Fire Evacuation Procedure
In case of an emergency, fire evacuation procedures must be considered alongside other elements of a fire emergency plan. Developing a fire evacuation procedure or plan, for either the home or the workplace, should cover various key issues that are uniquely tailored for the specific premises or area they will cover.
Although it is the responsibility of the owner or landlord of the building to create their own fire evacuation procedure, there are guidelines available to assist with this. These guidelines, produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government following the implementation of the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (or the RRFSO for short), are named the Fire Safety Risk Assessment Guides and there are individual publications that focus on different working and domestic premises. These guidelines recommend that an fire emergency procedure should include many different things.
Some of the considerations to be made when developing a fire evacuation procedure include:
- How will people be warned if there is a fire?
- What do people do if there is a fire?
- How will the evacuation be carried out?
- Where will people assemble once they have left the premises?
- How will those in charge know if and when everyone is out of the building?
- Key escape routes should be identified, including how access will be gained and how people will reach a place of total safety
- Fire fighting arrangements
- The duties and identity of staff who have specific responsibilities in a fire situation
- Arrangements for the safe evacuation of those identified as being especially at risk, such as young people, pregnant women or disabled people. These arrangements should be specific to the individual (also called a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan or PEEP)
- Are there any machines/processes/appliances or power supplies that need to be stopped or isolated if there is a fire?
- Are there any high fire-risk areas? (These may require specific arrangements)
- Consider unusual situations – Is there a contingency plan in place for where fire safety systems (e.g. evacuation lifts, fire detection systems, sprinklers or smoke control systems) do not work for any reason?
- How will the fire and rescue service or any other required service be contacted and who has that responsibility?
- What are the procedures for meeting the fire and rescue service once they arrive on site? Who will notify them of any specific risks (e.g. location of COSHH items)
Site drawings, including specific features related to fire, such as escape routes, refuges, lifts, fire extinguishers and so on should be included, so those occupying the premises can visualise the procedures better.
Fire evacuation procedures should be made available to anyone who may be affected by the information contained within, including visitors to the premises if applicable. Those who have specific responsibilities should also be trained in how to carry out their role effectively.
Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan
The aim of a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (a PEEP) is to provide people who are unable to get themselves out of a building unaided in an emergency situation, with the necessary information to be able or manage their escape. Since the reasons why an individual cannot escape unaided will vary greatly, it is important that a PEEP be specifically tailored to the person in question. Special aids may be required (such as a visual alarm for the hearing impaired), or assistance from another in the form of a buddy system. Those with mobility problems may require assistance using one of the many accessories available on the market, such as evacuation lifts, chairs or refuges. Any PEEP should be written in consultation with the individual themselves.
A fire evacuation procedure should be kept in a suitable place and updated on a regular basis, or more often if a facet of the environment changes (such as a new sprinkler system or building extension).
Local Fire Evacuation Procedure Rules
Fire safety rules may differ depending on where you live in the UK. The links below provide more information specific to your place of residence: