It's important to hold regular fire drills to ensure your employees are prepared and know what to do should the alarm go off.
A UK-wide research survey by global insurer RSA (formerly Royal Sun Alliance) shows that a quarter of UK workers surveyed have never carried out a full fire evacuation of their workplace. This is contrary to government guidance which suggests that full fire drills are undertaken every year.
Of those businesses questioned:
- one in 20 employees said their workplace had no marked fire exits at all
- 6% said they would first grab a cup of tea or coffee on hearing a fire alarm, and then leave the building
- 42% of people would retrieve personal belongings or work documents before evacuating
- on average, employees waited 36 seconds before responding to an alarm
Generally, a building should be evacuated in 2.5 minutes. However, one-in-ten workers admitted that, upon hearing the alarm, they sit at their desks for over 1 minute before deciding to leave, regardless of whether they believe the alarm to be due to a real fire or not.
To keep your employees and business safe:
Ensure that everyone knows:
On hearing the alarm:
- immediately evacuate to the assembly point via the nearest exit
- follow any instructions given by your fire safety marshal
- do not run
- do not stop to collect personal belongings
- do not open or touch a door beyond which you have reason to believe there is a fire
- do not use the lift
- do not return to the building until you have been told it is safe to do so