Fire evacuation Drills
We were recently asked by one of our member companies for guidance on fire evacuation drills in light of COVID-19 with potentially large numbers of people congregating around a fire assembly point. This in light of the current requirement for social distancing. This question was raised with our primary authority for fire safety Lincolnshire fire and rescue.
They suggested that fire drills should be postponed, and other methods used such as communications on noticeboards or emailing out procedures and evacuation plans together with a risk-based approach being adopted. What is important is that everyone knows what to do and where to go via the nearest exit. During these unprecedented times ways that include social distancing guidance should be looked at. When we start to get back to business as usual that it will be important to restart those measures that require us to be near each other.
Provision of fire marshals
Another question posed recently was the provision of fire marshals. The company in question still had a legal obligation to ensure sufficient fire marshals within the workplace in turn and needed to get some employees trained. We suggested that face to face would be impossible at present given the restrictions on social distancing even if a training provider was sought.
In this case we suggested a number of on-line fire marshal training providers. Please remember the fire marshal duties can extend much further than fire evacuations (which we have already talked about above), there are also daily, weekly and monthly duties to consider such as checking evacuation routes, fire doors (not obstructed), checking fire safety equipment such as fire extinguishers, alarms and emergency lighting.