Why Are Fire Drills Important?
Keeping your employees safe and your premises protected from the threat of fire is of the utmost importance. Everyone should feel safe while they are at work, which is why regular fire drills should be carried out.
You might be very familiar with the term, but what does a fire drill involve and how often should one be carried out for a business? This month, we’re going to look at these questions, break down why they’re so important and the things you might need to perform a fire drill.
What is a fire drill?
Whether in an office, retail outlet, school, warehouse or a shared working space, a fire drill is a simulated emergency procedure to imitate what you would do in the event of a fire. It will test your fire detection and warning systems, along with your evacuation plan for the building and any plan for those who require assistance in evacuating.
Why are fire drills important?
While a fire drill in the middle of the working day might seem like a nuisance and an inconvenience, there is a logic behind regular drills for a number of reasons.
- To ease anxiety – For some people, the unfamiliar sounding of an alarm and the feeling of pressure in an emergency may make them panic or act in a more irrational manner. Fire drills are a great way to alleviate this and get people familiar with the process so that, in the event of a real fire, they can react in a way that is almost second nature.
- To reduce false alarms – In the year ending September 2021, there were 148,286 false alarms due to apparatus. Fire drills carried out on a regular basis can help to highlight any issues with your alarm and warning system so that such events can be avoided, limiting how much time the emergency services waste.
- To ensure evacuation plans work – While you might think you have a solid evacuation plan, businesses change all the time. Whether it’s the number of people you employ or the parts of the building you use that changes, a fire drill will highlight whether you need to do anything differently to keep everyone safe.
- To comply with the law – The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that the responsible person in a business must “establish and, where necessary, give effect to appropriate procedures, including safety drills, to be followed in the event of serious and imminent danger to relevant persons”. This means it is your legal obligation to carry out fire drills.
That final point leads nicely to a common question about the regularity of performing fire drills.
How often should a fire drill be carried out?
The legal requirement for your business is to carry out a fire drill for your premises at least once a year. However, it is commonly accepted that there should be regular fire drills throughout the year to uphold high standards of safety. The HSE also encourages this increased schedule, particularly for those faced with numerous fire risks on the premises or where the business has changed in some way.
You should then record the results of the fire drills to assess whether any changes need to be made before the next drill. This can help to prove you are constantly working towards improving safety for staff.
Things you need for a fire drill
A fire drill doesn’t require much equipment barring the system itself, but here are a few important items you might want to have:
- Register of people on the premises
- A pen to check off names
- Hi-vis jackets for any wardens
- Fire exit signs (permanent)
Here at TVF (UK) Limited, we’re committed to helping businesses and organisations of all kinds in High Wycombe, Watford and Slough to uphold high standards of fire safety. We offer fire safety training for your staff so that fire drills can be conducted, as well as fire alarm maintenance if you find your system is not working as it should.
Contact our professional team today and we’ll be happy to assist with the fire safety needs of your commercial operation.