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Fire Evacuation Planning

As an organisation you must have a Fire Emergency Evacuation plan or FEEP.  This is a document which will include information regarding fire safety within your organisation. The plan will outline a detailed approach that should be taken by all employees/visitors within the event of a fire. An organisation should also take into consideration how they will evacuate any persons with disabilities and then create a personal emergency evacuation plan – PEEP, this plan will give information on how to safely and effectively evacuate persons with disabilities. A Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan should consider those persons who are:

  • Visual impairment
  • Cognitive/Intellectual impairment
  • Impaired hearing
  • Movement disorder – Disabled
  • A medical injury or condition that may limit their ability to evacuate safely – (you may need to take into account new and expectant mothers)

It is important to test your fire evacuation plan and it is recommended that organisations test their emergency evacuation every 6 months.  Testing your plan will allow you to ascertain if you are able to safely evacuate your building in a timeous manner and it will also give your fire wardens practical training in their roles, and also ensure employees practice safely evacuating a building.  These drills will help you identify and faults in your evacuation plan.

All businesses should consider the risks that a fire would present to their organisation and then consider how they plan on preserving life.  A fire evacuation plan should be documented and can be included within staff inductions and also posted in relevant areas within the building.  The information in a Fire Evacuation Plan gives information on what to do when the fire bell is activated.  A fire plan should include the following information.

  • Evacuation protocol – employees and fire wardens/marshals need to be aware of what actions they should take if they discover a fire.
  • Evacuation Strategy – Depending on your circumstances there are 4 types of evacuation strategies, Simultaneous evacuation, Vertical or horizontal phased evacuation, Staff alarm evacuation (silent alarm) or Defend in place (Stay Put)
  • Designated person to call and liaise with the emergency services
  • Where firefighting equipment is positioned throughout the building
  • How building occupants will be alerted to the fire
  • Escape routes
  • Emergency Lighting
  • Fire fighting equipment
  • Evacuation plans for employees and visitors with special needs or disabilities
  • Lone workers
  • The final assembly location – Is it safe and away far enough away from obstructing emergency services and debris from the building.
  • Where specific isolation points are within the building, such as gas and electrics – Isolation points should be signed and information handed over to emergency services.
  • The person who is responsible for shutting down machinery or removing equipment from the building if it is safe to do so.
  • Roll call – a system for determining who is present and who may still be in the building.

When you discover a fire and are evacuating, keep these things in mind so that the safety of all are not compromised.

  • Do
    • Raise the alarm by operating the nearest fire alarm call point.
    • Ensure that any visitors on the premises are accounted.
    • Go to the assembly point.
    • Remain at the assembly point once you get there.
    • Only return to the building if authorised to do so.
    • If you are responsible for assisting a person with a PEEP, respond as required by following the actions in the plan.
  • Don't
    • Use the lift (unless it has been specially designated as a refuge or part of the emergency escape route). Lifts should be signed appropriately.
    • Run during the evacuation process; this causes panic and can lead to accidents which affect people’s escape and safety.
    • Stop or return to collect personal belongings.
    • Don’t stay in a burning building if others refuse to leave, if you cant guide persons out then leave and inform emergency services.
    • Attempt to fight fires unless you are a trained personnel, e.g. a fire warden or marshal.

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