Fire Drills – A Checklist
Forming a vital part of any commercial building’s fire safety measures, fire drills must be carried out on a regular basis in order to identify potential faults and issues with existing evacuation plans.
With a lot of different elements to remember, sometimes it can be useful to have a guide to hand to help your drills to run smoothly and effectively.
Before the Drill
- Fire Wardens: Ensuring that there are a sufficient number of trained fire wardens (or marshals) in place to guide occupants from the premises and assist in carrying out checks is important for a successful drill. With trained eyes in more than one place, any problems that occur can be recorded and rectified in future drills.
- Give Notice: While the element of surprise would perhaps test the efficacy of your evacuation procedure more accurately, it may cause unnecessary panic. Instead, let your building’s occupants know there is a drill coming up, and ensure that they understand their responsibilities in following procedure correctly and safely – whether this is employees within a company building, or guests staying in a hotel.
- Print Register: For schools, offices and other workplaces, have a register printed out on the day of the drill to check that all persons are present and correct when at the assembly point.
During the Drill
- Observation: Take careful note of the actions of all people executing the evacuation procedure. Look out for issues (people stopping to collect belongings, slow reaction times, problems accessing fire doors or escape routes), and ensure that all fire marshals are active and in position.
- Mobility Issues: Pay particular attention to those with mobility issues, ensuring that their means of escape is safe and effective.
- Fire Escapes: Encourage all occupants to use the fire escape closest to them, instead of wandering aimlessly to the other side of the building. Not only is this an important safety precaution, it also makes sure that you are able to check the efficacy of all available escape routes.
- Complete Register: Take a register once all persons are believed to be at the assembly point. In larger offices and commercial buildings, having managers account for the presence of their teams will help to quickly identify those who may be missing.
- Re-entry: Ensure that re-entry is initiated only by a trained fire warden, and never return to a building in which an alarm is still going off.
After the Drill
- Record: All of your findings, whether positive or negative, should be recorded as quickly as possible after the drill.
- Review: Based on your findings, take time to review your fire drill and evacuation procedure in order to improve it.
- Rectify: Any elements spotted during the drill that are of concern, or that may have hindered escape in the event of a real fire, should be rectified immediately. This may include the identification of hazards along the evacuation route, insufficient facilities for those with mobility problems, an inadequate assembly point location (perhaps across a busy main road), or a failure in a section of the alarm system.
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