Overview: While having an emergency plan in place may be legally required, oftentimes putting that plan into practice (through drills or other training) is not. However, without practice a plan's weaknesses will never be exposed and employees may forget what to do if they panic during a true emergency situation.
To encourage safety in the workplace, regular fire and evacuation drills should be conducted to ensure that employees are prepared and that things go as smoothly as possible during a real event.
The employer should evaluate the success of the drills and adjust accordingly. For example, did everyone hear the alarm? Did everyone respond appropriately and immediately? Were the evacuation routes free from hazards and easily accessible for all employees? Did all alarms go off successfully? Was there a system for conducting a headcount?
Trends: Employers may want to take advantage of initiatives like Fire Prevention Week and National Preparedness Month to test their emergency response systems with appropriate drills.
Author: Melissa Gonzalez Boyce, JD, Legal Editor
California employers that want to provide an overview of the evacuation procedures set forth in the emergency action plan should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers who want to provide an overview of the evacuation procedures set forth in a written emergency action plan should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
This briefing for supervisors examines the law and best practices regarding fire safety in the workplace, including preparing fire prevention plans, identifying and resolving fire hazards and training employees on fire safety.
This How To details the steps an employer should take to conduct a fire and evacuation drill in the workplace.
An employer may use this policy to assign a framework of response relating to a fire emergency or necessary workplace evacuation, as well as to designate the frequency of drills and other methods to test the procedures. A Fire and Evacuation Drill policy offers the essential information required for life saving actions during an emergency and helps reduce the time needed to depart safely from the building, and should include aspects of fire response, such as location and use of fire extinguishers.
HR guidance on conducting drills to increase the likelihood of a successful workplace response in a real emergency.