Every Practice should have a fire evacuation policy – your Surgery should have a Fire Marshall or Marshalls. The Marshalls or Monitors should have regular training and the full support of management in ensuring that all issues regarding safety are adhered to.
It is important that all staff are fully aware of who their Fire Marshalls/Monitors are in the workplace. I suggest that you have a notice up stating who are the Fire marshalls/Monitors for your Surgery.
Do you have more than one Fire Monitor/Marshall? If not what happens when your one and only Marshall/Monitor is away on holiday? In my experience is it best to have 2 – either full-time or part-time staff for each surgery and ones that most likely will work different hours from each other.
Your Surgery should be carrying out fire training at least once a year. It is vital that staff know what their duties are in the event of an evacuation for their own safety and the safety of others.
Below are some brief tips taken from the Fire Evacuation Procedures that I had in one of our Health and Safety Manuals.
NON EMERGENCY RESPONSIBILITIES
Identify and rectify any fire hazards (i.e. blocked exits, fire equipment unavailable etc). Everyone should identity a fire hazard and report it to their Health and Safety Marshall/Monitor or their Manager.
Be familiar with your surgery’s fire procedure. Fire procedures may be updated when staff numbers increase, area changes or layout of the building change.
Ensure that you have a copy of your fire procedure available for staff – all new staff should be fully aware of your fire procedures. I suggest you should have a copy of your procedure in the staff handbook.
- Your Surgery should hold at least 2 training sessions on fire evacuation session per year. It is important to keep a record of those that have attended. Those that have missed the first training session should be encouraged to attend the second session. It is vital that staff are familiar with your surgery evacuation procedures.
ALL STAFF SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH:
- Action to be taken when discovering a fire.
- How to use the Surgery Fire Alarms
- Action on hearing a fire alarm and the procedures that they need to follow.
- The location of fire extinguishers
- How to use fire extinguishers correctly (outside agencies are best to use for this)
- Procedures on alerting members of the public, temporary and attached staff.
- Evacuation Procedure
- Assembly meeting points
- The importance of Fire Doors.
- The location of escape routes.
- How to open all escape doors.
- The reason for not using lifts.
- The importance of general fire precautions and good housekeeping.
- Your policy on calling the emergency services.
- Where there is a practice fire evacuation all staff, patients, visitors should be made
aware of this. The reason for this will help reduce panic and possible accidents.
Every member of staff should be familiar with these following issues:
How to follow the evacuation procedure for the building.
Procedure for disabled persons. Disabled people can be considered as permanent and temporary such as, the elderly, people in wheelchairs, sports injuries, broken bones, pregnant women, persons with small children/pushchairs, all of these may need assistance to evacuate the building. (Please see blog for further info Safely Evacuating People With A Disability http://t.co/8InnNzSl)
Patients, visitors, and contractors will be unfamiliar to the surgery layout and therefore at great risk if a fire should occur.
People that may be working in areas with restricted exits.
If in the event of a fire it is very helpful if you can give a floor plan to the Fire
Brigade – this will help if they have to go in to search the building.
When carrying out Fire Training with staff quite often if you contact the local fire
brigade an officer will be more than happy to come out and talk to the staff.
If you have a visitor’s book ensure that this is taken out to the assembly point – this way
you can check if the visitor has evacuated the building. But this only works if
you ensure that your visitors sign in and OUT. It is useful to get contractors / workmen to sign the visit book for this purpose too.