Carrying out fire drill are not only a great way of educating your employees on their easiest route to safety in the event of a fire, but they are also a legal requirement. Although the government require one fire test a year, running practise drill every six months ensures your staff know their escape route. If your company has recently employed a number of new staff members, it is good practice to run a fire drill so they understand the process of evacuating the building safely. Recording results of fire drills allow assessment of knowledge of the fire safety escape plan; it is suggested that an entire drill should last no more that 12 minutes, anything higher than this will need a revised fire safety plan.
The main benefit of running a fire drill is to prepare staff in the event of a fire, in the event of a real fire, staff will be able to remember their training in the high-stress situation and exit a burning building to an identified safety point. Having run through the procedure before, this will help to reduce the natural panic included in a real life event.
Preparation is key when performing a fire drill, some key things to consider when organising a fire drill are:
- Let staff know that a fire drill will be occurring, although they don’t need to know the exact time it will help reduce the panic associated with an evacuation, also advise any visitors within the building.
- Delegate fire marshal roles to members of staff, these marshals can oversee the drill and help everyone leave the building to safety.
- If the triggering of the fire alarm causes the fire department to be notified, inform them that you will be running a drill to avoid unnecessary visits from the fire station.
- Make sure everyone has an escape route detailed, this is especially important for disabled employees or visitors to the building.
During the drill, behaviours of employees should be noted to allow feedback on the process. For example, staff members should leave the building as quickly as possible, this means all belongings should be left behind if employees leave with bags and coats they may need to be reminded of the procedure. Any additional hazards or issues during the procedure should be noted, these can then be included in the fire safety plan to be avoided. Finally, when at the fire safety point, take a register of all members of staff present, this is good practice for the real event as the fire department will need to know if there is anyone remaining in the building.
Take time to reflect on the results of the fire drill and make any adjustments to the fire safety plan to help avoid hazards in the real event of a fire. Inform staff of any changes to their escape routes and remind them of any mistakes they made during the drill. Most importantly, if you notified the fire department that a drill was occurring, inform them the drill has finished and any further alert should not be ignored.
Safety Management UK can help prepare a fire safety plan for your business. Our fire risk assessment team have years of experience preparing businesses for the unfortunate event of a fire. Safety Management UK also provides seminars and online training courses to ensure your staff fully understand the processes that keep employees safe from fire. If you would like to find out more about out fire safety services, contact us here or call on +44 (0)1524 784356.