Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

How to Organize a Fire Drill at Work: The Ultimate Guide

Nobody ever expects a fire in their place of work; however, it is something that we all must equip ourselves for. We may view our workplaces is safe and dependable—a place where everyone can work comfortably and safely.

The truth of the matter is that even if you have all of the best safety equipment in your office unless you hold a regular fire drill at work, you’re putting the lives of your employees at risk.

By conducting a fire drill at work on a regular basis, you will be able to keep yourself, your employees, and any visitors safe while in the workplace.

Here’s how to perform a fire drill at work.

Why Are Fire Drills So Important?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration states that around 200 people die in workplace fires each year, and fires cause around a further 5,000 injuries. Many of these deaths and injuries could be avoided if businesses carry out regular and thorough fire drills.

Fire drills are not only useful for preparing your employees to leave the building quickly and safely in the event of a fire, but they are also useful for terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

Create a Detailed Evacuation Plan

The first step in organizing a fire drill at work is to create a detailed evacuation plan. Start off by designating a meeting point. This should be somewhere that is safely away from the building that can be easily reached.

The area that you designate as the rally point should be large enough to accommodate all employees and visitors, and the use of the area shouldn’t impede the emergency services in any way.

To create a detailed evacuation plan, you will need to walk all of the possible evacuation routes to find the shortest or safest passage to your meeting point.

Identify any areas of the building where fires will be more likely to occur and make sure that exit routes can avoid these if necessary.

Understand where fire alarms, extinguishers, and smoke detectors are situated within the building.

Appoint Fire Wardens

Who will take responsibility for ensuring everyone gets out safely in the event of a fire? Once everyone has left the building, a roll call needs to be made to ensure everyone is safely out.

Assign responsibility for taking control of the evacuation to members of your team and ensure that your fire warden gets additional training and support so that they’re better equipped to lead an evacuation.

Your fire warden should have an understanding of the full installation for fire system. They should know how to test or raise the alarm and who to contact for getting faults repaired.

Communicate Your Evacuation Plan

Once you have your evacuation plan in place, and you know your routes, you can communicate this with your team.

All employees should be trained in all aspects of fire safety procedures. On the first day of employment, you should include a walkthrough of the fire evacuation route.

Whenever you carry out any fire safety training, document it, and keep it on file. Your local authorities or insurance company may request to see this if you ever have a fire safety inspection.

Refresher training should be given periodically. Determine the frequency in line with local laws. You should carry this out at least every six months.

All of the information about the evacuation procedure should also be displayed in prominent positions. In a larger building, you will need to display this in several locations.

Set a Goal for Evacuation Time

Your fire evacuation should be carried out in the minimum time possible. In a genuine emergency, you need to ensure everyone can leave the premises quickly. For this reason, you need to set a time limit on evacuation from the building.

Work out the length of time it will feasibly take for all employees and visitors to leave the premises. You can work this out by walking from the furthest point in the building. You will need to factor the number of people leaving the premises in the calculations too.

When you run an evacuation, time it from the moment that the alarm is raised through to the completion of the roll call with all employees accounted for.

If you’re unable to evacuate within the time frame, then you will need to review fire safety training and instill the importance of leaving immediately to your employees.

Conduct Your Fire Drill at Work

You’ll need to carry out a fire drill at least twice a year. This should be held at random and without warning. Your employees shouldn’t know that this is a drill, and they should treat it as a genuine evacuation.

When evacuating, all employees should leave directly through their nearest exit and head to the rally point.

Once at the rally point, the fire warden should check all staff members are present. This is why it is essential that you keep a record of all employees who are working and who are on site.

Following on from the fire drill, you should relay any information about how fast the drill was. If improvements need to be made, you’ll need to address this point with retraining.

Repetition Is Essential

It is essential that you carry out fire drills repeatedly. Practice will make perfect. Repeat the process at least every six months.

Prioritize the Safety of Your Employees 

At all times, you should be considerate of your employee’s safety. Carrying out a regular fire drill at work is essential. You should continually review and revise your plan to accommodate any changes in the business or building.

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