Evacuation Plan for Simple and Complex Buildings

Keeping employees and other occupants safe from harm can be quite a complex job. Preparing emergency procedures and providing fire warden response training to key personnel are all both key issues.

The activities that one undertakes within a business or similar can be critical and the difference between life and death. 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 what must be included on an evacuation plan and what should be included if present in a building. I have listed some of the key feature below:

The following shall be included in each evacuation diagram:

Must have if present:

  1. A pictorial representation of the floor or area.
  2. The title ‘EVACUATION DIAGRAM’.
  3. The ‘YOU ARE HERE’ location.
  4. The designated exits in the facility, which shall be green.
  5. Warden intercommunication points (if present)
  6. Manual/emergency call points (If present)
  7. Hose reels locations.
  8. Extinguishers
  9. Fire blankets
  10. Fire indicator panel (FIP) (if present).
  11. Refuges, (if present) I.e. shelter in place.
  12. Validity date.
  13. Location of assembly area(s).
  14. A legend
  15. Paths of travel
  16. Location of facility, including address, postcode, location of access street(s), nearest
  17. cross street and name of facility (if available), either stated in words or pictorially Represented.

Optional Elements (if present):

  1. Direction of opening doors.
  2. North directional arrow.
  3. First aid stations and kits.
  4. Hazardous chemical store.
  5. Spill response kits.
  6. Specialized evacuation devices, including stairwell evacuation devices, if provided.
  7. Fire and smoke doors.
  8. Hydrants.
  9. Automatic external defibrillator(s) (AED).
  10. Electrical switchboard location(s).
  11. 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.

There are some key features required on the plan but the detail provided by some plans can be hard to follow.

The objective of an evacuation plan is to guide occupants away from a developing emergency. This is where the difference between a good plan and bad evacuation plan exists.

Prior to any emergency there is a real need for training or at least the provision of evacuation information. When planning for emergencies in a facility a thorough and well presented evacuation plan can achieve a lot. Even using appealing colors can draw the occupant to a plan to review it before any emergency occurs. If a fire warden is involved in conversations with occupants about the plan then the training objective has likely been achieved.

When there is an emergency if occupants know where the plan is 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.

Where the public use a facility they can become very disoriented during emergencies and a well presented wall mounted evacuation plan can easily become visible to them. Providing a reference and direction of travel to escape.