Keeping employees and other occupants safe from harm can be quite a complex job. In addition, preparing emergency procedures and providing fire warden response training to key personnel are all both key issues.
Furthermore, the activities that one undertakes within a business or similar can be critical and the difference between life and death. Even so, a detailed and easy to understand evacuation plan can increase safety during emergencies substantially.
The evacuation plan and Australian Standard 3745-2010
What is an emergency evacuation plan? The image below is a representation of an evacuation plan for a small complex.
The Australian Standard is, quite specific, about evacuation plan inclusions and what should be included if present in a building. Similarly, I have listed some of the key features below:
Each evacuation diagram shall include the following:
Must have if present:
- A pictorial representation of the floor or area.
- The title ‘EVACUATION DIAGRAM’.
- The ‘YOU ARE HERE’ location.
- The designated exits in the facility, which shall be green.
- Warden intercommunication points (if present)
- Also, manual/emergency call points (If present)
- Hose reels locations.
- Fire blankets
- Fire indicator panel (FIP) (if present).
- Refuges, (if present) I.e. shelter in place.
- Validity date.
- Location of assembly area(s).
- A legend
- Paths of travel
- Location of the facility, including address, postcode, location of access street(s), nearest
- cross street and name of facility (if available), either stated in words or pictorially Represented.
Optional Elements (if present):
- The direction of opening doors.
- North directional arrow.
- First aid stations and kits.
- Hazardous chemical store.
- Spill response kits.
- Specialized evacuation devices, including stairwell evacuation devices, if provided.
- Fire and smoke doors.
- Automatic external defibrillator(s) (AED).
- Electrical switchboard location(s).
- Solar power isolation point(s).
Note: the evacuation plan shouldn’t be too cluttered but must be workable.
Health and safety legislation.
Health and safety legislation requires every facility to have an evacuation plan.
A plan requires certain features to be present, but the detail provided by some projects can be hard to follow.
The objective of an evacuation plan is to guide occupants away from a developing emergency. There is a substantial difference between a good plan and a lousy evacuation plan exists.
Before any emergency, there is a real need for training or at least evacuation information. A thorough and well-presented plan can achieve a lot when planning for emergencies in a facility. Even using appealing colours can draw the occupant to a plan to review it before any emergency occurs. If a fire warden has conversations with occupants about the project, then training objectives are achieved.
When an emergency occurs, the occupant will have good knowledge of plan locations. They are likely to tear it off the wall and use it as a guide to get them away from danger and hopefully out into the assembly area.
When the public uses a facility, they can become very disoriented during emergencies. A well-presented wall mounted evacuation plan can quickly become visible to them—providing a reference and direction of travel to escape.