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Does Your Emergency Evacuation Plan Comply With Australian Standards?

4 Apr, 2021

It’s critical to follow the Australian Standards at all times when creating an emergency evacuation plan, to ensure your business remains safe. 

Emergency Evacuation Plans save lives. It’s that simple. There are three core components that make up an effective emergency evacuation plan; Evacuation Diagrams, Emergency Response Plans, and Emergency Training. All three of these are subject to a host of legal requirements, which are laid out in the Australian Standards for building fire and life safety. We’ve put together this informative guide to help you better understand and navigate each of these aspects in relation to your legal responsibilities: 

1.Evacuation Diagrams

Essential to any evacuation plan are Evacuation Diagrams. They help reduce the risk of harm by preventing business interruption, damage to property, injury, and loss of life. They show vital information that is essential in case of emergency, and must be situated throughout common areas and in general paths of travel where they can be seen easily. The number of diagrams required at your facility will be determined by your Emergency Planning Committee.

The Australian Standard AS3745: Planning for Emergencies in Facilities states these diagrams must:

  • show the location of fire equipment, designated exit points, emergency assembly points and evacuation routes
  • be displayed in obvious positions along the evacuation route of the facility
  • be oriented based on the layout of the building
  • be reviewed every five years. 

 

2. Emergency Response Plan

The second of the three critical components of an emergency evacuation plan is the Emergency Response Plan. This must contain all information relating to your emergency evacuation plan and your emergency response procedures. It should list: 

  • the roles and responsibilities of staff
  • emergency phone numbers
  • potential risks for the workplace
  • emergency procedures
  • visitor management
  • other vital information.

Emergency Response Plans should not be viewed as a one-size fits all solution, because no two facilities are ever the same. Each has different risks, a different layout, and different kinds of people. If your workplace contains individuals with additional assistance in case of an emergency, you may need to create a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP)

In accordance with Australian Standard AS1851: Routine service of fire protection systems and equipment:

  •  Your Emergency Response Plan must be reviewed each year
  • Your emergency procedures and emergency information should be reviewed after making any changes to the business. This may include when a renovation takes place, or whenever an incident has occurred.

3. Emergency Training

The final step in setting up an emergency evacuation plan in line with Australian Standards is Emergency Training. Did you know less than 50 per cent of building occupants feel confident in what action to take and where to evacuate during an emergency? Or how about the fact that less than 25 percent of people can locate their nearest fire extinguisher from memory, without searching the building? These troubling statistics prove just how critical it is for employees to receive comprehensive fire equipment training.

 

Not sure if your team is trained effectively? Here are some signs of adequate emergency training: 

  • All members of the EPC are well-rehearsed with their duties, in accordance with the specifications of your unique emergency response plan
  • Regular training is conducted to ensure all relevant staff are familiar with their roles and able to confidently perform should an emergency situation occur. 
  • Training includes activities related to pre and post emergency using first-attack fire equipment, fire drills or simulations for visitors or occupants who may be disabled or have mobility restrictions. 

 

What are your responsibilities as a business owner? 

If you are the owner, manager or operator of a facility – that is any building or workplace that may have occupants or visitors – you are required by law to have an emergency evacuation plan in place. Your evacuation plan must comply with the Work Health & Safety Regulation 2017, and can also result in fines up to $30,000 for failure to adhere.

 

Further resources: 

 

Need some help planning your emergency response? 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.