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How to Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
When a fire occurs at work, a fire evacuation plan is the best way to ensure everyone gets out safely. All it takes to build your own evacuation plan is seven steps.
- 7 Steps to Improve Your Fire Evacuation Plan
Tips for Employees During a Fire Evacuation
- Other Considerations
Frequently Asked Questions
When a fire threatens your employees and business, there are countless things that can go wrong—each with devastating consequences. When an office tower in Sydney , Australia, caught fire in mid-2018, construction workers on scaffolding had to scramble to safety, racing against the clock as the building’s exterior transformed into a wall of flames.
While fires themselves are dangerous enough, the threat is often compounded by panic and chaos if your company is unprepared. The best way to prevent this is to have a detailed and rehearsed fire evacuation plan.
A comprehensive evacuation plan prepares your business for a variety of emergencies beyond fires—including natural disasters and active shooter situations. By providing your employees with the proper evacuation training, they will be able to leave the office quickly in case of any emergency.
Whether your organization is building a fire evacuation plan from scratch or looking to improve upon your existing emergency procedures, this seven-step plan—along with AlertMedia’s own Fire Evacuation Plan Template —can help guide you in how to make an evacuation plan that protects your people and business.
7 Steps to Improve Your Organization’s Fire Evacuation Plan
1. imagine various scenarios.
When planning your fire evacuation plan, start with some basic questions to explore the fire-related threats your business may face.
How do fires break out?
The U.S. Fire Administration reported 103,400 fires in nonresidential buildings in 2020, resulting in $3.3 billion in losses. The leading cause of these fires for that year (and the last 20 years prior) was cooking fires. Other common causes were electrical malfunction, heating, and intentional fires such as arson. Knowing these common causes will help you establish your business’s specific fire risks and plan to prevent them.
What are your risks?
Take some time to brainstorm reasons a fire would threaten your business. Do you have a kitchen in your office? Are people using portable space heaters or personal fridges? Do nearby home fires or wildfires threaten your location(s) each summer? Make sure you understand the threats and how they might impact your facilities and operations.
Since cooking fires are at the top of the list for office properties, put rules in place for the use of microwaves and other office kitchen appliances. Forbid hot plates, electric grills, and other cooking appliances outside of the kitchen area.
What if “X” happens?
Develop a list of “What if X happens” questions and answers. Make “X” as business-specific as possible. Consider edge-case scenarios such as:
- “What if authorities evacuate us and we have fifteen refrigerated trucks loaded with our weekly ice cream deliveries?”
- “What if we have to abandon our headquarters with very little notice?”
Thinking through different scenarios allows you to create an action plan. This exercise also helps you elevate a fire incident from something no one imagines into the collective consciousness of your business for true fire preparedness.
2. Establish roles and responsibilities
When a fire emerges and your business must evacuate, employees will look to their leaders for reassurance and guidance. Create a clear chain of command with redundancies that state who has the authority to order an evacuation.
Here are the primary roles you should consider as part of your fire evacuation plan:
- Chief fire warden — This employee has overall responsibility for a fire event, including planning and preparation. The chief fire warden will often ensure doors have been closed, check bathrooms, and perform a backup headcount at a safe location.
- Assistant fire warden — This person uses the mass alert system to notify employees, calls the fire department, and gathers reports. If your company is using an emergency communication system, make sure this person is a system admin.
- Route guides — Route guides play an essential role in ensuring that routes are clear and evacuation is orderly and calm.
- Floor monitors — The floor monitor is the last person out after making sure the area is clear. They’ll have an assigned area to cover, ensure all employees evacuate, close doors, and report back to the chief fire warden once safe.
As you’re assigning roles, make sure your fire safety team is reliable and able to react quickly in the face of an emergency. Additionally, make sure your organization’s fire marshals aren’t too heavily weighted toward one department. For example, sales team members are sometimes more outgoing and likely to volunteer, but you will want to spread out responsibilities across multiple departments and locations for better representation.
Document all expectations, as well as contact information, for your fire safety team. The easiest way to do so is by completing a fill-in-the-blank Fire Evacuation Plan Template . You can then distribute your plan, along with other helpful information like floor plan evacuation diagrams, to the rest of your company so everyone knows what to expect and what to do.
3. Determine escape routes and nearest exits
A good fire evacuation plan for your business will include primary and secondary escape routes. Mark all the exit routes and fire escapes with clear signs. Keep exit routes clear of furniture, equipment, or other objects that could impede a direct means of egress for your employees.
For large offices, make multiple maps of floor plans and diagrams and post them so employees know the evacuation routes. Best practice also calls for developing a separate fire escape plan for individuals with disabilities who may need additional assistance.
Once your people are out of the facility, where do they go?
Designate a safe assembly point for employees to gather. Assign the assistant fire warden to be at the assembly point to take headcount and provide updates. If the fire warden is using AlertMedia to communicate, they can use the survey feature to quickly determine who is safe and who is still unaccounted for.
Finally, confirm that the escape routes, any areas of refuge, and the assembly area can accommodate the expected number of employees who will be evacuating.
Every plan should be unique to the business and workspace it is meant to serve. An office building might have several floors and lots of staircases, but a factory or warehouse might have a single wide-open space and equipment to navigate around. Here’s an example of what a fire evacuation floor plan might look like for a hypothetical manufacturing business:
4. Create a communication plan
As you develop your office fire evacuation plans and run fire drills, designate someone (such as the assistant fire warden) whose primary job is to call the fire department and emergency responders—and to disseminate information to key stakeholders, including employees, customers, and the news media. As applicable, assess whether your crisis communication plan should also include community outreach, suppliers, transportation partners, and government officials.
Select your communication liaison carefully. To facilitate timely and accurate communication, this person may need to work out of an alternate office if the primary office is impacted by fire (or the threat of fire). As a best practice, you should also train a backup in the event your crisis communication lead is unable to perform their duties.
Once you have identified this critical role, you need to provide them with a robust multichannel emergency communication system . Reacting to a fire can be very chaotic. People may not have access to their regular communication channels, they may forget to check, and networks could fail.
The ability to send notifications through email, phone, text, and mobile app provides you with a way to reach building occupants by preferred and secondary methods of communication—ensuring your messages get the broadest distribution possible. This also allows you to reach the fire department and emergency responders as quickly as possible. An intuitive emergency communication tool, like AlertMedia, makes this seamless. If some employees have evacuated without their personal phones, fire team leaders should also conduct a manual roll call to ensure that every employee is accounted for.
Fire notification examples
Here are a few examples of notifications you might send.
A fire drill will be held in the [LOCATION] office on [DATE] at [TIME]. When the alarm sounds, evacuate the building (avoid elevators) and proceed outside to the emergency rally point.
A fire has been reported in the [LOCATION] office. This is NOT a drill! Evacuate the building immediately and await further instructions at the assembly point outside.
Once that tool is in place, your communications team will need to let the appropriate stakeholders know how the situation impacts the business, what actions they should take, the next steps, and more.
5. Know your tools and inspect them
Have you inspected those dusty office fire extinguishers in the past year?
The National Fire Protection Association recommends refilling reusable fire extinguishers every 10 years and replacing disposable ones every 12 years. Also, make sure you periodically remind your employees about the location of fire extinguishers in the workplace. Create a schedule for confirming other emergency equipment is up-to-date and operable, including:
- Fire alarm systems and smoke alarms
- Emergency lighting
- Fire doors (if applicable)
- Sprinkler systems
- Escape ladders (if applicable)
- Bullhorn, megaphone, or traffic controller wand for fire marshal
In addition to these crucial fire protection supplies, educate your employees about how to use first aid kits in case of a medical emergency as well as the utility of everyday office supplies in an emergency situation. For example, chairs and heavy equipment can be used to break through windows or knock down doors in the case of an actual fire.
6. Rehearse fire evacuation procedures
If you have children in school, you know that they practice “fire drills” often, sometimes monthly.
Because conducting regular rehearsals minimizes confusion and helps kids see what a safe fire evacuation looks like, ultimately reducing panic when a real emergency occurs. A safe outcome is more likely to occur with calm students who know what to do in the event of a fire.
Research shows adults benefit from the same approach to learning through repetition. Fires move quickly, and seconds could make a difference—so preparedness on the individual level is necessary ahead of a possible evacuation.
“When you're planning drills, it’s important not to have them at a predictable frequency because the nature of fire itself is unpredictable. Employees need to be ready for this irregularity.” Brian O’Connor Technical Services Engineer at National Fire Prevention Association
Key fire evacuation leaders should meet quarterly and plan for an annual or semi-annual full rehearsal of the company fire evacuation plan. Consult local fire codes for your facility to ensure you meet safety requirements and emergency personnel are aware of your organization’s fire escape plan.
We have a detailed guide on how to conduct a fire drill at work . For bonus points, make a mini-fire evacuation drill part of a new employee’s onboarding process.
This step-by-step video will guide you through the process of conducting a fire drill at work.
7. Follow-up and reporting
During a fire emergency, your company’s safety leadership needs to be communicating and tracking progress in real-time. Surveys are an easy way to get status updates from your employees. The assistant fire marshal can send out a survey asking for a status update and monitor responses to see who’s safe. Most importantly, the assistant fire marshal can see who hasn’t responded and direct resources to assist those in need.
The biggest challenge you will face is getting reports from people who aren’t in the office. There’s inevitably going to be someone out sick or on vacation. These people obviously won’t be at the rally point, so you may start to wonder whether they made it out of the office safely.
Make sure you include response options such as, “I’m not in the office today,” in your surveys to account for this and clarify everyone’s situation.
If you have a large organization, event pages help keep everyone updated with real-time info. This will offer employees a web link they can check for updates.
While you likely learned at some point during your childhood to “stop, drop, and roll” if you are on fire, there are other actions you and your employees should take if a fire begins to spread in your office.
If you get caught in smoke, get down and crawl while taking short breaths through your nose. Heat rises, leaving cleaner, cooler air near the floor.
Before opening any doors, feel the doorknob or handle with the back of your hand. If it’s hot, don’t open the door. If it’s cool, open slightly to check if heat or heavy smoke is present. If so, close the door and stay in the room. If you’re able to exit safely, be sure to close the door behind you.
Always use a stairwell to evacuate from higher floors, never an elevator. Elevator shafts can fill with smoke or the power could fail, trapping you inside and putting you in harm’s way. Most stairwell doors are built to keep the fire and smoke out if they are closed and protect you until you can get outside.
Other Fire Evacuation Considerations
Some special situations will vary from business to business, but don’t leave these out of your fire evacuation plan.
Unique work situations
- Incorporate contractors, temporary workers, and customers into your plan. Additionally, remote workers might not be affected by a fire directly, but they need to know what is going on with the business and their co-workers.
- Make sure to plan for any special needs, such as disabled workers or other people who may need assistance to evacuate safely. Even if your company doesn’t have permanently disabled employees, it’s crucial to plan for anyone who is temporarily on crutches or in a wheelchair. These individuals may need additional help during all emergencies, not just fires. Update your company’s emergency response plan annually to include the number of people with disabilities who may require special assistance during an evacuation and their primary work location.
- Develop procedures for employees who remain to shut down critical equipment, operate fire extinguishers, or perform other essential services. When developing these procedures, it is critical that you establish strict guidelines for when to abandon this equipment to maintain personal safety.
Protection of assets
- Are there valuable assets you can easily safeguard or evacuate? For critical items that are too heavy to move, consider storing them in a fire-proof room or safe.
- If your business does not have redundant storage for sensitive data, make its protection an immediate priority. Given the relatively low cost of cloud storage, investing in a redundant, cloud-based data storage solution is prudent for any-size business.
What should employees do first when there is a fire?
Employees should remain calm and immediately default to the emergency evacuation plan. While proceeding to the nearest designated exit, be sure to use evacuation routes and listen to any additional instructions from your fire team.
Where should we post evacuation plans and maps?
Place signage and evacuation maps in easily visible locations throughout the workplace. Emergency exit doors and elevators are primary locations to post evacuation plans to remind employees of the proper route in a fire emergency scenario. Remember to keep evacuation plans and maps up to date to reflect any renovations to your facility.
In case of fire, what should we take with us?
During a fire evacuation, fleeing from the fire and getting to a safe location should be everyone’s top priority. If a worker’s mobile device is immediately accessible, they should take it with them to stay informed and reply to status check-ins. Employees should never stay behind to gather personal belongings.
How do you prepare for a fire evacuation?
In addition to devising a detailed fire evacuation plan and assigning fire team leaders, conduct fire drills to train your employees. Refer to our “ How to Conduct a Fire Drill at Work ” blog post to learn more.
The Steps to a Safe Evacuation Begin Now
With a fire evacuation plan in place for your business, you’ve taken huge steps to prioritize fire safety and protect your employees and your business assets. In an emergency, people tend to panic, but with a good plan, you can prepare ahead of time and make safe outcomes even more likely. Contact us if you would like to learn more about making communications faster and more effective during crisis events such as fires.
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Fire Escape Plan Templates
Use our fire escape plan maker to create emergency evacuation plans, fire exit location maps, and more, the easy choice for fire escape planning, easy to use.
SmartDraw includes all of the fire escape plan templates and examples you need. Simply select a template, add the dimensions of your office or facility layout, and then customize it to show escape routes and exits in case of fire or other emergency.
Easy to Find the Symbols You Need
You'll get thousands of ready-made symbols for direction arrows, exit locations, fire extinguishers, alarms, hazardous materials, fire escapes, "you are here" markers, first aid kit locations, and more.
Easy to Work With Other Apps
SmartDraw is easy to work with no matter what other apps you use. You can add your fire escape plan to:
- PowerPoint ®
- Excel ®
- Microsoft Teams ®
- Google Docs
- Google Sheets
Easy to Save to Your Existing Storage Solution
SmartDraw works hand in glove with most file storage systems. You can save your fire escape plan directly to:
- SharePoint ®
- OneDrive ®
- Google Drive ™
- DropBox ®
There is no need to create a parallel set of common folders and permissions, SmartDraw can just save files directly into your existing set up.
Easy to Share
Share your fire escape plan with anyone, even if they don't own a copy of SmartDraw, with a link.
You can also easily export any diagram as a PDF or common image formats like PNG or SVG.
Easy to Get Help
Have a question? Call, chat or email us. SmartDraw support is in-house and free!
You and your team can work on the same plan using a shared folder. Offer suggestions or communicate approval via comments. Make sure your entire emergency planning team is on the same page.
SmartDraw makes it easy to collaborate and design together.
What is a Fire Safety Plan?
A fire safety plan helps you identify routes through a building or home in the event of a fire or other emergency. It outlines how people should escape a burning house or building or evacuate when a fire threatens the structure. You should also include items you'd want to take in the event of an evacuation and a meeting point or communication plan in the event you're separated. Creating a fire safety plan should be part of any fire pre-planning you do. Everyone in your office or family should be familiar with the plan and be prepared to follow the plan either if a smoke alarm goes off or you're requested to evacuate by authorities or emergency personnel.
What is an emergency evacuation plan?
An emergency evacuation plan shows you the safe routes you can take to exit a building during an emergency like a fire.
How often should you practice a fire escape plan?
You should practice your safety plan at least twice a year to make sure everyone knows the routes.
Emergency & Disaster Planning and Pre-Planning Tools and Examples in SmartDraw
SmartDraw provides a number of diagrams and other helpful forms, graphics and information to help you plan for an emergency. We have templates for fire exit plans, emergency evacuation plans, fire pre-plan, fire pre-incident plan, business continuity plan, chain-of-command diagrams, emergency alert information, family evacuation plans, and much more.
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8 Tips on How to Create a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
September 1, 2022
You need a fire escape plan for business in your company. The right fire escape plan gives everyone a chance to get out, and fire safety plans are often insurance and government requirements. If you need professional assistance with this, don’t worry because fire safety engineering consultants are available.
What Is a Fire Escape Plan?
A fire safety plan for business usually involves three elements. The first part of a fire safety plan involves identifying potential hazards that might start a fire. The second part is a building evacuation plan so everyone knows how and when to get out. The third part is having some means of communication among the evacuees.
Steps to Take to Establish a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
Knowing how to draw a fire escape plan is a great step, but your emergency evacuation plan needs to be more comprehensive than that.
1. Determine Possible Fire Hazards
Your fire evacuation plan should start with identifying potential fire hazards. These can be anything from power strips to kitchens and microwaves in break rooms. Do you have employees running mini-fridges, fans, or personal heaters at their cubicles or desks? You might have to forbid certain personal items from being used in your business, no matter how much your personnel might love being able to use them. Kitchens for break areas are common demands of modern employees, but you can't risk fire hazards by going too far.
2. Determine Responsibilities and Roles
How does an emergency action plan benefit your workplace? Your fire escape plan means that employees will have someone to look to for leadership. Coming up with a set system of organization with backups means there will be people who can guide everyone to safety. Your fire evacuation plan will have numerous roles that need to be designated and filled.
- Chief Fire Warden: This person has the overall responsibility for fire events. That includes plans and preparations before a fire. In an actual event, they make sure doors are closed, bathrooms are checked, and a headcount happens at the safe place.
- Assistant Fire Warden: This employee utilizes a mass alert system to make sure everyone knows there is a fire. They'll also contact the fire department.
- Route Guides: These individuals make sure routes remain clear for a calm and orderly evacuation.
- Floor Monitors: These will be the last people out once they ensure an area is clear. They make sure everyone in their assigned area is evacuated and then report to the chief fire warden.
3. Identify the Nearest Exits and Escape Routes
Part of knowing how to create an evacuation plan is identifying escape routes to the nearest exits. This should involve both primary and secondary routes of potential escape. Every exit route and the actual escapes should be marked with clear signs. Keep these routes free of furniture or other objects that might impede anyone trying to evacuate.
Larger offices or facilities should make more than one map of their floor plans. These diagrams need to be posted so employees can see their evacuation routes. Best practices include the development of different evacuation plans for disabled individuals who might need more assistance.
Once everyone is outside, where should they assemble? A safe gathering point needs to be designated. Your assistant fire warden should be at that assembly point doing a headcount and offering updates. Make sure that escape routes and your assembly area can deal with how many employees are likely to be evacuating.
There are templates you can find and use to start these plans, but you also need to make sure that they are customized for your circumstances, business, and layout.
4. Make a Plan for Communication
Your fire egress plan has to have a communication plan involved. Communication is crucial when a fire happens if you want to prevent injuries and fatalities. You need a detailed plan that includes employee communication during a fire event. You also need to list crucial contact information for potential emergency responders and those that rely on your business. That information should be easily accessible and something employees can take with them during egress.
Your communication list shouldn't just be firemen, police, and local hospitals. You need to include clients, distributors, and suppliers. Everyone needs to stay informed about what's going on.
You might need an alternate office for a communication liaison if your primary office is impacted by an actual fire or the threat of it. Make sure you train at least one backup if the crisis communication lead is unavailable.
Keep in mind that if a fire occurs, your normal communication channels might not be available. Building occupants should have other methods of communication so your messages get through. Doing this through everyone's personal phones might work, but you need to be prepared for a manual head count if anyone doesn't get out with their phone.
5. Know What Your Tools Are and Have them Inspected
Two parts of knowing how to create a fire escape plan include fire alarm systems and emergency lighting systems . You need other things, too.
- Bullhorn, megaphone, or traffic controller wand
- Escape ladders
Fire extinguishers should be placed in many locations. Reusable ones need to be filled every 10 years. Disposable fire extinguishers should be replaced every 12 years. All emergency equipment should be kept current and operable with regular inspections to verify their condition and readiness. Employees should know where these items are and also how to use them.
6. Map Things Out
Your escape plan for fire events needs to be mapped out. Basic line drawings of your building layout should clearly mark crucial features.
- Layout of the Building: This needs to show both your building interior and the outdoor surroundings.
- Compass: Put a four-pointed compass on the top of your map to orient readers quickly.
- Current Location: A big red dot should be labeled "You Are Here".
- Fire Alarms/Extinguishers: Mark these locations with appropriate icons and labels.
- First-Aid Resources: Mark these with a cross in blue color and label them. Also, designate locations of emergency showers, eyewash stations, and other safety resources people might require.
- Fire Exits: These doors should always be accessible and open without needing a key for degrees. Bright colors are good for highlighting them as an "Exit". Mark paths to the closest existing with lines of green arrows.
- Emergency Assembly: This is the safe place where evacuees should get together away from the building and any explosive or flammable materials. This area should be marked using a red circle and an "Emergency Assembly" label.
7. Schedule Fire Evacuation Procedure Rehearsals
Fire evacuation instructions are good, but emergency exit training is even better. Do you have kids enrolled in public schooling? If so, then you know they probably do fire drills regularly. They might even do it every month.
Doing routine rehearsals will minimize confusion and help those involved turn instructions into a memory they can rely on. In the event of an actual emergency, they will be less likely to panic because they know what to do. This makes it more likely that a safe outcome happens because everyone knows what to do.
It's not complicated. Repetition is what helps here. Adults can learn this way, too. Fires can move fast, so just a few seconds make all the difference. An employee who goes through enough fire drills will develop muscle memory that kicks in automatically so they don't waste time figuring out how to get out.
Your fire evacuation team should meet every quarter so they can plan regular rehearsals and make sure that everyone and everything is prepared for a fire event or other emergency and that your business is prepared.
8. Following Up
Your workplace fire safety plan is something that you need to follow up on. When a fire happens, tensions are going to be high. Panic is likely to happen throughout your office or facility.
Practicing fire evacuation plans can be hard to pull off because it means stopping all your business operations for those times. However, the more often you do these practices, the better things will go in the event of an actual fire. You can also practice more than evacuating everyone, as it's a chance to also practice emergency communications.
You'll need to account for those who are in the office that day so you know you got them all out safely. However, you'll also need to account for those who weren't in the office. Maybe it's someone's day off, they're on vacation, they called out sick, or they're just out to lunch. They might be safe but have no idea there's a problem. Fire responders that show up will need to know if anyone is still in the building.
Employee Fire Evacuation Tips
Your fire exit plans will work a lot better when your employees have the right fire evacuation tips. Let them know about these.
Stay Close to Ground Level
Your business evacuation plan should train employees to stay low to the ground. Smoke rises, so they'll breathe and see easier near the floor.
Test All Door Handles
Another aspect of your business fire escape plan should be getting people to test door handles before opening them. Hot handles might indicate a fire in the next room.
Head for the Closest Fire Escape, Stairwell, or Exit
Any fire evacuation plan for business should involve the shortest route out of the building or facility to save time and get people out quickly.
Various Fire Evacuation Factors to Consider
Your fire evacuation planning might have to factor in various factors.
Distinct Work Circumstances
Your office or facility might have unique circumstances that you should accommodate in your fire plans.
- Involve temps, contractors, and even clients in your planning. Remote workers might not be impacted directly by a fire, but you need to keep them apprised of what's going on with their employer and colleagues.
- Make plans for those with special needs. Anyone who is disabled, permanently or temporarily, or has special needs might need help evacuating safely.
- Flesh out procedures for any employees that stick around to turn off crucial equipment, handle fire extinguishers, or handle other essential services. Have stringent rules in place about when they should abandon the facility to keep everyone safe.
Protecting Your Assets
When developing building evacuation maps, consider asset protection along with the safety of all people involved.
- Think about storing critical items in a fire-proof safe or room.
- Protect sensitive data with redundant storage that is cloud-based.
Frequently Asked Questions
What actions do employees take first if a fire happens, where should you post your fire escape plan example, in the event of a fire, what should people take with them, how do you get ready for a fire evacuation, final thoughts.
An alarm plan for evacuation can shave seconds off of response time to get everyone out. Identify your escape routes, put the right emergency supplies in place, and designate essential roles within your team for a coordinated effort to get everyone to safety if the worst ever happens.
However, creating a plan on your own can still leave holes and issues that you may not even notice. The best choice is to turn to fire safety engineering specialists who can ensure a comprehensive and expert plan to keep everyone safe. Contact us today!
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Tips on How to Write a Fire Evacuation Plan for Your Business
Commercial fire damage is a big deal. It can lead to the disruption of work and financial losses, and, in worse case scenarios, loss of life. If a fire occurs in your business, are your employees educated on fire prevention methods and prepared if one happens? Is your business set up with the proper escape plans and tools in case of a fire? Creating a fire evacuation plan with your employees is the first step to keeping everyone safe, minimizing damage, and allowing your commercial property to be rebuilt to pre-loss condition faster
The most important part of creating and implementing a fire escape plan is that you include your employees. They’re the people who run your business day-to-day and most likely be the ones present should a fire occur. It’s vital that they know the fire safety plan, are comfortable with their roles within the plan, and take ownership of it.
- Identify potential fire hazards. Inspect areas of your building and makes notes like: Does your commercial property have a kitchen? Do areas of your building have microwaves? Are people daisy-chaining their power strips? Are employees running personal heaters or mini refrigerators at their desks? Once you identify all of the potential fire hazards, create and post rules about safe use of the microwave, power strips, and fridge. Consider banning hot plates and non-business run cooking appliances. Post no-smoking signs where applicable or consider making your campus smoke-free. Educate employees on the rules to prevent fires in emails, meetings, and in signage throughout your commercial property.
During a fire, it’s key to have some employees assigned to leadership roles to help others safely evacuate the building. Employees in these assigned roles should attend regular fire safety meetings, understand their role, be able to lead others during fire drills, and feel confident in their role during an actual fire event. Roles to consider assigning to your employees include:
- Chief fire safety warden. The person in charge of the business fire safety plan.
- Assistant fire safety warden . The person in charge of calling the fire department, alerting employees, and gathering all the reports and paperwork necessary to file a claim.
- Route guides. These employees are especially important if you have a larger building. These people makes sure that safety routes are clear and that employees remain calm while moving toward the exits in an orderly manner.
- Floor monitors. Every floor monitor ensures every person is accounted for and safely out of their floor before leaving the building themselves.
- Make a fire escape plan for emergency evacuation. Use this printable fire escape planning template as a starting point to create your business fire escape plan. Draw out each floor of your business, marking possible escape routes, fire extinguisher locations, first aid kit locations, and the meeting area. Pick a meeting place that’s far away from your building or other potential danger areas (like an attached parking garage). The spot should be out of the way for emergency services. Make sure you have proper emergency evacuation routes for differently abled employees. Inspect your commercial property often and keep up on maintenance of safety equipment: Check fire extinguishers to make sure they’re up to date, ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and that your sprinkler system is in good shape. Keep your emergency safety kits stocked with the proper burn gel, gauze, scissors, band aids, and both aspirin and non-aspirin products. Update your plan as your business and building conditions change.
- Create an emergency communications chain. When a fire occurs, it doesn’t only affect people within your business’ four walls. Keep a list of contacts and their phone numbers in key designated areas. Add outside emergency contact information, like local medical centers and hospitals. But don’t limit the list to just local police and fire departments. Also include information for your suppliers, distributors, and clients (if applicable) to keep everyone informed. Make sure the packet of phone numbers can be grabbed before exiting the building to be used by your company’s assistant fire safety warden.
- Practice your fire evacuation plan regularly. By practicing, your employees will gain confidence in their roles and learn the safest routes to exit the building in the event of an emergency. If a fire ever does happen, they are more likely to leave the building calming, orderly, and most importantly, safely. It allows employees in fire safety leadership roles to practice their parts and other employees to recognize who those leaders are. Seeing their peers in action will also give employees a greater sense of security that your business is prepared.
By following these tips to create a fire protection plan and evacuation plan, you are helping your employees feel more educated, valued, and safe in their work environment. And should your commercial property ever have a fire, they will be more prepared and safe.
Do You Need Fire Damage Restoration from a Commercial Fire?
Contact Alpha Omega Disaster Restoration. With emergency response availability, we are there for you, 24/7. We will help you recover from commercial fire damage . Our professional team of trusted advisers are experts in the fire damage restoration industry. We will oversee your property’s damage recovery with honest, reliable, high-quality work.
Alpha Omega the leading disaster restoration company serving commercial and residential properties in Billings, MT and surrounding areas.
Why Choose Us
Reviews from our clients.
"Luckily I have never needed to use a restoration company, but as someone who has worked closely with Alpha Omega, they have treated my clients very well, and have always been honest and very transparent. Although their whole team is very professional and punctual, Carissa and Sonya have been great to work with."
"Best service in town! I had water leaking through my basement ceiling from the overflow drain in my upstairs bathtub. They showed up immediately after I called, they were super professional and helped me find the leak and even told me how I can fix it myself. I was so impressed how well the turned my problem around."
Awards and Affiliations
- Billings Heights
- Crow Agency
- Lodge Grass
- Pompeys Pillar
- Saint Xavier