First know this: you can never be too prepared when it comes to emergencies like fires. Unpreparedness brings panic and chaos. Planning helps bring organization and solutions to a dangerous situation.
The wildfires on the west coast have placed a light on the importance of companies being prepared in case of a fire. A fire evacuation plan will not only prepare your business for fires, but for any emergency. By providing your employees with the proper evacuation training, they will be able to leave the office quickly in case of any emergency.
Take these steps:
Your plan does not have to be complicated. In fact, simpler is better. An evacuation plan is most important, as well as which alarms and notifications from your multi-channel mass notification system to pay attention to for in the event of an emergency. The evacuation plan should be easy to read and understand, and illustrated so that everybody could follow it.
The plan should follow guidelines for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (OSHA). See the checklist here.
Having an emergency plan in place is not enough. You’ll also want to have a team in place who can help execute the plan, reduce panic, answer questions and save lives.
Your emergency kits should contain (at the very least) the following:
Check ahead of time that you have proper fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors. You would be surprised at how many people don’t think to have these items ready and operable for an emergency.
A fire prevention plan in the workplace is not just a good idea; it’s the law. A plan must be in writing, be kept in the workplace, and be made available to employees for review. However, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan orally to employees. However, a virtual plan that can be easily accessed online could be of great help to employees anytime.
Your fire prevention plan must include:
An employer must inform employees upon initial assignment to a job of the fire hazards to which they are exposed. An employer must also review with each employee those parts of the fire prevention plan necessary for self-protection. [29 CFR 1910.39(d)]
Train your employees to think about fire prevention:
Both the fire itself and the resulting sprinkler systems could very likely destroy any important paper documents you may have, even if they are stored away in a drawer.
Important papers to consider protecting include tax documents, business plans, contracts, financial and annual reports, leases and other real estate documents, and other specific company content.
To protect these documents, consider some safe alternatives:
The first thing you’ll want to do after a devastating, traumatic fire is put it behind you. Don’t, though.
Continuously review your plan. Tighten up the weak links, or the steps that may have caused confusion or were not effective. Coordinate any changes or improvements to your plan with your local fire department (and let them review your existing plan).
Hold regular practice drills. Your staff may change over time, so your new additions will need to become familiar with your plan. Your existing staff will also need periodic reminders on what to do in case of fire. Involve your fire department and ask for their advice. After each drill, review its effectiveness.
If your company is unprepared and unrehearsed for a fire, chaos, injury and death could result. The best way to reduce the likelihood of this situation is to have a plan in place. A fire evacuation plan can be adopted to other emergency situations. Keeping the plan in front of you and your staff, and constantly improving and updating it, could ensure that you will be best prepared for a fire.
See how RedFlag can help you protect what matters most.