Workplace Fire SafetyFire Drills

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Fire Drills Quiz

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Fire drills form an important part of all commercial safety practices, allowing employers to tailor the evacuation process while giving employees an understanding of their responsibilities in the event of an emergency.

Not only that, but they are a legal requirement under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, forming part of an overall fire risk assessment.

With this in mind, it’s vital that the nominated ‘responsible person’ is in possession of the correct information when it comes to fire drills, which is why we’ve put together this quiz to test your knowledge.

1) How often should fire drills be carried out?

Legally speaking, the answer here is once per year, although this should be treated as an absolute minimum. The makeup of your staff and the structure/layout of your building could change several times in 12 months, and it is therefore crucial to ensure that your drill procedures are still optimal. Every 2-3 months should be sufficient.

2) What are fire drills for?

The answer to this is two-fold: firstly, they allow you to check your evacuation procedure and the efficacy of your assembly point, identifying weaknesses and potential hazards.

Secondly, drills give your staff an understanding of their responsibilities in the event of a fire, helping them to feel comfortable in locating the emergency exits and making their way to the assembly point.

3) What should staff members do on hearing the fire alarm?

Whether you have prepared your staff members for an imminent fire drill or not, how they respond to the alarm should be no different. Without stopping to pick up personal belongings, all occupants must quickly and calmly evacuate the building. There are no circumstances under which the alarm should be ignored, even if it is known to be a drill.

4) By what means should you exit the building?

The premises must only be evacuated via the emergency exits or designated fire exits. Lifts, escalators and any other mechanised or confined means of escape must be avoided at all costs.

5) Upon exiting, where should you go?

A designated assembly point should be identified as part of the evacuation procedure, and must be communicated to all staff members (as well as being visible in writing on the wall close to fire alarm points). The assembly point must not block access to the building required by the emergency services, and should ideally avoid the need to cross busy roads.

6) Where should your assembly point be located?

While there are certainly guidelines suggesting advisable locations for assembly points, there is no exact legal specification beyond it being a “safe area beyond the premises”, that should be “sufficiently far from the premises to avoid interference with the fire and rescue service or danger from falling debris”.

7) What action should be taken at the assembly point?

A register of all building occupants must be taken to ensure that everyone in the building has evacuated. If your business has a sign-in sheet or holiday calendar, this can be a useful tool to check in order to confirm that everyone is present.

8) When should staff re-enter the building?

All staff should remain outside until otherwise instructed by a fire marshal. There should be no re-entry if an alarm is still sounding.

9) As the responsible person, what is your duty after the fire drill has taken place?

It is key to analyse every fire drill, regardless of whether a complete success or not. It can be useful to remember the 3 Rs: record, review, rectify. Make a note of when the drill took place, review its success, and take steps to remove any hazards/change the process ahead of the next one if required.

10) What legislation/regulations govern the carrying out of fire drills?

The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order details much of the requirements related to commercial fire drills, including their importance to the overall fire risk assessment that must be carried out by law.