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How to build a fire evacuation plan for a small business

Sep 3, 2019

Don’t let a fire threaten your small business and put your employees in jeopardy.

An emergency evacuation plan is a custom-designed strategy that considers all risks to your small business, helping you navigate in the event of a fire. A strong emergency evacuation plan is a sure-fire way to protect your assets and keep your staff safe. Here are some tips to help you draft an iron-clad evacuation plan:

Know the laws

In Australia, it’s the legal responsibility of the PCBU (Persons Conducting Business or Undertakings) to ensure that all people on the premises are carefully accounted for in an emergency.

Map out your main threats

It’s important to consider all your potential fire risks – even if the chances are low. Some important questions to ask yourself might include:

  • What kind of equipment do your staff use?
  • How exposed to the elements is your premises?
  • Are you in a bush fire zone?
  • Is there a kitchen in the office?
  • What kind of heaters or fridges do you use?

Establish a strategy for each scenario

Once you know your main risks, it’s time to create strategies to minimise damage and maximise safety. Some essential considerations will include:

  • Fire wardens. Who will be responsible in the event of a fire? The warden will be tasked with closing doors, checking key areas and performing a headcount
  • Alert systems. What alarm system will your business use to signal danger to employees? Not only do you need an evacuation alarm, you’ll also need to send an alert to emergency services
  • Fire equipment. What kind of fire equipment does your business need? They sort of resources you’ll need will depend on the class of fire risks you are exposed to. Read more about finding suitable fire equipment here.

Create evacuation diagrams

Once you have your strategy in place, you’ll need to get evacuation diagrams made. In accordance with Australian Safety Standards, your diagrams must display:

  • The Floor Plan and Site Plan of the facility, its Assembly Point and its Emergency Procedures
  • The nearest exit from the marked “You are here” point
  • The location of the nearest fire equipment

Train your staff

No point having a great evacuation plan if your team is not savvy in implementing it. Training your staff on your procedures is crucial. Always ask, is everyone clued up on where to find equipment and evacuation diagrams? It’s also essential to ensure you have trained first aiders on your staff, and suitable first aid facilities.

Test, test, drill

Emergency drills “drill” in the processes for staff, reducing panic and increasing certainty in a true emergency. Plus, fire drills also help you work out what parts of your plan work well and what parts don’t, so you can improve your processes for next time. 

Safety planning is a must, even if your business is small

Not sure where to start in creating a fire evacuation plan for your small business? Fire Block Plans is here to help you and your team. Our highly-qualified experts will help find a suitable emergency evacuation plan, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.