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Help! My building is on fire...

by , 20 September 2013
Don't let this chaos reign in your building if a fire had to break out. Make sure you have an evacuation plan in place so your employees know what to do when that dreaded alarm sounds.

Dear Reader

Help! My building is on fire…

People are running and screaming. Our alarm is going off somewhere in the background. Employees are confused and unsure of where they should be and what they must take with them. No-one has even called the fire station yet!

Don't let this chaos reign in your building if a fire breaks out. Make sure you have a fire evacuation plan in place so your employees know what to do when that dreaded alarm sounds. Don't have one? Keep reading for our six steps to evacuate your employees from a burning building.

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Six steps to evacuate your employees from a burning building

Step #1: Close all doors and windows. Switch off your air conditioning to prevent feeding the fire through oxygen – this would just spread the fire, smoke and heat.

Step #2: Protect any critical information that isn't stored at the time. Put it in fireproof safes or cupboards, or take files, documents, etc with you.

Step #3: Your employees must leave their workstations carrying as little as possible. Women wearing high-heels should take them off. Employees must follow your evacuation wardens' instructions.

Step #4: If there's time, your evacuation warden must have an initial roll call in a safe place in the building, to make sure everyone's there. If someone is missing, the warden must appoint a deputy to evacuate employees. The deputy must carry on with the evacuation while the warden goes to look for the missing employees.

Your employees aren't safe yet, read on for the last two steps.

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Six steps to evacuate your employees…continued

Step #5: If there's smoke, employees must crouch as low to the floor as possible so they can breathe properly. If there's no light, employees must hold hands and follow the warden or deputy warden who should have a torch.

Step #6: Employees must go through the emergency exits and emergency escape routes. Once your employees are safely outside they must move to your assembly points. These assembly points must be at least 30 metres away from your building. Now you need to have a second roll call.

These are just a few of the steps you should take when evacuating your employees.  There are a lot of factors that you have to comply with when planning your emergency procedures (such as appointing your emergency team). Go take a look at the chapter E03 in your Health and Safety Advisor. I hope that if tragedy ever had to strike, you'll be prepared.


Stay Safe


Louise Harty
Senior Product Manager: Health and Safety

PS – I know we have been talking a lot about fires and your evacuation plans, but they are vital for your employees' safety! If you have any health and safety questions, why not ask them on our Health and Safety Club site?


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