation strategy should be scheduled for annually or semi-annually during key fire evacuation leaders’ quarterly meetings. To make sure you adhere to safety standards and that emergency personnel is aware of your organization’s escape plan, check any applicable local fire rules for your building.
Hi, I am James Aaron, a professional Data recovery Engineer, working with Quickbooks Data Services as a consultant from the past five years in the USA. I am a specialized and trained Cloud consultant who helps small and medium-sized entrepreneurs. QuickBooks Closes Unexpectedly | QuickBooks Error H202 | QuickBooks Unrecoverable Error | QuickBooks Error 1712 | This Company File Needs to be updated | QuickBooks Restore Failed | QuickBooks Email not working | QuickBooks 2020 end of support