Every company should have a fire safety procedure in place to ensure the safe evacuation of staff members in the event of a blaze. Without one, a company runs the risk of severe injury or death arising from a fire, which will cause extensive damage to a company's reputation as well as leaving it vulnerable to costly compensation claims.
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Workplaces should have clearly defined evacuation routes and maps that are well lit and clearly designated, so employees know where to go in the event of a fire. These routes should be free from clutter and unobstructed at all times, and there should be more than one exit route from a building. The company should purchase and maintain fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers and fire alarms. Many companies also carry out regular fire drills so that employees are aware of evacuation procedures.
Some companies designate fire wardens, whose responsibilities include ensuring fire safety procedures are adhered to and up to date, and that equipment is well maintained. Another fire warden function is to ensure that, in the event of a fire, all employees have evacuated the building. These personnel must receive regular training in their responsibilities, such as shutting down equipment and utility services and identifying when evacuation of the building is the only viable option. Some larger companies may have visitors who do not speak English as a native language; in this case the fire warden will receive additional training in assisting those who have special communication needs.
An organisation's fire safety procedure will designate an assembly point, where employees and personnel gather after evacuating the building. This is often a car park or nearby park. When all employees are gathered at the assembly point, a supervisor takes a headcount or roll call to identify any missing persons. If this is the case, emergency personnel should be notified immediately.
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