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.
The one vital element MISSING FROM 88% of all first aid training!
Do your first aiders know what it is?
Click here to find out
Six steps to evacuate your employees from a burning building
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your 1527 Health and Safety duties as an employer
Don't ignore your health and safety obligations. You could face a R100 000 fine and/or a jail sentence.
Click here to find the ultimate solution to avoid penalties
Six steps to evacuate your employees…continued
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.
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.
Senior Product Manager: Health and Safety
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