Guide to Hosting Fire Drills for your Business
Step 1: Develop your plan
You need to create the right policies and procedures. Many businesses choose to assemble a Safety Committee to create the plan.
A required minimum, your fire and evacuation plan should include:
- The preferred message for reporting/alerting fellow employees to fires and other emergencies
- Evacuation policies and procedure
- Designated safe assembly locations
- Emergency escape procedures and route assignments, such as floor plans, maps, and safe or refuge areas
- Clear roles and responsibilities for a fire, storm evacuation, or other emergency
Step 2: Educate your employees
- When your policies and procedures for fires and evacuations are in place, the next step is sharing the plan with employees. Be sure every employee receives this information when they first begin working, and review it regularly with your full team.
- The emergency plan should be documented and given to employees in written form (or another accessible form). It should be shared in person to give team members the opportunity to ask questions.
- Also, be sure evacuation routes, fire equipment, and alarm pulls are clearly marked.
Step 3: Conduct a fire drill
- Time to conduct a fire drill. Sound the fire alarm so it can be heard and/or seen by every employee.
- The purpose of the fire drill is to make sure every employee understands how to get out of the building in an emergency, and what to do when they get outside. In order to run effective fire drills, track how quickly every employee is able to exit and meet at the proper location, then work to improve your time during the next drill.
Step 4: Motivate employees to improve participation
- Even though practicing a fire evacuation plan can be life-saving, some employees simply won’t take the exercise as seriously as they should.
- Consider motivating employees to improve their preparedness and efficiency. Following a successful fire drill (one with no “casualties” where everyone meets the target time), offer an incentive that is relevant to your team, such as extra time for lunch or leaving early on a Friday.
Step 5: Run different fire scenarios
- Practice makes perfect! Conduct fire drills regularly; consistent training ensures that the right response is immediate and second-nature.