With the ever-changing fire code legislation, many business operators are subject to an increased burden of responsibility. They often feel either unsure about what they need to do to comply with all the regulations, or unable to find the time to complete the duties that are required of them. It has become a challenge for business operators to consider the ways in which they can inform their employees about the practice of fire safety, in addition to how to fulfill the formal training requirements. At the end of the day, the issue is not just about material loss, but also loss of life. Any company’s most important resource is the “human resource”, and it is critical to ensure their safety. The business operator must actively take steps to protect the lives of his employees. Fire safety training not only instructs employees on what they have to do if a fire breaks out, but also how to minimize its impact on people and property. It is in circumstances such as these that businesses turn to fire consultants for help and advice. This may take the form of contracting a reputable fire safety consultant to do the training. For many companies, fire consultants are used to deliver and administer their entire fire safety requirement, including the fire risk assessment, creation and implementation of the fire safety plan, supervisory staff training, fire drill evacuations, and equipment maintenance. The choice of involvement depends on the expertise needed, the resources of the business and the complexity of the premises. An essential part of any fire safety training program is the fire drill. A business operator can never be sure that their evacuation plan will work unless it is executed. Employees need to develop a level of comfort with the actions required in a fire emergency. To improve awareness, the following must be provided for employees:
– Full details on the contents of the building fire safety plan
– Alerts to keep all escape routes free from obstructions at all times
– Floor plan layouts of the entire premises
– Procedures to assist people who have special requirements during an evacuation
– Training in the use of fire-fighting equipment
Your building fire safety plan will also include information regarding special duties for some staff, who will be designated as fire warden(s). These people will almost certainly require additional training relating to their particular responsibilities. Training for your employees allows them to be efficient in a real fire emergency, especially when they have the opportunity to become familiar with the requirements through practice fire drills. Ideally, you should regularly conduct fire drills, as outlined in the fire code. Some business operators post announcements as to when a fire drill will occur, whereas others incorporate the element of surprise. An unexpected drill will elicit a more realistic reaction, which helps to determine if there is a need to modify the fire evacuation procedures. In some cases, supervisory staff have found it instructive to block off one possible escape route at the time of the drill. In a real fire emergency, a fire may block the most obvious escape routes, forcing people to use alternative exits. Alternating the blocked exits for each drill will allow employees to become accustomed to various means of escape. As a final point, a proper fire drill requires that you activate the fire alarm, so as to replicate a real fire emergency. Therefore, before you carry out the drill, make sure that you warn the alarm monitoring company (if your fire alarm is monitored), the fire department, and persons at neighboring businesses that are linked to your alarm or who may become aware of your alarm situation.
This article was contributed by Firepoint Inc, serving the GTA since 1997, developing fire department approved fire safety plans for newly constructed and existing buildings. Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, the bulletin publishers and authors do not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current and shall not be liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the bulletin information. Bulletin reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without the written consent of Firepoint Inc. Copyright 2021 – All Rights Reserved. See www.firepoint.ca or call 905-874-9400.