Bulletin 163 September 2012 Preparing for a Successful Emergency Fire Evacuation
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 03:27:27

In order for the emergency response portion of the fire safety plan to be effectively implemented, all employees must understand the important role they play in promoting fire safety in the workplace. Everyone must adhere to the workplace fire safety practices and procedures. Preparing for a quick and unimpeded evacuation from a building or an underground area is the most important element of any fire safety plan. Codes and regulations concerning building egress recognize that emergency conditions sometimes offer less-than-perfect circumstances for evacuation. Always evaluate egress routes in a building with these potential conditions in mind. Safe egress is a design feature in most buildings and in order to maintain this, there are some specific actions that must be prohibited as it could prevent someone from escaping during an emergency. One or more exits may be blocked by fire, smoke, or falling debris. Fear may cause panic as people rush to evacuate. Everyday obstacles, such as an abandoned box in the hallway or lodged door latch may be viewed as a simple nuisance under normal working conditions. However, these same obstacles in a real fire emergency, perhaps disguised in heavy smoke and darkness, may delay an evacuation, causing a pile-up or panic. You may need to rely on emergency lighting and illuminated exit signs to see, as conditions impair safe evacuation during a fire emergency. Therefore, ensuring the emergency lighting operates sufficiently for all the areas is an absolute must, and is to be tested on a monthly basis. Exit and stairwell passageways are to be clear at all times, with the exit signs fully visible and without any obstructions.
New employees, subcontractor employees, and long-term visitors unfamiliar with a particular workplace must be given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with egress routes and with muster (assembly) points outside the building. Establish at least one alternate exit route leading from your customary work location to muster points outside the building. This route must be indicated on evacuation diagrams posted in the building. If you notice obstructions along egress routes or in exits, remove or report them to a floor warden promptly. Respond to all evacuation alarms or directives to evacuate as if they were life-threatening situations. Assist visitors and others who are unfamiliar with the evacuation route in a particular building. If you have a visitor in the work area with impaired mobility, inform the appropriate floor warden. If an alarm is identified in advance as a test only, evacuation is not necessary unless the floor warden has been advised otherwise. Orientation training for all employees should include fire safety instructions on what to do upon discovery of fire, what to do upon hearing an alarm of fire and how to prevent or minimize fire hazards in the workplace. Supervisory staff must be instructed in the fire emergency procedures that are described in the Fire Safety Plan before they are given any responsibility for fire safety. A copy of the fire emergency procedures and related duties outlined in the fire safety plan must be given to all supervisory staff. Employees should receive training in the safe use of portable fire extinguishers and other fire safety equipment. This includes instructions on how to activate and reset the fire alarm system where appropriate. Staff must be instructed to react quickly to a fire emergency, and to promote the safety of all personnel in the workplace.

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.

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