Fire evacuation procedures

Updated April 17, 2017

Fire evacuation directions are posted in so many businesses and private buildings that it becomes easy to ignore any information pertaining to safety during a fire emergency. However, all it takes is one incident--a misplaced cigarette butt, an overturned candle, an improper mix of chemicals--and a fire can overcome a building. It is vital to know the fire evacuation procedures so that, if a fire should appear, you and those around you will be able to safely flee.

Why Have a Plan?

Just as in any emergency situation, it is important to respond correctly in a fire. The lack of a plan can have deadly consequences. According to the National Fire Protection Association, only 23 per cent of households have formulated and practised a plan for fire escape. About 33 per cent of Americans surveyed figured that if a fire did break out in their home, they would have at least six minutes to get out before there was any threat to their life. However, within six minutes of a fire starting, it is often too late to get out of a burning home (See Reference 1). Having a plan can make a life or death difference in the midst of a fire.

Home Evacuation Procedures

Home fire evacuation plans are usually not posted in a conspicuous place; often, there is no evacuation plan at all. However, knowing a few key principles will help you develop a procedure for your home and family. Begin by drawing a map of your home. Then, provide at least two ways to get out of each room; sometimes a fire can block a common entrance. Next, choose an outside meeting place where everyone can meet after leaving the house from the fire. If there is no meeting place, someone may run back into the burning building unnecessarily. Finally, practice the procedure. Remember that if the house is filled with smoke, you may have to crawl on the floor to get away from the toxic fumes.

Business Evacuation Procedures

In a place of business, government building, or school, there should be fire evacuation procedures posted in a noticeable place. For those developing the procedures, a few key insights can help to develop the best possible plan for fire safety. Like a home fire procedure, business fire procedures must include a reasonable plan of escape. Make sure employees are aware of how and where to exit the premises. However, there are a few features of a business evacuation procedure that are unlike a normal home evacuation. First, a procedure is needed for those employees who might need to remain in the building in order to operate any critical functions of the business. Also, in the case of injuries, employees who are able to assist in care need to be designated. Finally, names should be given to employees of who to contact if any questions concerning the fire procedure arise. With these few simple steps, an ignorant business can become well informed in fire safety.

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About the Author

Jack Stone, a 25-year-old freelance writer, has been writing professionally since 2009 for sites such as eHow, Golflink and Trails. He holds a Bachelor of Theology from Ozark Christian College, a certificate to teach English to speakers of other languages from Biola University and a Masters of Arts degree from Wheaton College.