Advice on Fire Drills
Fire drills should be regularly carried out once or preferably twice a year as part of any businesses Fire Safety Management Plan but is unfortunately one aspect which is often overlooked and undervalued. Even when fire drills are carried out they follow the same course of action time and time again with Staff becoming familiar with the expected response.
But what happens when we introduce a blocked fire escape or an escape route which is impassable due to heat and smoke? How will staff now respond? Very often staff only respond to the sound of the alarm during fire drills, but how would they react when asked to act quickly, as if they had discovered the fire themselves? We should practice a wide range of scenarios covering as many anticipated events as possible. But remember to keep it realistic!
Human behaviour shows that during fire drills, very often we use the same exit we regularly use to enter the building on a daily basis. Scenarios introduce the need to think about escape routes including alternative escape routes and alternative fire exits not normally used. This will help to enable Staff safely to evacuate the building in the event of a real fire occurring.
When planning evacuation training, we should also include plans for anyone who may be vulnerable in the event of a fire such as children, the elderly, anyone with hearing or sight problems or anyone who may be less able to self-evacuate. What adjustment can we reasonably take to ensure their safety and will this require additional Staff training? We should also have evacuation plans for people who are less familiar with the premises such as visitors and contractors.
Another aspect of fire drills which is often overlooked is feedback. Once concluded all Staff should be given feedback on what went well and what aspects of the fire drill could have been better. Good feedback encourages improvement resulting in better responses to fire drills in the future.
Call us for more information on fire drills.