Fire drills are infamously completed to poor standards at many workplaces. Practising fire drills and safety at work can be the difference between life and death at times. It is integral for all employees to understand their responsibilities during a fire drill, so we’ve created this easy to follow checklist.
Especially now, as the world continues to battle Covid-19, workplace regulations are always changing. Ensuring the safety of your employees and customers can be as easy as offering the right information to your staff and keeping up to date with your risk assessments.
Before a Workplace Fire Drill
Before you conduct any fire drill you must have taken the correct precautions beforehand, such as staff fire training and clear signage. You want to achieve a quick and efficient evacuation and as the saying goes – if you fail to prepare, you should prepare to fail. A fire drill should be carried out at least once a year, preferably twice or as detailed in your Fire Risk Assessment. Your workplace should always be prepared in case of a real emergency.
When should you do a Fire Drill?
Employee involvement in annual fire drills is a legal requirement, so ensure that all staff are notified and aware of the date and time of your fire drill. Ideally, employees will have a week notice to revise the procedure. You should also inform them of the fire drill meet point, and ask them to familiarise themselves with the route.
Depending on the size of the building, you might require multiple fire wardens. Remind yourself of your fire wardens and inform them of the fire drill. Fire wardens will be able to give valuable insight and feedback after the fire drill is complete. Furthermore, they should be keeping their training up to date in case of a fire emergency at any time.
Keep a Register
Before conducting a workplace fire drill, you want to print off an up to date register of all the employees and visitors in the building that you plan to evacuate. Though you can also keep a register digitally, it’s recommended that you use a physical copy. This is because in a real emergency technology can sometimes be incorrect or glitch, whereas a physical copy can be checked for accuracy.
Test the alarms
If you are using fire alarms to conduct your fire drill, make sure that none appear faulty before the drill begins. While you’ll be able to find broken alarms during the drill, ensuring that all appear to be working will make for a more efficient workplace fire drill.
Staff fire training
Consider whether you think your staff are ready to carry out a full fire drill. Have you recently employed any new staff? When was the last time they attended a fire safety course? A fire drill is a waste of time if your employees don’t know how to carry one out efficiently. Before conducting a workplace fire drill, it’s recommended that all your staff have attended a fire safety course recently.
During a Workplace Fire Drill
When your fire drill begins make sure that you are constantly observing your employees, as well as exits, signage and accessibility issues.
A workplace fire drill is important because it allows you the ability to find any problems in your procedure without the danger of a real fire. Hence, your fire wardens should dedicate their time to observing the method and process, as well as timing the fire drill. You should also ensure that you’re taking care of any disabled people during the workplace fire drill so that they can evacuate the building safely and quickly.
Use the closest fire escape to you when the fire alarm is sounded. All fire doors should have clear signage and ideally, all the doors will be used equally. During the fire drill, encourage employees to use the closest fire escape, regardless of where they are at the time of the fire drill, ask visitors to do the same.
Take a register
After the building has been fully evacuated and all employees are safely at the agreed meet point take a register. Call out the register as quickly and efficiently as possible to ensure that nobody has been left in the building. In larger offices, it might be easier to have managers take smaller registers of their section than one single register.
Follow the procedure
Most importantly, follow your procedure exactly as you have planned. This way you will be able to observe any problems in your risk assessment.
After a Workplace Fire Drill
After the staff has been counted and the building is ready to re-enter it’s time to start evaluating the success or failure of the fire drill. Once you’ve collated your observations you will be able to make amendments to your fire drill procedure or decide whether your staff require fire safety training.
Record your observations
First and foremost, ask your fire wardens all to record their observations as well as your own. These can be targets for the next workplace fire drill. Or if all fire wardens have noticed a similar issue then you can begin to rectify your workplace fire drill procedure.
In a meeting with your fire wardens, ask them to elaborate on any of their observations or if they noticed a recurring problem. This way, others can discuss whether they saw a similar problem.
Solve the problems
After you’ve completed your workplace fire drill it’s time to use your observations to improve your fire drill procedure. You need to analyse what the source of the issues was. For example, if it took staff members on the second floor five minutes longer to evacuate, consider whether the staff have received enough training, or whether the fire doors are being used equally. Or, if a disabled employee found that they couldn’t access their closest fire door, consider adding more accessibility measures to your building.
In other cases, your staff might require staff fire training to update their knowledge on fire hazards and fire drills in the workplace. Fire is one of the biggest risks that people face in the workplace. Therefore, it’s vital that all employees are aware of fire safety measures to keep each other safe.
At 1st Attendance Ltd, we offer engaging and informative staff fire training to keep your workplace safe. Our courses are proven to be informative and effective in workplaces and employees love getting to extinguish a real fire. Get in touch for more information on our fire safety courses, as well as any other queries you may have.