December 2020 Bulletin 259 Preparing for Fire Evacuations at Workplaces
Posted by Firepoint on 2021-01-28 16:54:00 EST
Rarely does it cross one’s mind of the possible need to evacuate a workplace as a result of a fire situation. If a fire does occur, high expectations are placed on the company’s management team to implement the evacuation measures as listed in the approved fire safety plan. Truth is, unforeseen fire emergencies arise requiring the rapid evacuation of workplaces and can create panic amongst employees. It is therefore an absolute must for the company management team to ensure all employees have a clear understanding of the evacuation procedures in the approved fire safety plan. This will minimize the threat conditions they may encounter during a fire emergency. It is also essential that all the elected supervisory personnel and floor wardens are well-trained in their roles and responsibilities which they are expected to carry out should a fire emergency arise in their workplace.
The approved fire safety plan establishes the evacuation solutions that are tailored to specific requirements based on the nature of business being conducted and industry group classification. Its customization also outlines the preparation required for the activities and events that occur before the fire emergency starts, and during the first few minutes afterward. As the fire evacuation is underway, there must be safe means of evacuation for all employees. Clear paths of escape to the exit ways must be maintained, with a sufficient number of emergency lighting exit fixtures in these paths.
While the fire safety plan contains comprehensive guidelines to ensure full compliance with the fire code, identifying all the potential workplace fire risks in advance is the best line of defense to reduce the risk of fires occurring in the first place. Given the importance of the fire safety plan, whether the building has a newly approved fire safety plan or one which is already in place, business owners and management teams are responsible for ensuring that all applicable requirements are followed at all times. It is a requirement of the fire code to keep the contents of the fire safety plan and the floor layout drawings updated as deemed necessary, and at increments of no greater than 12 months. This ensures the plan continues to accurately reflect the current building layout, the placement of the fire and life safety equipment, the current list of persons requiring assistance, emergency contact / phone information, etc. For up to date fire code alerts, subscribe to our monthly fire and life safety bulletin at www.firepoint.ca/free/subscription.html
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