Thinking about unforeseeable disasters such as fires or floods can be unpleasant, but being unprepared would be regrettable. Does your organisation have an emergency evacuation plan?
Just last month, a fire erupted in a factory in Pasir Gudang, Johor, and witnesses even saw the mushroom cloud from Singapore. Three hours since they got the call, emergency responders were still trying to stamp out the fire.
When something like this happens, panic rates are high, and lacking an emergency evacuation plan could result in dire consequences. Not to mention, fire incidents are so volatile that they could lead to excessive damage to physical structures.
With so much at stake for your valuable employees and business, it’s time to enact a more proactive approach. Establishing proper evacuation procedures and ensuring your employees have the right training are key.
If you need some help planning, try allowing these five crucial elements to guide you.
How to Improve Your Company’s Fire Emergency Evacuation Plan
1. Bearing in Mind Various Scenarios
Natural disasters are always unpredictable, which require the exploration of various scenarios. Firstly, it’s imperative to consider how, why, and where a fire would be a peril to your business.
For instance, do you work in a high-rise building? Does your office house cooking equipment or powered heaters? Note that those areas would be high-risk to freak accidents and electrical malfunctions.
You can then evaluate different scenarios that may arise and form an action plan accordingly. Thoroughly write them down and make them as pertinent and specific to your business as possible.
2. Defining the Evacuation Routes & Procedures
A good emergency evacuation plan should consist of primary and secondary escape routes.
Be sure to mark all the fire escape and exit routes and the emergency equipment. Your exit routes should be clear of obstructions that could prolong the evacuation process.
Consider providing floor plans and maps with diagrams or placing strategic arrows using photoluminescent paint for large buildings.
3. Setting Up A Chain of Command
Employees inevitably look to their leaders to guide them in a fire emergency. Thus, it’s important to appoint authority figures who will have specific responsibilities.
For example, who is in charge of notifying first responders? Who will lead the fire evacuation plan or do the headcount?
If it’s a high-rise building, arrange for each floor to have a person-in-charge who will report back. Make sure everyone undergoes the proper training to perform their roles.
4. Training on Fire Emergency Equipment Usage
Are you and your employees educated on the knowledge of fire safety equipment? Perhaps it’s time for a refresher.
You can plan an annual briefing on fire protection and remind your employees where to access the fire extinguishers every now and then. Aside from extinguishers, make time to inspect other emergency equipment as well, such as:
- Fire alarm systems
- Emergency lighting
- Fire doors (whether they can be opened easily)
Moreover, remember to raise awareness on other aspects of what to do in certain emergencies. For instance, your employees can use office chairs to shatter windows in the event of a real fire.
5. Rehearsing Your Emergency Evacuation Plan
Lastly, performing annual fire drills can solidify the effectiveness of your emergency evacuation plan. You will never know whether it works otherwise.
Through trying and testing, trial and error, your local fire department can also familiarise themselves with the escape plan. Learn more about how to conduct a fire drill at work in another article.
Palcon is a fire safety company that helps businesses formulate a comprehensive emergency evacuation plan. Our professional services are at your disposal regardless of industry.