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Emergency Evacuation & Fire Safety


Workplace fires and explosions kill 200 and injure more than 5,000 workers each year. In 1995, more than 75,000 workplace fires cost businesses more than $2.3 billion.

Fire safety becomes everyone's job at a worksite. Employers should train workers about fire hazards in the workplace and about what to do in a fire emergency. This plan should outline the assignments of key personnel in the event of a fire and provide an evacuation plan for workers on the site. Knowing the answers to the questions below could keep you safe during an emergency.

Emergency Evacuation & Fire Safety
How would you escape from your workplace in an emergency?
Do you know where all the exits are in case your first choice is too crowded?
Are you sure the doors will be unlocked and that the exit access, such as a hallway, will not be blocked during a fire, explosion, or other crisis?
Is your facility properly marked for easy evacuation?
Is important fire fighting equipment properly marked and identified and in proper working order?

What should employers do to protect workers from fire hazards?

Employers should train workers about fire hazards in the workplace and about what to do in a fire emergency. If you want your workers to evacuate, you should train them on how to escape. If you expect your workers to use firefighting equipment, you should give them appropriate equipment and train them to use the equipment safely.

What should you have for emergency fire exits?

Every workplace must have enough exits suitably located to enable everyone to get out of the facility quickly.

Considerations include the type of structure, the number of persons exposed, the fire protection available, the type of industry involved, and the height and type of construction of the building or structure.

In addition, fire doors must not be blocked or locked when employees are inside.

Delayed opening of fire doors, however, is permitted when an approved alarm system is integrated into the fire door design. Exit routes from buildings must be free of obstructions and properly marked with exit signs.

What should you have for emergency fire exits?

Design and construction suggestions for exit routes

Make exit route design permanent.
Ensure that the number of exit routes is adequate based on the number of employees, the size of the building, its occupancy, and the arrangement of the workplace.
Separate an exit route from other workplace areas with materials that have the proper fire resistance-rating for the number of stories the route connects.
Ensure that exit routes meet width and height requirements. The width of exit routes must be sufficient to accommodate the maximum permitted occupant load of each floor served by the exit route.
Design exit routes that lead to an outside area with enough space for all occupants.
An outdoor exit route is permitted but may have additional site-specific requirements.
Maintain the fire-retardant properties of paints and solutions that are used in exit routes.
Ensure that required exit routes and fire protections are available and maintained, especially during repairs and alterations.
Ensure that employee alarm systems are installed and operable.
Direct employees through exit routes using clearly visible signs. These signs must meet the required letter height and illumination specifications.
When openings could be mistaken for an exit, post appropriate signs stating “NOT AN EXIT.”
Arrange exit routes so that employees are not exposed to the dangers of high hazard areas.
Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. Prevent obstructions, such as decorations, furnishings, locked doorways, and dead-ends within exit routes.

Fire safety guides & checklists

Quick Fire Safety Guide
Emergency Response
Fire Protection

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