Home > Disaster Response, Emergency Response, Safety, Security > Effective Fire Prevention Plans Require Comprehensive Policies

Effective Fire Prevention Plans Require Comprehensive Policies

A comprehensive fire prevention policy backs up your emergency plans and formalizes your fire prevention program.  A clear, comprehensive, and well-communicated fire prevention policy is the foundation of any workplace fire prevention program and gives purpose and direction to fire prevention plans, procedures, and training.

Points to Cover

An effective fire prevention policy needs to cover a lot of important points. For example:

  • Alarm systems
  • Fire suppression systems, such as automatic sprinkler systems
  • Fire extinguishers (if you expect employees to use them to put out fires, you have to train them)
  • Common fire hazards
  • Fire reporting procedures
  • Evacuation procedures (everyone should know at least two exit routes from their work area in case one is blocked by fire)
  • Safety precautions for preventing workplace fires
  • Fire-fighting rules (when to fight, when to take flight)
  • Fire safety training (what, when, who, and how often)
  • Emergency response teams (fire brigades, emergency shutdown procedures, medical emergency first responders, etc.)

Don’t Forget Fire Drills

Your policy should also include procedures for regular fire drills. Fire drills should be conducted once every 6 to 12 months, depending on the needs of the facility. After the fire drill, an employee briefing should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of the drill. Remember that the purpose of drills is to train workers to respond quickly and effectively in the event of a workplace fire.

When including fire drill procedures in your fire prevention policy, consider key issues such as:

  • Frequency of drills
  • Location of fire drill maps and instructions (for example, you might want to consider dividing your facility into quadrants or giving each department an evacuation map with posted exits and escape routes)
  • Supervisors’ responsibilities during a fire drill
  • The signal for a fire drill
  • Acceptable amount of time for complete evacuation
  • Whether the drill will be planned or spontaneous (planned evacuations are appreciated by employees, but spontaneous evacuations will more accurately measure evacuation readiness)
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