Have you conducted a fire drill recently?
Fire drills can often be seen as a practice that takes up time and slows productivity. Stopping the work of a whole office or school for everybody to shuffle outside and have a chat can seem like a time-wasting procedure. We have all been there! The loud bells, everybody standing up and slowly walking outside. The mention of this practice is usually followed by groans and viewed as a useless exercise. But we still do it because the government says it is required. While we all follow this rule we often hear people asking us what is the importance of it? Do fire drills actually help us during an emergency?
Do fire drills help?
Fire drills should be carried out in all commercial premises including offices, factories, and even schools. A fire drill at school meant I didn’t have to do any work for 30 minutes and were the best days ever.
Fire drills are not to be confused with fire alarm testing which should be carried out weekly. Fire alarm testing should be carried out weekly and is often seen to be less intrusive than a drill as it there is minimum interruption to the day. In some offices I have worked at we would halt our calls for a matter of seconds during the fire alarm test and then go back to the conversation with the customer often to the tune of “is that a fire at your work?!”
The main goal of a fire drill is to ensure that the people in a workspace or public place will remain in control. Despite an emergency there should be a clear plan of action that people are familiar with to ensure that they can evacuate as efficiently as possible. An effective fire drill should have select people delegated to act as an authority in an emergency situation. There should be a clear and direct route into a place of safety and systems in place to ensure that all people follow this direct route.
Will a fire drill help me and my business?
When a fire drill is conducted it gets people used to the evacuation plan. If there is no practice then people will be unsure and feel more in danger of the emergency. This can quickly lead to panic that can lead to a worser scenario and endanger more lives. Remaining calm is such a key factor for a successful evacuation. Once people are comfortable with the fire emergency plan then this will put them in good stead should a real emergency arise.
An effective fire drill will also identify problems that can arise with the evacuation procedure. As this procedure will be different in every workspace there are often hurdles that are overlooked when planning for an emergency. A fire drill will ensure that the evacuation procedure is doable. There could be no worser scenario than evacuating a building to find that some emergency doors wouldn’t open. Overcome issues like these by conducting more frequent fire drills to smooth out any barriers that prevent a smooth evacuation.
Planned or unplanned?
There is a debate around choosing the type of fire drill to conduct. Planned or unplanned? An unplanned fire drill is conducted to mimic the actual scenario of an emergency whereby people are not aware that it is a test. While it can seem like the likely choice is to mimic the scenario as close to the real deal as possible, there can often be some concerns if unplanned fire drills are conducted. People can often mistake real emergency for an unplanned fire drill if they can not immediately see the danger.
The alternative method is to schedule the drill at a specific time. This can lead to more desirable results for several reasons. A planned fire drill allows people to follow a set out evacuation plan without the worry of imminent danger. This can allow them to review the evacuation to make sure that it was the most effective way. This planned experience will be less stressful than an unplanned test so it can be remembered as a more positive experience and be more easily replicated should an actual emergency arise. If tests are conducted as planned activities, then people will be less likely to mistake a real event as a pretend emergency. A planned fire drill also allows staff to plan their activities around this so that they will not lose their work.
Do you have a plan in case of fire?
There are many reasons that fire drills should become a top safety priority within a workplace or school. Fire drills make people aware of evacuation procedures, help to minimise panic, and ensure that the evacuation plan is actually able to be followed. An evacuation plan is often made alongside a fire risk assessment by a professional who understands all risks associated with the emergency. KJ Fire Safety understand the need for a proper fire evacuation plan. If your business or a business that you know requires any more information about your fire evacuation procedure then please contact us on 01942 562021.