19 May 2021
How Often Should Fire Drills Be Performed?
When we think of fire safety, we often think of fire extinguishers, fire alarms and sprinklers – things that we rely on to detect and put out fires. However, fire drills are just as important as safety equipment – they ensure everyone knows the correct course of action in the event of a fire, aiding a swift and safe evacuation. Even if you’re familiar with what fire drills are, the question remains: how often should you perform a fire drill?
What is a Fire Drill?
For those who are unfamiliar with them, a fire drill is essentially a dress rehearsal for a real fire, designed to allow you and your employees to practice what to do in a real emergency. From evacuation routes to meeting points, a fire drill should cover all emergency procedures to minimise confusion and panic should a real fire occur.
How often should Fire Drills occur?
Fire drills should be conducted at least once a year, or more frequently if you change fire safety procedures, the layout of your premises or if staff are moved to a new position within the building. Certain environments, such as schools, should carry out fire drills multiple times per year. It is crucial that you record the results of your fire drills – what worked, what people struggled with, and what can be improved upon. This will make it easier for you to resolve any vulnerabilities or issues.
Any new starters should be informed of fire safety procedures at the earliest possible opportunity.
Why are Fire Drills Important?
Aside from the practice and training of staff in fire safety procedures, fire drills give you a chance to evaluate what parts of your fire safety procedures work, and what parts don’t. For example, during a fire drill, you might notice that your evacuation routes are blocked by cabinets, boxes or other items – you can then make a note of this and remove the obstructions, making it easier for people to escape the property.
Who is Responsible for Fire Drills?
In commercial properties, responsibility for fire safety falls to the owner, occupier or manager. This person is categorised as the ‘responsible person’ as per The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. The responsible person must ensure that all fire safety legislation is adhered to.
The responsible person must organise fire drills, and they are also responsible for keeping a record of the results of said drill, as well as arranging for any repairs, maintenance or reorganisation required as a result of the fire drill report.
Having all the best fire safety equipment is one thing, but you’re putting yourself and your staff in harm’s way if you don’t know how to act when your fire alarm sounds. Ensure that you have a clear plan for fire situations, and that you practice your fire drills at least once a year to reinforce your understanding of safe and effective protocols.
Fire & Security Group are experts in the supply of fire alarms, fire safety training and fire risk assessments, making businesses safer across the UK. If you’d like to know more about our work, simply contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.