How to Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your BuildingMayara
All commercial buildings need to have a solid fire evacuation plan in place. However, not everyone knows how to do it the right way. This guide will show you how to create a fire evacuation plan for your building, from identifying escape routes to assigning a solid chain of command. That way, you can ensure all building occupants know where to go and how to evacuate the building safely and efficiently when a fire takes place.
Conduct a Building Inspection
Before putting your plan on paper, it’s important to go throughout the building and look for fire hazards. After finding areas in which fires are more likely to occur, consider all the possibilities regarding how a fire might start. By finding all the hazards and thinking through a variety of scenarios, you’ll be able to put together a reliable escape plan.
Fire Prevention Equipment
When inspecting for fire hazards, you should also be mindful of the fire prevention equipment around the office. If you notice an insufficient amount of fire extinguishers or fire escape masks, make note of it and buy what you need as soon as possible.
Know Your Exits
Another helpful step to take during your initial inspection is looking for emergency exits so you can label them on an evacuation map. As mentioned above, when you know the areas in your building that are most prone to fires or explosions, you’ll be able to put together an escape plan that will direct building occupants down the right path to safety.
Create a Chain of Command
Having a clear chain of command during a fire evacuation is key. Suffice it to say, a fire breaking out in the office can be a scary thing. However, if everyone knows who to turn to for help, you can minimize the chaos and ensure everyone gets out of the building safely. Here are the three most important roles you’ll have to assign.
Building Emergency Coordinator
The Building Emergency Coordinator is the individual in charge of making sure the current emergency evacuation plans make sense and the one who will make the proper adjustments if necessary.
This individual is also the one who handpicks the Floor Wardens, as well as a backup Coordinator who can fill in if necessary. They will also collaborate with the Chief Warden, in explaining the situation to emergency personnel upon arrival and making sure everyone reaches the emergency assembly area safely after the evacuation.
Floor Wardens assist the Chief Warden by making sure everyone is following safe evacuation practices and that the proper emergency services are on their way. They will also have to monitor the environment for dangerous conditions and inform building occupants. A key part of this role is also helping building occupants who need guidance, such as those with disabilities who need extra assistance evacuating safely.
Once the floor evacuation is complete, Wardens will double-check each room, including bathrooms, and close all open doors before exiting. Each floor of the building should have a floor warden in case of emergencies. Floor Wardens should be available at all times and they should each have a clear understanding of evacuation protocols, the location of the designated emergency assembly area, and how to find the nearest safety supplies like fire extinguishers or first aid kits.
Chief Warden (AKA Evacuation Warden or Chief Floor Warden)
The Chief Warden will determine the right course of action when an emergency occurs. If an evacuation is necessary, the Chief Warden will promptly alert Floor Wardens and help them guide people to safety.
The Chief Warden will also collaborate with floor Wardens to ensure the right emergency personnel has been alerted and that a roll call is conducted to ensure everyone got out okay. When emergency personnel arrives, the Chief Warden will inform them of what they know about the situation and whether or not everyone escaped.
Designate an Emergency Assembly Area
The emergency assembly area is where you will be directing building occupants to go in the event of an evacuation. Deciding where your emergency assembly area should be dependent on how easy to access and how far away from the building it is.
You don’t want your assembly area to be too far away from the building, but at the same time, it has to be far enough away to keep people safe from hazards like flames or explosions. The assembly area should also be accessible to anyone in the building, so be wary of the terrain occupants have to navigate in order to reach it safely.
Put Together a Concise and Comprehensive Emergency Evacuation Map
After assigning the roles, inspecting for hazards and exits, and designating an emergency assembly area, you’re ready to put together a map displaying fire escape routes (each escape route should have a secondary route accompanying it) and emergency exits.
The map needs to have a clear layout of the building that, aside from main/secondary escape routes and exits, needs to prominently display information such as the location of the emergency assembly area. Additionally, to give people a good sense of direction, each map needs to prominently display a compass and the current location of the reader.
It’s also important to mark the location of safety tools like fire alarms, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, eyewash stations, and any additional safety stations or medical supplies in the building.
Another important tip to remember when making your map is to make sure each component has a different “current location” marked to ensure the reader receives the proper guidance, as you will be placing these all throughout the building.
Place Maps Around the Building
After putting together an easy-to-navigate emergency escape route map, you can begin placing them around the building. Make sure that each floor of the building, as well as each office on that floor, receives the proper evacuation map, with its own “current location”.
Moreover, these maps need to be on prominent display for everyone to see. Rather, place these maps in areas in which they are clearly visible and easy to find for employees and first-time visitors alike.
Now that you know how to create a fire evacuation plan for your building, you’re ready to put it together and keep building occupants safe if a fire occurs and in the event that an evacuation is necessary. However, in order to promptly act when a fire occurs, you’ll need the help of a fully-functional fire alarm system. With the right alarm system by your side, Chief Wardens and additional building occupants can learn of fires in ample time, no matter where they occur in the building.
At The Fire Alarm Supplier, we can provide you with some of the latest fire alarm components, such as the best brands on the market like Simplex, Notifier, and many more. The sooner Wardens know about a fire, the sooner they can address the situation and lead an evacuation if necessary.