When smoke alarms start ringing in a workplace, the situation can quickly get out of control if proper building evacuation procedures are not in place and followed. Being unprepared in a situation such as this can lead to increased incident of injury or worse. As a result, having a comprehensive evacuation plan and procedures is key in helping to ensure everyone gets out of the building safely.
Here are some of the basic building evacuation procedures your employees should be trained in, so they will be prepared if a fire ever breaks out in or around your office.
Step 1: Safely Stop Their Work
If a smoke alarm starts to ring, your employees should remain calm and shut down any equipment that could become unstable or present a hazard. They should then collect any essential personal belongings in their immediate area, such as medications, glasses, car keys, etc., and start on their evacuation route.
Step 2: Calmly Leave the Building
Your employees should follow set evacuation routes to their nearest door with an EXIT sign. They should not use the elevators. If there are employees with disabilities or special needs, assistance should be provided to help ensure they exit the building safely.
Employees should touch any closed doors before opening them to ensure they are cool to the touch. If the surface of the door is hot, then it should remain closed, and another exit route chosen. When leaving the building, the last employee through the doors should close them but not lock them.
Step 3: Report to the Designated Gathering Space
Once outside of the building, all employees should gather at the designated assembly area, so an accurate head count can be done. If anyone is missing from the head count, their last known location should be quickly reported to the emergency responders. The emergency responders should also be made aware of any sensitive research, operating equipment, or animals still left inside the building.
Step 4: Wait for Further Instructions
All employees should remain at the designated assembly area until the appropriate authority (fire department or police) give the authorization that the building is safe to reenter. Once the all-clear is given, employees should calmly reenter the building and return to their workspaces.
A fire in the workplace can be a traumatizing event that can be made even worse if your employees aren’t trained and prepared for how to act. As a result, creating an effective building evacuation plan and practicing it regularly is an integral part of any office fire protection strategy. Along with proper fire suppression system testing and maintenance, this is the most important thing you can do to help protect your employees and your business in the event of a fire.
For expert fire suppression system design, installation, inspection, maintenance, and/or violation remediation, call Metro Fire Inspections today at (631) 994-0081. We are a full-service fire protection services company serving all five boroughs of New York City, and Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties.