Fire drills are indispensable in any workplace or public building for rehearsing what to do in the event of a fire. They are also a lawful obligation under the Fire Safety Order of 2005 and all workers in a company must partake. Here’s how to get the most out of your fire practice.
Why have fire drills?
There are numerous reasons why fire drills are vital; first of all, fire drills are a chance to practice evacuation techniques to make sure all staff are acquainted with them. They get staff used to departing a building quickly and therefore in a real life situation panic will be decreased, as everyone will know what they need to do. Fire drills are also beneficial for testing escape methods to assess their efficiency.
During fire drills, checks can also be carried out on alarm systems to make certain they are working properly and that emergency exits are passable. Overall fire drills help increase safety, so that you will be best equipped if a real fire does happen.
Ideally you should target having two fire drills a year at your grounds, although this may vary contingent on what has been set out in your firm’s risk assessment. If you hire shift workers, suitable preparations should be made to ensure all staff partake in at least one fire drill per year.
Should you inform staff beforehand?
There are arguments for and against making people conscious of fire drills before they take place. Some people contend that not notifying staff gives an element of surprise, so that people take drills more sincerely. However this can also have the reverse effect in a real fire, as on overhearing the alarm people may reason that it’s only a drill.
The benefit of notifying all staff of fire drills in advance is that initially, they will not panic, which circumvents potential injuries that could be instigated in a rush to exit a building. Furthermore, if the alarm sounds, lacking a prior warning, there will be no uncertainty as to if it is a drill or not and people will act correctly. In public places such as shopping centres, it is prudent to make members of the public alert when a drill is about to happen.