The potential for fire exists in every workplace, with some being at a higher risk than others. No matter the work environment the existence of an Emergency Evacuation Plans for Businesses cannot be underestimated. There are numerous emergencies both natural and man-made that may require the work environment to be evacuated. These include earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorist threats, civil disturbances and workplace violence.
A business will want their employees to respond accordingly to the nature of the threat. For example, if the nature of the threat is a natural one such as a tornado they may have the employees gather together in a location inside the workplace. A threat such as a fire requires evacuation to a safe location outside the building. In the event of any emergency evacuation, it is the responsibility of the business to address when and how employees are expected to respond to various emergencies.
Having an unorganized evacuation plan is almost as bad as not having a plan at all. In either case, people will respond with confusion and fear, resulting in injury, property damage and possibly loss of life. When developing Emergency Evacation Plans in Canberra, it is necessary to consider the following:
- Conditions that warrant an evacuation.
- When having a shelter-in-place is a better option.
- Establishing a chain of command and designating one person as authorized to order an evacuation.
- Specific emergency evacuation procedures that include routes and exits.
- Procedures for helping visitors to evacuate.
- Procedures for those with disabilities.
- Notification of emergency service organisations.
- Testing of the emergency procedures — including emergency drills.
In Australia, an employer has the obligation to provide and keep a safe workplace under Section 21 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 2004. This involves information, proper training, and supervision. There are many Australian Standards regarding fire and fire control, while not required, provide useful information and advice that should be followed. These cover topics such as how to plan for emergencies, the use of lifts during emergencies, and how to maintain fire protection equipment.
Canberra Emergency Evacuation Plans should not be lengthy, but rather as short as possible and to the point. The best emergency plans are readily understandable and specific to the work environment. When drafting an emergency evacuation plan, consider the following criteria:
- The type of work being conducted at the workplace.
- Any inherent hazards of the workplace.
- The location and square footage of the workplace.
- The number of employees, visitors, contractors, etc on site.
It is one thing to have an emergency evacuation plan, however if one’s employees are not adequately trained in the company’s emergency procedures, it means nothing. The emergency plan itself must provide arrangements for dissemination of the information, and specify training procedures and instructions. The training may include elements such as practising evacuation drills, identifying meeting points, the location of safety equipment and use of same, and basic first aid procedures. Consider the following when determining the training requirements:
- Including emergency procedure training for new employee orientation
- Frequency of refresher training for current employees.
- Training for temporary contractors or visitors.
- Specific training for individuals in formal capacities such as floor wardens, fire wardens, and first aid officers.
For those businesses that are unsure as to how to draft an emergency evacuation plan, consulting an independent fire safety professional is the ideal place to start. Consulting an expert in the field of fire safety ensures that your emergency evacuation plan is tailor-made for your work environment. Here at FCF Fire and Electrical we can help ensure your business has an adequate Emergency Evacuation Plan in place. Contact us today.