Whatever the environment and wherever the premises, fire is a hazard and steps must be taken to manage any risk. As part of a building’s overarching fire prevention and safety measures, an evacuation plan must be prioritised and all users of the building must be aware of its contents. Here we take a look at the key considerations of a fire escape plan and discuss how to better communicate it to anyone in the building so they’re aware of what to do in the event of a fire.
Fire safety plans and equipment working together
For your fire risk assessment, you’ll need to consider and have in place fire detection and warning systems, fire-fighting equipment and emergency routes and exits. Each of these protective measures will work alongside each other to save lives – but they need to be well-communicated to be successful. A building may be fully kitted out with the right equipment and best-placed exits but if people don’t understand where they’re located or how to use them, they’re rendered useless.
Evacuation plans must include clear passageways to all escape routes, emergency doors that open easily and emergency lighting that operates when needed.
Escaping fire: The finer details
Every escape plan should include multiple escape routes so there are several options if flames block the desired exit. Clearly mark the building’s escape routes with all-important signage that provides guidance and reassurance as people make their way to the exits. Fire exit signs and fire action notices quickly and clearly alert people to the route that should be taken to safety and instruct any required actions. Fire safety signage is vital not only for people unfamiliar with the building but also those who use it regularly, as they may become disoriented or confused in the moment. Signage can also assist people with the location of various fire safety equipment, including fire extinguishers, and advise as to how it should be used.
In the event of a fire, a pre-determined assembly point will be the safe place of meeting for everyone in the building.
Communicating the plan
Ensuring everyone is aware of the escape plan is hugely important. They should not only be fully clued up on when and how can should raise the alarm but they should also be confident of where life-saving equipment can be found. The best way to ascertain whether people understand the procedure is to provide frequent training and hold regular evacuation drills. A fire warden (or marshal) can be appointed to maintain a high standard of fire precautions and oversee aspects including evacuation drill procedure.