When you are scheduling a fire drill you should decide on something explicit that you are going to supervise. This could be a particular aspect of your escape plan that you have emphasised as requiring improvement or a more common goal, such as decreasing the amount of time it takes for everybody to exit the structure or seeing how effective the use of the evacuation chairs was for the evacuation of frail or vulnerable people.
Among the staff, a team of fire officers with a chief fire officer and deputy in charge, should be selected to oversee fire drills and check that everybody gets out without harm. All marshals will need special training so that they can carry out their duties safely and efficiently. Deputies should be given the chance to participate in fire drills so they can acquaint themselves with their role in case of the non-appearance of the chief fire marshal if a real fire transpires.
If you have a scheme that mechanically informs the fire service when the alarm is activated, you need to take suitable actions to stop this from causing the Fire Brigade a wasted trip. Take any arrangements off line before the fire drill but be sure to get them back up and running once the drill has ended. You should also inform people in nearby buildings of the drill date and time in advance so that when they overhear the fire alarm, they know that there is not an actual fire.
During the drill
To observe fire drills, spectators should be positioned at points around the building in areas such as staircases to look for good and bad habits, especially when it comes to evacuating frail people with evacuation chairs and other apparatus. Any room for correction can be recorded and then mentioned at a briefing meeting after the exercise.
In structures where there is more than one exit way, the main exits should be obstructed off to reassure staff to use alternate escape routes as in a real fire, portions of the building could be inaccessible due to fire or smoke.
Set a timer to note how long the full evacuation takes, fire marshals should check off a register and make sure everybody is out of the building. Before departing themselves, fire marshals should do rapid sweep of the building together with the toilets to check no one is stuck inside.
Evaluate the effectiveness
An examination should take place after the fire drill to look at the discoveries made by the observers and assess the efficiency of the clearing procedures. Specific attention should be made to those points that were underlined for improvement in the early preparation. To get a better idea of how positive the drill was, you could also invite staff to impart their ideas on how they think the drill could have been more effectual.
Love them or hate them, fire drills are a vital part of fire safety and your place of work will be a much safer place because of them.