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A guide to creating an emergency exit plan

Oct 1, 2020

When an emergency strikes, a solid emergency exit plan will mean the difference between life and death.

 

Evacuation planning involves several crucial strategies, careful consideration, prudent attention to compliance and regular revision. While this means extra work, it will guarantee the safest and most secure evacuation of your staff and visitors. Trust us, you’ll be more than thankful for the extra work should an emergency occur. 

Did you know? 

Section 43 of the Work Health & Safety Regulation 2017 states that the property owner or manager of a facility is responsible for ensuring your emergency evacuation plan remains effective and in place. Failure to do so can result in penalties of up to $30,000.

So, is your evacuation plan up to scratch?

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself in determining whether your evacuation emergency exit plan needs to be updated:

  • Do you have clear evacuation procedures mapped out? 
  • Do all staff know their roles?
  • Are all Evacuation Diagrams displayed throughout your workplace and are they regularly reviewed?
  • Are you meticulous in ensuring there are no obstructions to the exit routes around the building?
  • Do you have a people-counting system to ensure all people are accounted for in an emergency? 
  • Have you determined ways to provide specialised assistance to those who have hearing, vision or mobility impairments in your building?

If you answered no to any of the above, it’s probably time you review your emergency exit plan. An evacuation plan must, by law, always contain the following elements: 

Evacuation Diagrams

In accordance with Australian Standard 3745-2010 evacuation diagrams must be displayed in areas that are visible to both occupants and visitors. Evacuation diagrams show the relevant fire and safety equipment as well as designated exits, evacuation paths, emergency assembly areas and more.

The quantity and exact location of the signs will be determined by the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) of your facility. 

Emergency Response Plan

An Emergency Response Plan is a detailed strategy advising workers of what to do in case of an emergency in the workplace. The emergency response plan will provide information and actions to take in case of emergency – including details like phone numbers, potential risks and a list of emergency procedures. All Emergency Response Plans must be reviewed each year in accordance with AS1851. You should also review your emergency procedures and emergency information if there have been changes to the business, like renovations, or if an incident has occurred.

Emergency Training

Even the very best emergency procedures can fail without the correct staff training. It is crucial that your team knows where the equipment and evacuation diagrams are located. Training is key to success, so make sure you do it properly: 

  • The Emergency Planning Committee must be trained in accordance with your facility’s emergency response plan
  • Exercises and assessments should be used as part of your training to ensure staff are confident in their specified duties 
  • Training should include pre-emergency as well as post-emergency activities and strategies. 

Don’t forget about first aid training:

  • Inform your staff as to exactly who the first aid facilitators are
  • Have excellent first aid facilities on your premises and ensure staff know where to find them
  • It’s not enough to train your staff once – they’ll also need refresher courses from time to time to retain their knowledge. 

There’s no better way to determine whether you have effective procedures than to put them to the test. Drills really do help “drill” in all the information for your team. Emergency drills also help to improve your emergency exit plan and spot areas which could be improved. Plus, they help train staff to feel more in control in the event of a real emergency.  

Ready to improve your building’s fire safety practices? Fire Block Plans is here to help you and your team. Our highly-qualified experts will help find a suitable emergency evacuation plan, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.