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Fire Alarm

Mock Drill Observation Checklist

Fire Alarm

January 5, 2022 Posted by in Crisis Communications

A mock drill observation checklist is needed when you want your staff to act effectively and in unison in the event of an emergency or disaster.

In the day-to-day life of your business, nobody expects a disaster or emergency, especially a fire. But in order to be ready to save your business and — more importantly — your staff, customers, vendors and clients — you have to prepare for whatever bad news may enter your space. A mock drill — practiced on a regular basis in advance — can make all the difference in the face of trouble.

General points to be checked:

  • Communication lines
  • The total time of the operation, including evacuation and head counts
  • How the team responds to the mock drill
  • Accuracy of and easy access to emergency contact numbers (like fire and police departments)

Consider these statistics:

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)’s latest statistics:

  • Overall, local fire departments responded to an estimated 1,388,500 fires in 2020, resulting in 3,500 civilian deaths, 15,200 civilian injuries and $21.9 billion in direct property damage.
  • Every 23 seconds, a fire department in the United States responds to a fire somewhere in the nation.
  • A fire occurs in a structure at the rate of one every 64 seconds, and a home fire occurs every 89 seconds.
  • The death rate per 1,000 reported one- or two-family home fires was 16 percent higher than in 1980, while the comparable rate for apartment fires was 43 percent lower.
  • Sixty-four percent of all U.S. home fire deaths occurred in one- or two-family homes; another 10 percent occurred in apartments or other multi-family housing.
  • Eighteen percent of fire deaths were caused by vehicle fires.

Your mock drill observation checklist can cover more than just fires.

Train your people well, and they will be able to respond emergencies and disasters that go beyond fires. Other events that may work well with your checklist:

  • Active shooter
  • Severe weather
  • Natural disasters, such as earthquakes

Some considerations for the actual evacuation:

  • Should you shelter in place or evacuate? For instance, an active shooter situation may call for a shelter-in-place situation. Of course, a fire means a quick and safe evacuation.
  • Where is your business located? If you are in a high-rise building, there may be specific evacuation requirements (check with your property manager). Evacuation directions should be posted on each floor.
  • Can you account for non-staff in the building? Your building should feature a digital visitor’s register, which should include contact information for visitors so that you can communicate with them in the midst of the event.
  • Do you have your emergency staff/helpers in place? These people should be trained to check areas and offices, close fire doors, and know how to get people to safety. You should assign backup people in case the original choices are not currently in the building.
  • Who will remain in the building after the evacuation? This person may need to turn off computers and other machines, turn off alarms, and, of course, know when to evacuate themselves for their own safety.
  • Will you need special equipment for the evacuation? Think about items that you may not normally think about: safety goggles, hardhats, respirators, chemical suits, gloves and other forms of body protection. Of course, make sure your fire extinguishers are strategically placed and in working condition (your local fire department or property manager can help you with this).

Imagine all the specific ways you can be affected by an emergency or a disaster.

Make your mock drills a regular part of your staff’s training. Here are some ideas:

  • Where could a fire start?
  • Where are your people most vulnerable when it comes to safety?
  • Are there chemicals in your area?
  • Are there electrical or wiring issues?
  • Can unknown and unwelcome visitors gain easy access?
  • Are you familiar with the fire code in your building?
  • What is the maximum occupation limit for your building?

Develop a plan.

Reduce confusion and chaos in advance. You don’t want everybody running in every which direction at once. That will only give you another problem to deal with. A well-detailed plan, shared with your people and regularly practiced, will surely save your group from harm and hopefully save lives.

Devise your checklist.

Here’s where we drill down on the drill:

  • Pick your people — establish roles and duties for those on your staff who can lead the team and help everybody evacuate.
  • Use a mass communications system to help you get the message out to the right people at the right place at the right time. Get everybody’s contact information listed in the system in advance, and keep the list updated and accurate.
  • Plan your evacuation routes. Share these directions with your people. Post them on doorways and in hallways.
  • Check your fire extinguishers, smoke detectors and fire alarms regularly. Call your local prevention professionals to come by and inspect your equipment. Teach your staff how to effectively use a fire extinguisher.
  • Schedule your practices and drills in advance. Also schedule a time for everyone to get together and evaluate the plan. Invite feedback and look for weak links in the chain.
  • Plan for a post-event report that will evaluate how you did, and what needs to be strengthened or improved. A good notification system can give you this important data.

Block it out.

Ask your local fire department to walk you through the best escape route, and share it with your people. The professionals you invite to the walk through can show you any blockages and dangers that may get in the way, and how to avoid them (in advance). Know where your fire exits are located, and which are the best to use. Lack of this step could result in confusion from ignorance, and a possible loss of lives.

Practice, practice, practice.

You’ve been practicing fire drills since you were in elementary school. The trick: it’s a regular part of the school year, so students become accustomed to it and learn how to conduct themselves in the event of a real fire. It becomes weaved into school life. Think of your business with the same strategy: make drills a regular, ongoing, expected part of your business culture.

Best practices to fine-tune: 

  • Entire staff jumping into action at the same time and knowing their responsibilities.
  • A quick but orderly evacuation (lack of chaos and confusion).
  • Expert use of fire extinguishers in the case of fire.
  • Seamless use of your emergency communication system.

How RedFlag can help:

To help with your mock drill observation list and practice, RedFlag can provide the following features and benefits:

  • Buy only the features you need — the most relevant functions that are tailored to your specific business and evacuation plan.
  • Dependable 24/7/365 support — have an army of support behind you, especially if you need assistance or have vital questions.
  • Strong security — all of your information needs to remain confidential and protected, stored in an airtight, reliable cloud system.
  • Multi-channel capabilities — simply send one message to everyone who needs to receive it, on any device they’re using.
  • An ability to generate detailed, usable reports and summations — you may need this vital data in the near future, and you can also use it to improve your emergency strategies going foward.

The key to your success is that your system should be seamless and easy to use.

Remember that not all enterprise alert systems are alike. Make sure to choose a secure, reliable, multi-channel system that allows for clear two-way communication and the ability for all data to be stored in one place.

Bottom line:

Depend on a mock drill observation checklist to help you determine where your strengths and weaknesses lie within your business’ emergency escape plan. The more you drill down to the particulars, the more you will learn about what needs to be done in the heat of an emergency or disaster. Have all of these steps in place ahead of time, and then practice them and evaluate them with your staff.

Refer to a well-detailed drill checklist. Click here

Drill down deeper with fire statistics here

Discover how RedFlag can help you with your mock drill observation checklist. Click here


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