Did you know that there are more than 6,000 office fires in the United States each year? Virtually any business is vulnerable to a devastating fire, and the risk is even greater in facilities that store or handle flammable liquids or other combustible materials. A fire can break out with little or no warning and create panic among your workers. If you don’t have a carefully crafted fire evacuation plan in place, you could be placing many lives in danger.
Developing an Effective Emergency Evacuation Plan
A well-designed business evacuation plan will serve as an easy-to-follow guide that outlines the actions your employees should take in the event of a fire. A good place to start is performing an assessment of your building’s fire safety systems.
This entails determining the availability and location of equipment such as pull alarms, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and sprinklers, and replacing or upgrading equipment as needed. You should also take steps to identify and eliminate potential fire and safety hazards such as piles of trash, blocked doorways and burned out exit lights.
Elements of a Business Emergency Plan
A business evacuation plan requires organization and employee participation to be effective. While your emergency fire plan should be tailored to your unique workplace environment, a solid plan will consist of the following fundamental elements:
- Assigning escape routes: Every employee should know the fastest, safest evacuation route to take based on their location in the building and proximity to exits.
- Establishing procedures for “mission critical” employees: In some workplaces, it may be necessary for a few workers to remain behind to perform certain shut-down operations prior to exiting the facility. It will be necessary to develop specific evacuation procedures for these individuals.
- Developing accountability procedures: Your plan should indicate a centralized location away from the building where your employees should meet after evacuation. Create a procedure for taking a head count of employees to ensure everyone has exited the building safely.
- Assigning specific duties to employees: Your fire evacuation plan should designate certain employees who are responsible for administering medical assistance until first responders can arrive at the scene.
- Rendering assistance to visitors: Visitors to your facility will not be familiar with your business evacuation plan, so you’ll need to develop procedures for assisting them.
Your business evacuation plan should be in writing, with a copy given to every employee. The plan should also make provisions for regular fire drills so your staff will know exactly what to do and where to go when a fire breaks out. Practice can minimize the inevitable confusion that occurs during any fire emergency — and can make the difference between a successful business evacuation and a tragic event resulting in serious injuries or loss of life.
If you operate a business in the Phoenix, AZ area, Titan Alarm, Inc. can design and install an advanced commercial fire alarm system for your company. Contact us to schedule a free on-site consultation today.