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Understanding Varied Fire Evacuation Procedures in Workplaces

Evacuation procedures in the event of a fire differ across workplaces. Familiarising yourself with the specific policies of your building is essential for safety.

Diverse Evacuation Strategies

Some buildings may implement a 'stay in place' policy, where it's safest to remain where you are, closing doors and windows, until rescued. Another strategy, particularly in care homes and hospitals, is 'horizontal evacuation', moving to a safer area on the same floor instead of using stairs.

Responding to Fire Alarms

Upon hearing a fire alarm:

  • Remain calm and avoid panic.
  • Leave belongings behind for free hands and reduced obstructions during evacuation.
  • Be aware that exits may differ from your usual route due to smoke or blockages.

Evacuation Awareness

Stay alert and know your surroundings. If your nearest exit is blocked, find an alternative. Follow instructions from fire wardens or marshals and provide them with any relevant information about the fire as you exit.

Fire Assembly Point Protocol

Once outside, proceed directly to the fire assembly point. Multiple assembly points may exist, so follow your fire warden's guidance. If you're at an unfamiliar point, inform the warden to ensure you're accounted for. Stay put until instructed otherwise by a warden or the emergency services.

Importance of Staying at the Assembly Point

Leaving the assembly point without notifying authorities can lead to confusion and potential risks during the headcount process.

Emergency Evacuation Plan Essentials

Every building should have a documented emergency evacuation plan, covering:

  • Clear passageways to escape routes.
  • Well-marked, short, and direct escape routes.
  • Adequate exits and routes for everyone's escape.
  • Easily openable emergency doors.
  • Emergency lighting where necessary.
  • Regular training and drills for employees.
  • A designated safe meeting point.

Regular testing and updating of the evacuation plan are crucial to ensure its effectiveness.