The law requires that you have a fire action plan in place in all workplaces.
Naturally, it’s an essential step in keeping your team safe, as well as ensuring any fire emergencies are dealt with as promptly as possible.
To guarantee your fire action plan is as effective as it can be, there are a number of additional things you can do beyond simply installing what the authorities state.
Review responsibilities and the workspace
First and foremost, you need to actually have a carefully mapped out fire action plan in place, not just the paperwork. As an employer, this is your responsibility, and if you share this role with others, you should work together to create and maintain this area.
This requires a thorough fire risk assessment of your workplace building, whereby any risks identified are duly noted and actioned, with necessary fire safety features and processes put in place. The gov.uk website is a great resource for small to medium businesses, explaining everything your workplace needs to comply with fire safety law in the UK.
Install necessary measures from a human point of view
Both a fire alarm and fire exit are essential for fire safety, however, simply havingthem on site isn’t enough. In the event of a fire, your process for raising the alarm and getting people out of the building needs to be a flawlessly smooth one. It also needs to be realistic, and not just a case of ticking boxes.
So, when installing a fire alarm, you should consider placement, ensuring it’s in a central location that can be easily reached. Importantly, this goes for the fire exit(s) too. All exits should be clearly signposted and completely unobstructed. When reviewing the efficiency of your fire exits, think about everyone’s path to it, and make sure it’s clear of clutter and items that could hinder people’s passage.
Communicate your fire action plan
Having an effective fire action plan in place is only half of the puzzle when it comes to fire safety. To complete your plan, you need to make sure it’s fully communicated to the whole team and any other users of the workspace.
To do this, your fire safety process should be clearly explained to any new employees as part of their onboarding, and regular ‘drills’ carried out to remind people what to do in the event of a fire. This description and practice run-through should clearly explain how and where to operate a fire alarm and call emergency services, where best to leave the building, and the location of your fire assembly point.
When describing what to do, don’t forget to cover what not to do. It’s also important to emphasise that personal belongings should be left behind and lifts must not be used; needless to say, people should understand that a swift exit is imperative.
All of these important steps are covered on a fire action notice sign, which is an essential reminder for your team on what to do in the event of a fire. Placing this in a prominent area of the building will allow people to become well-versed in your fire action plan and remember the details.
Please refer to this guide from the UK Safety Store for more information on fire action signs.