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Blaze at Kenya's main airport highlights importance of being 100% prepared for emergencies

by , 07 August 2013
Kenyan authorities have closed the Kenyatta International Airport until further notice. This after a massive blaze broke out earlier this morning in the immigration section of the departure lounge and spread to the international arrivals area. It's not clear what caused the fire. And, so far, no casualties have been reported. According to reports, the Nairobi airport is the busiest airport in East Africa and its closure is likely to affect flights throughout the region. As the airport prepares to deal with the impact of the damage caused by the fire, it's imperative you avoid a similar situation. Here's how to ensure you're 100% prepared for emergency situations.

It's your duty as an employer to identify all possible emergency situations, prepare for them, and make sure your employees know what to do. Doing this will health prevent injuries or even deaths when disaster strikes.

To be 100% prepared for an emergency, you must:

#1: Appoint competent employees to deal with emergencies

These appointments must include:

  • An emergency controller to take control and make sure the emergency plan works.
  • Evacuation wardens to make sure everyone in the building is evacuated and moved to a safe place.
  • First aiders to help anyone that's injured and make sure disabled employees are evacuated and moved to a safe place.
  • Fire fighters to extinguish fires.

#2: Make sure you have a loud and operational alarm

The emergency alarm must be an essential part of your emergency plan.

There are many different types of alarms, for example, hand cranked or air or electrically driven sirens, steam whistles, electrical or mechanically activated bells, telephone intercom or public address systems, says the Health&Safety Advisor.

Whichever alarm you choose, you MUST have one. And your alarm must conform to these basic requirements:

  • All alarms must be easy to operate.
  • All alarms must be audible and every person on your premises must be able to hear it, even in the remote parts of your business, for example, underground parking bays.

#3: You must have emergency exits and escape routes

The basic requirements of the National Building Regulations are that:

  • You must have an alternative escape route so if, for example, your building collapses, your employees have another way to escape.
  • Your emergency escape routes and exits must have clear emergency signage to help your employees escape.
  • Clearly mark your emergency escape routes and exits on your floor plans. Post these floor plans in toilets and at lift or staircase foyers.

#4: Be prepared for every emergency evacuation situation

You must develop two types of evacuation plans. The first is for when your employees must be kept in your building, for example, during a violent strike. The second is for when all your employees must move out your building as fast as possible, for example, if a fire breaks out like it did at the the Kenyatta International Airport.

Having these safety measures in place will help ensure you protect your employees during emergencies.

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