Building Evacuation Planning
There are three main points to cover when developing your Emergency Evacuation Plan. These practices are widely used amongst businesses citywide, so it is important to adopt a plan that fits the needs of your company or building.
Having the Evacuation Plan on paper does not fulfill the code requirements. Provide education to new employees and then continuing education for all employees in regards to the locations of fire extinguishers, stairs, horn/strobes, fire sprinklers, all means of egress and a designated meeting place outside in a remote location.
- Assign designated employees who are regularly in the building (rather than field) the tasks of Fire Wardens (FW).
- If dealing with a large building with multiple different companies or a single company in a large building with multiple divisions, there needs to be at least one Property Warden. This person can be a representative of the property management company if they have an office on-site or work security within the building, or a person that works within the building close to the main entrance.
The Fire Wardens should:
- Wear a safety vest to be easily identified.
- Have a flashlight for directing people out of the building or helping people to evacuate in the event of a power outage.
- Have a whistle to get the attention of a crowd or in the event they become trapped or stranded, being one of the last people to exit the building, they can make noise to allow firefighters to find them.
- Once outside the building the Fire Wardens must:
- Account for all persons that were inside.
- Instruct people where to gather. This should be a remote location or meeting place, away from the building and not within the fire lanes surrounding the building so as not to impede the responding emergency crews.
- For larger structures, one of the Fire Wardens from each individual group or business should report to the Property Wardens once everyone is verified outside or when they know people are trapped.
The Property Warden should:
- Report to the responding emergency crews any information regarding trapped, missing, or disabled individuals in areas of refuge, as well as provide additional information regarding the incident and building.
- If possible, they should have a full set of keys to the building and know in detail the locations and operation of the Fire Alarm Control Panel, Fire Riser Room, and all Electrical Rooms.
- The old saying “practice makes perfect” does apply. Unfortunately, as adults, we don’t practice our evacuations often enough. School children nationwide practice their evacuation drills often monthly. As a result of this constant education and refreshing of the evacuation drill, there hasn’t been a fire death in a kindergarten through high school, in the country, in at least 10 years as reported by the United States Fire Administration.
- When a fire occurs smoke can quickly fill a building leaving an individual disorientated in the dark without the ability to see clearly, having trouble breathing, and panic sets in causing irrational decision making. If the drill has been practiced enough, individuals will have a better understanding of where the exits are, and how best to get out.
If you have any questions about your Fire Evacuation Plan or Fire Safety Plan, or would like the City of Scottsdale Fire Department to come and evaluate your Evacuation Drill please call (480) 312-1855.