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Fire Evacuation plan – What is it and how to create one.

A fire can break out at any time, and it is essential to have an evacuation plan in place to ensure the safety of all occupants of a building. In the UK, the law requires that every commercial building has a fire evacuation plan in place. In this blog, we will discuss how to create a fire evacuation plan for a UK building. 

Step 1: Identify potential hazards 

The first step in creating a fire evacuation plan is to identify potential hazards in the building. This includes identifying flammable materials, electrical equipment, and any other items that could start a fire. It is also important to identify areas where smoke could accumulate, such as stairwells, hallways, and lift.  

Step 2: Designate an evacuation team 

The next step is to designate an evacuation team. This team should consist of individuals who are responsible for overseeing the evacuation process, such as floor wardens, security personnel, and first aiders. The team should be trained in fire safety procedures and should know how to communicate with one another during an emergency. 

Step 3: Determine evacuation routes 

The evacuation team should then determine the best evacuation routes for the building. This includes identifying the nearest exits, stairways, and fire escapes. The evacuation team should also ensure that these routes are clear of any obstacles and that all occupants of the building know where they are – this can be provided by simple ‘You are here now’ drawings. 

Step 4: Check the alarm system is suitable and sufficient 

An alarm system is essential in alerting occupants of a building of a fire. The evacuation team should ensure that there is an audible alarm system in place and that all occupants know what it sounds like. The team should also know how to activate the alarm system. 

Step 5: Develop a communication plan 

During an emergency, communication is key. The evacuation team should have a communication plan that includes how to communicate with occupants of the building, emergency services, and other members of the evacuation team. This plan should include a list of emergency contact numbers and a designated meeting point for occupants once they have evacuated the building. 

Step 6: Train all occupants 

Once the fire evacuation plan is in place, it is important to train all occupants of the building on the plan. This includes conducting regular fire drills to ensure that everyone knows the evacuation routes and what to do in the event of a fire. The evacuation team should also provide training on how to use fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment. 

Step 7: Review and update the plan 

Finally, it is important to review and update the fire evacuation plan regularly. This includes identifying any new hazards, updating contact information, and conducting regular training sessions. The evacuation team should also conduct regular inspections of the building to ensure that all fire safety equipment is in working order. 

The HSE’s preferred model for reviewing management systems is based on the Plan, Do, Check, Act approach

  • Plan: determine your policy / plan for implementation 
  • Do: profile risks / implement your plan 
  • Check: measure performance 
  • Act: review performance / act on lessons learned

If you would like to understand more you can get in touch with us, or look to have a Fire Risk Assessement undertaken.