Fire Evacuation Strategy
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
In every workplace, public place, hospital, care home, school and hopefully a lot of homes, there should be a regularly reviewed Fire Evacuation Plan. This will detail what should happen in the event of a fire. The contents of this plan will be formed after a fire risk assessment and should be regularly reviewed and updated. A major part of your fire evacuation plan will be the fire evacuation strategy that you choose.
Evacuating premises is not as straightforward as you might think. Careful thought and consideration will need to be given to the premises and the people that inhabit it at any given time. The fire evacuation strategy used will depend on the event, what is happening, where is it happening and the people that are present in the premises. In this blog we take a look at the different fire evacuation strategies to help you determine which would be the best strategy for your venue:
Table of contents
- Total Evacuation
- Simultaneous Evacuation
- Phased Evacuation
- Vertical Phased Evacuation
- Horizontal Phased Evacuation
- Progressive Evacuation
- Progressive Horizontal Evacuation
- Zoned Evacuation
- Two-staged Evacuation
- Defend In Place
- Stay Put
- Implementing The Right Fire Evacuation Strategy
- Fire Evacuation Training
- Related links
A total evacuation strategy involves removing all the people present to a safe location. This evacuation strategy can either be a Simultaneous Evacuation or a Phased Evacuation.
A Simultaneous Evacuation Strategy is the plan most often deployed in the event of a fire. This means once the alarm has been raised the occupants of the premises will immediately and simultaneously exit the premises to gather at the predetermined Assembly Point. Occupants should be encouraged to leave in a calm manner which should be overseen by the Fire Warden(s) or Fire Marshals.
Used in premises that benefit from specific fire-resisting materials present in the fabric of the building, a Phased Evacuation Strategy allows for a gradual evacuation in the event of a fire. During a Phased Evacuation, the first people to evacuate are those that are closest to the fire (unless their Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan dictates otherwise) and those that are vulnerable, with impaired capacity or have mobility requirements. The remaining areas of the premises can then evacuate in a phased fashion which can either be Vertical Phased or Horizontal Phased.
Vertical Phased Evacuation
A Vertical Phased Evacuation is achieved by evacuating the floor where the fire is located and the one above, the rest of the stories are then evacuated one at a time until the premises is empty.
Horizontal Phased Evacuation
In healthcare settings like care homes and hospitals, the affected building floor/level might contain areas or rooms that are constructed using fire resisting materials. If this is the case, occupants that are vulnerable, have limited mobility or are receiving treatment, can be moved into these areas and if necessary, moved again. Depending on the situation this Horizontal Phased Evacuation might revert to a Vertical Phased Evacuation as the fire and circumstances dictate.
A Progressive Evacuation Strategy calls for the inhabitants to relocate within the premises to a safer location, where they will either remain or if possible, complete the evacuation to an external safe location. Progressive Evacuation falls into two categories: Progressive Horizontal Evacuation and Zoned Evacuation.
Progressive Horizontal Evacuation
Progressive Horizontal Evacuation involves moving inhabitants of a floor to an adjoining fire section on the same floor, from which they can then complete the evacuation to the external safe Assembly Point.
A Zoned Evacuation is the removal of occupants of the immediate vicinity of the fire to a safer area nearby, to either wait whilst the fire is brought under control, or to evacuate to the external safe Assembly Point.
In certain circumstances, having an alarm sound to evacuate an entire premises is not the safest thing to do. Consider places with high footfalls, like cinemas, sports arenas and theatres. In densely populated places, a mass evacuation could cause injury or even loss of life. In these circumstances, a silent alarm will allow fire safety personnel to implement the Fire Evacuation Protocols and then alert the occupants with the main alarm when everything is in place. Allowing for a safer and managed evacuation of the premises.
Defend In Place
There are instances, during the event of a fire, whereby evacuation is not possible for the inhabitants of the premises. The Defend In Place Strategy is often employed in medical facilities whereby the patients are unable to move due to life support equipment, the staff will keep the patients in place so that they continue to receive treatment whilst measures are taken to protect the area.
A Stay Put approach can be utilised in premises like a block of flats. The Stay Put Strategy usually implemented by the Fire Brigade can be used if a fire starts in a flat, the inhabitants of that flat should evacuate whilst the other occupants in the flats will be safe only if they remain where they are. This Stay Put Strategy should not be implemented if the fire enters the common areas of the building. Should other occupants wish to evacuate they should not be impeded.
Implementing The Right Fire Evacuation Strategy
Implementing the right Fire Evacuation Strategy for your premises will very much depend on the type of premises, its structural make up, the occupancy levels and indeed the nature and spread of the fire. The Fire Evacuation Plan should have a number of different strategies and employees/occupants should receive regular training to advise what should happen in the event fire including the various Fire Evacuation Strategies.
Fire Evacuation Training
At Chris Garland Training we have a variety of Fire Safety Courses, from Fire Marshal and Fire Warden Training to Evacuation Training. We can even write a course specific to your workplace/premises/industry. To enquire in the first instance please either email us at [email protected] call us or fill in our website contact form which is available here.