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How to create a fire plan

Fire safety isn’t just about preventing a fire; it’s about knowing what to do if one does occur. If you haven’t already done this as part of your risk assessment, do it now.

Do you need to collaborate with other businesses?

Before you start, make sure you include everyone necessary in your fire plan. If you work in a shared building, it may be necessary to collaborate with other businesses. You can develop and practice a fire plan together, to ensure your building and everybody in it is covered.

How will you raise the alarm?

In most instances, a detector will do the job. However, if a person notices the fire first, they’ll need to raise the alarm. The best way to do this is by activating a break glass call point. Is there who has hearing difficulties in your building? How will they be alerted? You could issue them with a vibrating fire pager. Or you could always assign buddies to those who need them. The buddy will be able to tell them if the alarm has been raised, and guide them towards the exit. Another key thing to consider is how you will alert the fire services once your building has been evacuated.

What is everyone’s role?

Everyone in your building should have a role. For most, this will be as simple as evacuating the building safely. You can, however, nominate people in your business to carry out specific duties, as long as you train them, and make sure everybody understands what their role is. If you have trained fire marshals, they may be required to supervise emergency evacuations and help those with mobility issues exit the building.

What is your escape route?

An exit route should take people to the nearest fire exit, via the quickest route. In a large building, with multiple fire exits, you will need to create more than one emergency exit route. You will need to place emergency exit signs and emergency lights along your escape routes, so that people can always find their way to the nearest exit. If you need guidance, click here for a guide to emergency exit signs, and click here for a guide to emergency lights.

Can you use firefighting tools?

If the fire is in sight and incredibly small, trained people may be able to fight the fire. You’ll need to make sure you have the correct firefighting tools, and employees know how to use them, and when it’s appropriate to use them. You’ll also need to check these tools are working, by having them regularly maintained or replaced when needed. Fire Assembly Point Sign

What is your assembly point?

Your assembly point should be agreed upon so that you can take a staff register and ensure everyone has escaped. If you employ a large number of people, get team leaders or managers to conduct a register of their team and report to you any missing people. At your assembly point, you’ll also need to check if anybody has been injured in the fire and need medical assistance.

Have you trained staff?

It’s important that you have trained staff and made them aware of the correct procedures and their role. You should do this when they first join the business, and if there is a change to your fire safety plan. If you have temporary or seasonal staff members, they too will need to be trained.

Conduct fire drills annually

Fire drills are a mandatory part of your fire safety routine and have several benefits. • Test your staff’s understanding of the exit strategy • Give employees the chance to practice the evacuating the building • Test the state of your fire safety equipment • Identify any weaknesses in your fire plan You will need to carry out a fire drill during working hours, at least once a year, but it’s a good idea to do it more regularly, to account for staff absences and shift workers. To cover yourself, don’t forget to keep a record of dates and times. photo credit: Arenamontanus via photopin cc

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