All occupants must be capable of responding correctly in the event of fire. Accordingly, a plan should be prepared outlining the procedures to be followed. This predetermined plan can be broken down into a number of sections:
- A procedure for raising the alarm;
- A procedure for calling the fire brigade;
- An evacuation procedure;
- An assembly point and roll call procedure;
- A procedure for fighting the fire;
- A procedure for assisting the fire brigade.
(i) A Procedure for Raising the Alarm:
Depending on the establishment size the fire alarm system may be very simple or may be sophisticated. All occupants should be aware of how to raise the alarm. Alarm sounders should be different and distinct from any other signal used in the building.
(ii) A Procedure for Calling the Fire Brigade:
The Fire Brigade should be called immediately in the event of fire, however small. Where there is a receptionist or telephonist he/she is usually given the responsibility of contacting the Fire Brigade. When calling the Fire Brigade give clear information including:
- Name Of Building
- Address Of Building?
- Directions to the Building if necessary
- Type Of Fire Situation (If Available) -e.g. Fire Location, Fire Size, Materials Involved, Persons Missing.
(iii) An Evacuation Procedure:
Initiate the evacuation procedure once the fire alarm has been sounded. The evacuation procedure will depend on the building use e.g. the evacuation procedure for a hospital will be different from the procedure for a manufacturing facility or an office building
(iv) An Assembly Point and Roll Call Procedure:
Designate an assembly area (or areas) clear of the building. All building occupants should proceed to the assembly area on evacuation. The assembly area should be clear of access points for the Fire Brigade. At the assembly point a roll call should be taken to ensure all occupants are accounted for. Missing persons should be notified to the Fire Brigade when they arrive at the scene.
(v) A Procedure for Fighting the Fire:
In the early stages of a fire it may be possible to successfully contain it or extinguish it with first aid fire fighting equipment. To accomplish this staff members should be instructed in the use of hand held extinguishers and hose reels.
Certain members of staff may be designated as a fire fighting team as part of the emergency procedures. Their function would be to assess and "if safe to do so" tackle the fire with the available equipment until the Fire Brigade arrive.
(vi) A Procedure for Assisting the Fire Brigade:
When the Fire Brigade arrive they need to be given as much information as possible in order to take the best course of action. The type of information required includes:
- location of the fire;
- materials involved;
- details of missing persons;
- location of nearest fire hydrants;
- location of all access doors to the building.
- location of any special risks.
- Keys for access into any locked areas.