The law requires that all workplaces provide for the safe and rapid evacuation of persons in the event of an emergency. The emergency may be a fire, gas leak, hazardous material leak (eg a dangerous chemical), bomb threat or some other type of crisis situation.
Where, because of its construction (eg compartmentation), a building affords some internal protection from the hazard, initial evacuation may only require the removal of occupants away from the immediate danger (room or floor) to adjacent safe areas (rooms or floors).
A fire emergency procedure should include the following:
Alert others of the fire.
- Ensure the immediate safety of anyone near the fire
- Call the fire brigade "000" **
- Fight the fire if safe to do so
- Evacuate the area.
** Even if an automatic alarm has been instigated, a "000" emergency telephone call should still be made to confirm receipt of alarm and to give further details.
The following guidelines may be used to establish an evacuation procedure for the workplace:
- Draw a map which shows all exits from the building. Give each employee a copy of this map and display copies of it in prominent locations.
- Establish assembly (marshalling) points outside the building and inform employees of their locations.
- Establish who, during an evacuation, will search which area (if safe to do so) to ensure that no one is left in the building. Ensure the attending fire service are informed which areas (if any) have not been searched and cleared.
- Conduct evacuation drills regularly. All building occupants should participate.
- All employees should be familiar with the sounds and locations of any fire alarm or emergency communication systems.
- Any visitor or contractor working on the premises should be made aware of the emergency procedures and be told what to do and where to go in the event of an emergency.
- No one should enter/re-enter the building until the fire service give the all clear.
- Involve employees who have hearing, vision or physical impairments in evacuation planning. Make provision for anyone who needs help in escaping and include these provisions in all drills.
- Work with fire brigade personnel to keep your workplace fire emergency plan up-to-date;
For further discussion or advice on these issues, please contact the Community Safety Department.
The following documents are recommended further reading for guidance and information:-
- South Australian Occupational Health Safety and Welfare Regulations 1995 - Division 2.6.
- Australian Standard 3745 Emergency control organisation and procedures for buildings.
- Australian Standard 4083 Planning for emergencies - Health Care Facilities.