Bulletin 186 August 2014 Managing Building Occupant Evacuations
- Posted at: September 25, 2021 02:22:49

Planning for an evacuation requiresdetailed knowledge of howgeneral evacuation procedures can be adapted to a variety of circumstances. In the steady hustle and bustle of day-to-day activities, whether at the workplace or at home, individuals rarely consider the possibility that they may need to evacuate to save their lives until the situation presents itself. Incidents requiring rapid evacuation of building structures do occur, and are not always due to a catastrophic event. Evacuations at a workplace are usually a response that ensures the protection of the occupants against possible or potential harm.To avoid confusion during an actual fire emergency, it is essential that all the elected floor warden personnel know the precise role that they are expected to perform. This information is included in the approved fire safety plan of the building, which has been prepared and implemented for the purpose of managing occupant evacuations. The fire safety plan clearly and precisely lays out the required responsibilities of all personnel concerned and specifiestheir roles should an emergency arise in the building. Emergency planning is part of the building team’sresponsibility, with the aim of preventing fires in the first place,reducing the level of risk to occupants, and minimizing negative impacts when anemergencysuddenly arises.

Some authoritiesare of the opinion that most workplace building occupants will likely be faced with a real emergency evacuation at some point in time. Workplace safety and health planning must take the occurrence of these events into account. In most cases, a building team willrecommend a planningapproach which identifies potentially hazardous situations, assesses risk to workers, and implements control measures to reduce or eliminate the chance that harm may occur during an evacuation. The approved fire safety plan outlines set procedures and containsclear escape route drawings as key steps towards minimizing the risk of injury or loss of life for occupants.Everyone at the workplace must be aware of the emergency evacuations procedures and have knowledge of how to vacate the building. All occupants are to participate in fire drills as required under the regulations.Occupants with a wide range of physical and/or mental impairment can have difficulty getting out of a building, a fact that becomes all the more critical during an emergency. Legislation has been passed regarding the safety of occupants with special needs during an emergency, including references to the means of escape. Employers and building operators are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to their premises so that no employee is at a disadvantage. Disabled persons must be able to leave the premises safely when there is a fire. Under the Fire Code, building operators must also ensure that their fire safety plan considers all occupants. Employees with special needs must be identified as part of the specified fire safety arrangements and evacuation procedures.

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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