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Evocatus Consulting Ltd

When fire evacuation plans go wrong

By Marketing Team
Friday, April 1, 2022

It’s one of those nightmares that you fear. There’s a fire alarm systems test at your place of business and your evacuation procedures have gone terribly wrong so you really need to assess everything and get it right for the future should the worst ever happen.

Being an employer of any kind, you have a responsibility to ensure an emergency evacuation plan is at hand in the event of a fire. It’s a big responsibility but you must consider the safety of your teams. There is a lot of information on the government website on where to begin with fire safety specifically, you can read more about that here.

Evocatus is extremely proud of their emergency evacuation services and scenarios. With huge experience in military and defence, may of whom continue to be our clients, you might say this is one of our specialities.

There are some key elements that you should consider when it comes to emergency evacuation planning:

 

  1. Assessing the condition or need for evacuation – There are many types of emergency situations, but not all of them require your teams to evacuate their place of work. You should highlight the exact scenarios where evacuation is needed.
  2. Sheltering, not evacuating – There might be a situation that would be safer to seek shelter inside the building rather than evacuate, such as extreme weather conditions, considering a safe, indoor space to designate employees is useful.
  3. Responsibility – There should be someone in your business who is responsible for deciding if evacuation is necessary and cover things like notifying the emergency services, raising the alarm and co-ordinating the roles of others.
  4. Delegation – It’s a good idea to have several people with responsibility for assisting evacuation of employees and checking visitor logs – you want everyone to get to safety as quickly as possible so knowledge of who is left in the building is key
  5. Make things clear – Locations, routes, exits, obstructions, guidance on directions, all of these things can be useful during an emergency situation to help guide your employees.
  6. Required equipment – It might be necessary to provide your teams with safety equipment or personal protective equipment (PPE) depending on your environment. Consider items like hard hats, safety shoes, goggles, chemical suits and the like.

 

The Fire Safety Advice Centre has some great advice on their website on how to create an evacuation plan and the procedures you should follow. They also identify key types of emergency evacuation:

 

  • Simultaneous evacuation – in simple terms the reaction upon hearing the fire alarm and evacuating the building
  • Vertical phased evacuation – for larger, more complex sites and buildings, it becomes more appropriate to run a phased evacuation, removing those closest to the risk first
  • Staff alarm evacuation – usually more appropriate for public spaces like cinemas and theatres for large numbers of the public to be protected
  • Defend in place – usually for hospitals or larger blocks of flats, an assessment should be made on whether the fire can be extinguished before evacuation

 

No matter the size of your business, the type of emergency evacuation you need to plan for or the complexity of your plan, Evocatus can help with it all with our unique approach. Mitigating risk is supported by our range of activities and rehearsals which really puts your planning the test and is much more of a team engagement exercise than a boring box-ticking procedure. If you want to ensure your team’s safety and to help them remember the plans you put in place, we recommend our activities and tabletop scenarios. Click here to find out more details.

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