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Is your fire escape plan up to scratch?

Oct 2, 2021

Your fire escape plan becomes a liferaft when faced with a real life fire emergency.  

Did you know that most harmful fires are usually preventable, at least to some extent? A fire escape plan is there to help you minimise this danger and reduce harm to people, property and business. 

If you’re unsure whether your fire escape plan is up to scratch, this is the article for you. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand the key components of a fire escape plan and how to make the most out of yours.

Does your plan contain clear escape routes?

A solid fire evacuation plan will always include both key primary and secondary escape routes. It will have ultra-clear signage that marks all the exit points and makes it simple and effective for your team to follow these to evacuate safely. 

Every good fire escape plan needs to be backed up with excellent evacuation diagrams. In accordance with AS3745, your diagrams must, at a minimum, display: 

  • The nearest exit from the marked “You are here” point 
  • The location of the nearest fire equipment
  • The Floor Plan and Site Plan of the facility, its Assembly Point and its Emergency Procedures.

Any excellent emergency planner knows fire evacuation safety is not only all about signage and diagrams. After all, there’s not much point in having a diagram in place if this no longer reflects the true circumstances of your facility. That’s why you must ensure there are never any obstructions to your escape routes, and that any changes to the building plan are promptly reflected in your diagrams. Waiting too long to update these diagrams can result in obstacles in the event of an evacuation, in a time where everything should move quickly and efficiently to guarantee the safest outcome. 

    Is your team confident in their roles and responsibilities?

    Another crucial component of any solid fire evacuation plan is fire emergency training. The right training could mean the difference between safely putting out a fire, and the fire spreading out of control. It can also help your team evacuate safely, calmly and without stress. 

    Fire equipment and signage: The emergency signs and diagrams displayed in your building should never be the first point of instruction for anyone in the event of fire. Rather, your team should be trained in your organisation’s fire safety plan and how to use fire safety equipment. People tend to forget information if they haven’t needed to use it in a while, which is why training shouldn’t be a once off but must be ongoing. Evacuation drills are a handy tool to help people remember this training – plus, they also reduce panic and uncertainty in the real event of a fire. 

    Selecting your fire safety team: Your fire safety team should be aware of each of their roles and responsibilities well before any fire incident occurs. When selecting your ‘A Team’ it’s important to ensure each of the individuals are reliable and react well under pressure. The following roles must be allocated to certain staff members, depending on the size of your facility:

    • Chief fire warden: An employee with the overall responsibility of planning and executing your evacuation plan for a fire.
    • Assistant fire warden: Tasked with alerting other employees and the fire department, as well as gathering reports.
    • Route guides: To ensure the evacuation path is clear and the evacuation process is orderly and calm.
    • Floor monitors: Last to evacuate, this person is responsible for making sure the area is clean and nobody has been left behind.
    • Fire extinguishers: Dedicated staff who are trained extensively in the use of fire equipment. 

    Is your fire escape plan suitable for your facility?

    Simply having a fire escape plan in place only goes so far. For it to have the most impact, your escape plan will need to be iron tight and tailored to the unique risks that your facility poses. It will also need to reflect your building’s layout, design and the ability levels of the individuals who inhabit or work there. 

    • Are you a business that works with chemicals, a lot of paper or any other flammable materials? Consideration of critical business areas and the various natural and business-related hazards are essential. 
    • Your fire escape plan should also be updated regularly – after all, there’s not much point in having a plan in place if it is outdated, and does not reflect your building’s current set-up, floor plan or layout. 
    • When making any changes to your facility, always consider how changes to the size, layout or building materials could alter your current fire escape plan.

     

    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.