In any emergency escape and evacuation plan it is essential that attention is paid to planning your means of escape from the building. This is essential in ensuring that you try minimize the fire risks to your staff, for instance by having a ladder fire escape in place so that during a fire evacuation workers can clear the premises quickly.

On this page we will give you some fire safety tips on best practise fire safety management techniques and also on how to plan your escape routes.

Now during any comprehensive fire risk assessment you would normally have flagged up the best escape routes for any emergency evacuation plan.

Any escape route should be well sign posted with highly visible exit safety signs, so that workers know exactly where to go in the event of a fire hazard.

The first thing to do is to look at the layout of the building you are developing the means of escape strategy for. Then look at the type of business that is being run there, for instance is it a retail business or shop, if so do you also have to plan for visitors and customers.

When they are being build most modern premises have a means of escape laid out in their floor plans. You can seen this by how virtually all rooms have a door leading to a landing or stairways.

How many floors are there in the building, where are the main exit’s. A fire is most likely to break out near the kitchen or where electrical equipment is stored. Following on from this decide on the quickest route out of the building from these locations.

Work out how many people are likely to go through a particular way out of during a blaze. Decide if the fire exit door can handle that amount of people. Then look at the width of the doors and the hallway size and length, is it practical for people to run down? Are there enough doors for all of the people who would potentially use them.

What happens if a fire has broke out by the fire door itself, meaning the escape route is blocked? This of this scenario and then decide on a solution. Also ensure that the fire escape doors do not have locks on them and are obstacle free.

In extreme cases you may be necessary to knock down walls or build new doors, if so make sure you do not need planning permission to do this.

Disabled staff
Consider the escape routes for disabled people, for instance is someone uses a wheelchair. What measures will you have in place to assist them. Place your recommendations in any Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans or PEEPS as they are known. Consider using evacuation chairs for those with a disability to help them down stairs, however note that these require 2 people to properly operate them.

Make sure the staff are aware beforehand of the escape routes to stop confusion from arising in the event of a real emergency evacuation. Ensure the provision of regular and relevant fire training to key staff members when necessary.

If you are holding a open day or perhaps a conference at your premises then make sure you have extra fire safety provisions in place for the occasion.

Measure and estimate the time it is likely to take someone using a particular means of escape to vacate a building. Do this by timing yourself walking quickly along a particular route or stairways, and then running down one to safety and the assembly point.

Consider providing your staff with pocket guides giving details of what to do.

Another tip for you is to provide some of your designated staff with bright fluorescent waistcoats your staff, studies have shown that this can help in emergencies.