Things to consider before the evacuation exercise

Within five minutes after the fire alarm sounds, all staff and students are supposed to have had time to evacuate the premises and be on their way out to the assembly point.

If you don’t manage to leave within 5 minutes, you should at least have reached the minimum acceptable level of safety, which is to be in the nearest safe escape stairwell on your way out to safety.

How quickly you manage to get out to a safe place is very important for the ability to save yours and others lives. The fire may, if it is intense, fill the premises with highly toxic fumes in a few minutes. An initial small fire can within 4-5 minutes develop to a deadly chaos with high temperatures (800 degrees Celsius) and contains extremely toxic smoke/gas.

The goal of the first fire drill is,

  • you will learn how the fire alarm sounds
  • we are to verify that all staff and students actually have informed themselves about fire safety and security related to premises
  • we will study the evacuation leaders function and routines in an evacuation situation
  • we check that all really evacuate to the right assembly point and stay there
  • we will pay attention to any potential gaps in the security systems or routine in the escape situation.

The following elements should be performed in preparation for the evacuation exercise

It should be absolutely clear that it is everyone's personal responsibility to inform themselves about fire security and evacuation routine and be aware of the correct way to act before a real fire incident occurs.

  • Walk around your premises and note the location of fire extinguishers and how to use them
  • Check where to find the fire blankets if you should need to rescue a colleague in distress (clothes on fire)
  • Learn where wound care and other protective equipment are placed and how to use it
  • Learn where to find your two independent escape routes out from the building
  • Locate the evacuation plan and read it carefully so you know where the assembly point is
  • Locate the manual fire alarm buttons located in the premises. If the alarm does not work at a real fire activate the alarm manually (not during exercise)
  • Inform yourself about who your evacuation leaders are and how they are dressed during evacuation (bright green-yellow color)
  • Learn to always follow evacuation leader's instructions
  • Remember: you should close windows and doors to your offices, lecture hall or lab on your way out to the assembly point, if you are sure that the room is emptied of people
  • Learn that you should always remain on the assembly point until the police, the incident commander or emergency managers acknowledge that it is safe to go back inside