When a fire starts it can spread through a building at lightning speed, so having an emergency fire safety and evacuation plan in place is an essential component of any fire risk assessment. Under current fire safety legislation it is the responsibility of the person who has responsibility for the building to provide a fire safety risk assessment, which includes an evacuation plan for everyone within it.
The law states that the plan should;
- Provide a clear passageway to all escape routes
- Emergency doors that open easily
- Emergency lighting where needed
- Have clearly signposted escape routes that are as direct as possible for occupants of the building to escape.
- Enough exits and routes for all occupants to use safely to escape
- Training for all staff to ensure they know how to use the escape routes
- A safe meeting point for all staff or occupants of the building
It’s also important to be aware that you must also ensure that those with limited mobility are also able to escape. Although ideally those with mobility problems should be able to escape unassisted, there may have to be a plan for assisting evacuation of the individual from the building using allocated people.
As part of your fire safety and evacuation plan, you should hold a fire drill at least once a year, and record and keep the results. Moreover, all fire exits and escape routes should be accessible at all times. Never block exits with furniture or objects which could impede escape.