How To Carry Out An Effective Fire Drill

4 November 2016

Do your employees know what to do in the event of a fire? From teaching everyone how to escape the building safely to abiding by the Fire Safety Order of 2005, there are so many reasons to carry out regular fire drills.

Here’s our guide to conducting an effective fire drill and ensuring everyone stays safe.

Why are fire drills important?

Fire drills provide your business with an opportunity to practice evacuation procedures and ensure everyone knows how to exit the building quickly while avoiding potential hazards.

In a real fire situation, people are likely to feel panicked and overwhelmed. But if they’ve experienced a fire drill and are familiar with the necessary processes, any sense of panic should be reduced.

How often should a business have a fire drill?

For most businesses, two fire drills each year are effective in order to teach employees what to do in the event of such an emergency. However, some companies may need to carry out more frequent fire drills, particularly if it’s outlined in the company risk assessment.

Although it might not be possible to conduct a new fire drill every time a new employee joins your team, it’s wise to run through the basics with every new member of staff. It’s important to ensure they know how to escape the building if necessary, even if they’ve missed out on a fire drill.

How to prepare for a fire drill

In most businesses, a fire drill is a relatively simple procedure. However, it does require a little bit of planning before the drill takes place to ensure it’s effective. Take these steps into account:

  • Inform all employees that a fire drill will take place and they are expected to take part
  • Appoint a fire marshal to supervise the drill and ensure everyone gets out the building safely
  • If your business will be having visitors, inform them of the drill too
  • If your business premises has a system in place that informs the fire service when the alarm is triggered, make sure you take the necessary action to ensure this doesn’t happen during your drill. The last thing you want is to waste the fire service’s time by calling them to your premises for a drill
  • If you have employees or guests with disabilities, have a plan in place to help them escape

Things to consider during a fire drill

During the fire drill, look out for any inappropriate behaviour that could put people at risk in the event of a real fire. For example, employees mustn’t collect coats and personal belongings before exiting the building.

If any problems arise during the evacuation, make a note of these after the drill and identify ways to prevent such problems occurring again.

When you arrive at your fire safety point, ensure every member of staff is present and accounted for.

What should you do after the fire drill?

After conducting a fire drill, it’s important that you thoroughly log all details and take note of any successes or failings. If any problems arose or any employees failed to cooperate, you must take note of this.

If you identify any significant issues that could prevent people from escaping the building safely and effectively, be sure to record this within the Fire Risk Assessment.

Earlier in this post we explained how important it is to deactivate any systems that automatically notify the fire service when the alarm goes off. Once the drill is over, it’s equally important to reactivate the system to ensure help is sent to you in the event of a real fire.

If you’d like assistance in carrying out regulatory fire drills in your workplace, get in touch with our BAFE Accredited fire safety consultants and we’d be happy to help

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