Regular fire drills are a vital component of your company’s life safety and property protection needs. They’re also required by law, according to the Ontario Fire Code. You must conduct fire drills in all commercial buildings at least every year, while certain buildings require them every three months.
Despite a fire drill’s importance to the building’s occupants, their required frequency can make them a monotonous routine. Proactive building managers should avoid complacency and make their fire drills as useful as possible. Try some of the techniques below to improve your organization’s fire preparedness.
Consult your local Fire Marshall. The Office of the Ontario Fire Marshall has loads of helpful material on its website, and you can contact them directly to get suggestions and guidance on how best to structure your fire drills for maximum benefit. Fire is their business, and you can benefit from their years of fire experience.
Develop a fire team. Establish a group of safety leaders within your organization with representatives from each department. They can designate an outdoor meeting place for their members and verify that everyone has left the building during the drill.
Design optimum evacuation routes. After consultation with your local fire marshall, design safe and efficient exit pathways from every corner of your building. Post these routes in the appropriate areas and hand out copies to your staff. Make sure that everyone knows the best way to safety.
Use different fire scenarios. Fire drills should mimic real-life situations, and fires are disruptive events. Stairways, doors, and even whole sections of a building may be inaccessible during a fire. Each fire drill should emulate a different possible fire scenario, so design each exercise with a fire starting in various parts of the building. Ensure the staff is aware that the hypothetically affected areas are off-limits, and they have to use alternative evacuation routes.
Perform extra fire drills. Ontario regulations may only require one per year or every three months, but if you want your staff to be ready for a fire, schedule them more frequently. Every coach knows that their players can’t play any better than they practice, so they make sure that come game time, they’re ready for action. Consider holding fire drills once or twice per month until you feel your staff is comfortable and precise during all sorts of evacuation scenarios.
Execute fire drills at various times. It can be tempting to use the least disruptive times of the day for your fire drills, but your staff can become habituated to this. Try early morning and late afternoons as well as different days of the week to keep everyone sharp. Eventually, your team becomes ready for a fire drill, or an actual fire, at any time of the day.
Be observant. While a fire drill is in progress, pay close attention to the activities of your team leaders and the rest of the staff. Observe how closely they’re following your plan, and make as many notes as possible. Afterward, communicate your observations to the responsible parties. You don’t need to scold; just offer constructive criticism on how everyone’s performance can improve for the next drill.
Fire Drills are a crucial part of your organization’s overall fire safety plan. Avoid complacency and try to make your fire drills as effective as possible. If you don’t feel that you have the time or expertise to design and implement the above strategies, then look for expert help.
The fire and life safety specialists at All Protect Systems, Inc. can help you make your company’s fire drills productive and efficient. Not only that, they can serve all your fire protection needs, including alarms, extinguishers, hoses, and fire safety plans. Call them today to see what they can do for you!