How to ensure the best evacuation training for staff
What kind of training is required?
As stated in the Australian Standards, all members of the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC) must be trained in the emergency plan created by your facility.
- This doesn’t mean once off training, but rather, it means regular ongoing training that is to be conducted over time, that will ensure all relevant staff are familiar with their roles, responsibilities and are able to confidently perform their duties should an emergency situation occur.
- Interestingly, the training that your staff will receive in your evacuation plan won’t be solely about evacuating in the case of an emergency. They’ll also be trained in pre-emergency situations, so they can help mitigate the risk of a fire happening all together.
Learning to interpret evacuation diagrams
Situated throughout common areas and general paths of travel in areas where they are easily seen, evacuation diagrams show vital information to help you navigate an emergency situation. They’re incredibly useful tools, highlighting the nearest fire equipment, designated exit points, emergency assembly points and evacuation routes. These diagrams are a critical aspect of any evacuation plan and yet, they can be difficult to read at first glance. You will be failing if you let your team’s first time reading an evacuation diagram be during a real evacuation. Learning to read your evacuation diagrams can save precious time in an emergency, so that people can follow them to safety with ease.
Hands on training
When faced with a real-life emergency, many will find themselves lost in the panic, chaos and fear of the situation. During these times, people can often forget some or all of what they’ve learned in training. Thankfully, there are a number of hands on tools suited to the many aspects of a fire evacuation plan, that will help reduce fear and really drill home the processes. Your team should be trained in how to use first-attack fire equipment, and they may be instructed to carry out your fire plan in various fire drills or simulations of visitors or occupant evacuations.
As a simple 4-step fire plan that everyone in your team can remember, RACE is often used as a training tool to call on in these situations. It stands for: Remove, Alarm/Alert, Confine/Contain, Extinguish/Evacuate.
Here’s what your team may learn during their fire evacuation training session:
- Step 1: Remove: How to remove people from the situation to ensure they’re safe. While it can be tempting to try and fight off a fire first, your staff will learn why getting people out of harm’s way should be first and foremost.
- Step 2: Alert/Alarm: How to alert external authorities and sound internal alarms. They will learn why it’s important to have backup on the way for if they can’t put out a fire on their own.
Step 3: Confine/Contain: How to reduce the damage that a fire can cause. Your team will learn how to ensure that the fire, smoke, and toxic combustibles are confined as much as possible.