A full-scale building evacuation is something that we never hope to be involved in. We look at 3 things health and safety managers need to do to prepare for this type of emergency situation and find out why fire safety training is so important.
OK, so we really hope that you never have to evacuate a building in an emergency situation.
If you need to evacuate a building for real then something has gone seriously wrong. It might be one of those things that never happen or you might think that the likelihood of it happening is very low but the fact is you need to be prepared.
We recently blogged about why fire drills are vital for health and safety.
As a manager, you need to ensure that certain procedures are in place and we are going to show you 3 tips for dealing with a building evacuation.
#1 Make sure you have a trained team of employees
As a manager, you have a high level of responsibility (see point 3 below) however you can’t do absolutely everything yourself.
You should have evacuation procedures in place to prepare for the event of a fire or something happening which requires everyone to exit the building sharpish. This plan also includes having a trained team who can assist others and who are familiar with emergency equipment.
It allows a more effective approach to evacuation and means that several people can provide crucial assistance if needed.
#2 Practice evacuation drills
You need to practice these once yearly at a minimum.
That being said, carrying out a practice evacuation drill every 6 months will do no harm and will help you to see who may need extra help if the real thing ever happens. If you have a high staff turnover or have just hired a load of new staff then having a practice evacuation drill is recommended as well.
No-one knows how they will react in the real event of an evacuation – we all hope we’d rise to the occasion but who knows?! – but practice means there is a better chance of our auto-pilot kicking in if we ever need it.
#3 You have a responsibility for everyone
As a manager, you need to ensure that everyone gets out safely.
You might have a few staff members trained to provide assistance but it is the manager’s job to make sure all staff are evacuated safely. Some of this might depend on your organisation’s policies and procedures but you can’t leave this up to someone else.
You can be found guilty of not providing a duty of care and this can lead to corporate manslaughter in severe cases.
Evacuation procedures and health and safety
We hope that this information is never used in a real situation however you need to be prepared for all emergencies.
The chances of a full-scale evacuation of your work building might be pretty low but that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Luckily you can get expert fire safety training which can give the necessary skills to deal with these events if they do happen.
Remember that it is far better to be prepared now than to be sorry later should the worst happen.