Emergency / Fire Evacuation Drill


1. Introduction:

1.1. Site requirement to conduct supervised formal Emergency / Fire Evacuation Drills on an annual basis and this to be carried out in March each year.

1.2. It is the Chief Wardens responsibility to ensure that supervised Emergency/ Fire Drills are formally recorded and reviewed.

2. Purpose:

The purpose and objectives of any Emergency / Fire Evacuation drill include:

  • To identify weaknesses in the evacuation strategy;
  • To test the procedure following any recent alteration or changes to working or site practices;
  • To familiarise new staff with procedures;
  • To test the arrangements for disabled people;
  • To identify weaknesses in emergency communications procedures and systems;
  • To identify positive and negative reactions of staff with designated responsibilities such as Fire Wardens and First Aiders

Who should take part - the evacuation drill should be for all occupants of the building except those who may need to ensure the security of the premises, or people who, on a risk assessed basis are required to remain on site.

The Branch Manager in consultation with the Chief Fire Warden and Fire Wardens will organize and supervise the evacuation drills. The drills should not take any longer than 10-15 minutes and should be completed with minimum disruption.

The Branch Manager in consultation with Chief Fire Warden and Fire Wardens MUST have procedures in place to evacuate disabled people.

3. References:

Safe Work Australia: Emergency Plans – Fact Sheet

WorkSafe Victoria: Guidance Note, Emergency management

WorkSafe Victoria: SafeMap (Safety Management Achievement Program)

4. Definitions:

4.1. Chief Fire Warden (identified by White Helmet): is a staff member appointed to ensure that fire wardens' activities are coordinated during an -emergency or fire.

4.2. Fire Warden (identified by Red Helmet): is a staff member appointed to implement the steps established in the Emergency Plan (which describes steps to be taken in an emergency or fire)

5. Procedure -

Consideration prior to undertaking the Evacuation Drill

5.1. Consult & Coordinate - The drill will need to be coordinated with all departments. Their involvement and awareness of the drill is essential so that all departments agree to the drill and participate.

5.2. Prevent Unintentional Fire Brigade Attendance - Before the drill commences ensure that emergency services are NOT alerted be pre warning the person responsible for making the emergency phone call (receptionist).

5.3. Weather Conditions - the weather conditions for the proposed drill date and time should be considered. Extreme weather may cause unwanted distress on drill participants. It is recommended that the drill be postponed until conditions are less hazardous.

5.4. Escape Routes - check external stairs and exit routes to ensure that there are no hazards or conditions that may cause an accident.

5.5. Staff information: circulate details concerning the emergency drill and inform ALL staff of their duty to participate. It may NOT be beneficial to have 'surprise drills' as the health and safety risks introduced may outweigh the benefits.

5.6. Carrying Out the Drill

When carrying out the drill the Chief Fire Warden might find it helpful to:

  • Use ' observers' to block main routes off (as if affected by fire) so occupants have to use the 'alternative escape routes' and also brief Fire Wardens to direct occupants through alternative routes. This helps occupants familiarise themselves with those unfamiliar routes from their areas of work and demonstrate / encourage escape via nearest available exit instead of using the main way or everyday way into and out of the building;
  • Nominate 'observers';
  • Ask if any specialist/hazardous/ sensitive equipment can be left safely or that closedown procedures are in place?
  • Inform visitors and members of the public if they are present;
  • Ask a member of the staff at random to set off the alarm at the nearest alarm point. This will indicate the level of knowledge regarding the location of the nearest alarm point;
  • Ensure Fire Wardens direct occupants to the assembly point and provide control where there is a road and traffic;
  • Encourage the Fire Wardens to report that their areas are clear to the Chief Fire Warden and if they are aware of any person still left inside the building
  • Chief Fire Warden should be prepared to give information to the Fire Brigade as if it were an emergency;
  • A roll call should be carried out as soon as possible at the assembly area; Fire Wardens to report to Chief Fire Warden any people that are unaccounted for and in a real evacuation, this information should be passed to the Fire Brigade.
  • Once the roll call is complete and all reports are received, the Chief Fire Warden will allow staff to return to the building. Alarms reset and monitoring companies advised that the drill has been completed.

5.7. Monitoring and Debrief

Throughout the drill, the 'Responsible Person' and nominated observers should pay particular attention to;

  • Communication difficulties with regard to the roll call and establishing that everyone is accounted for;
  • The use of the nearest available escape routes as opposed to common routes in and out of the building;
  • Difficulties with the opening of final exit doors;
  • Difficulties experienced by people with disabilities or young children;
  • The roles of specified people, e.g. Chief Fire Warden, Fire Wardens and First Aiders.
    • Inappropriate actions, e.g. stopping to collect personal items.

5.8. On Completion of the Emergency / Fire Drill

On the spot debriefs are useful to discuss the drill encouraging feedback from everybody. Later, reports from Fire Wardens and observations from people in attendance should be collated and reviewed. Any conclusions and remedial actions should be recorded and implemented;

A record should be kept and include the time taken for the last person to leave the building after the activation of the alarm;

An Emergency / Fire Drill Record (HR20. l) MUST be completed and a copy sent to the OH&S manager for his/her records and a copy to be held by the Chief Fire Warden, as evidence for the Fire Brigade or Work Safe Authority that Emergency/ Fire Drills have taken place.

6. Documentation

HR20.1 Emergency / Fire Evacuation Drill Record