Under Australia’s workplace health and safety legislation, all businesses are obliged to have a plan for fire safety. The exact requirements may vary slightly according to where you are, the type of business and number of employees, but the regulations generally state that you must have certain fire safety equipment present, have an evacuation plan and practice evacuation drills.
Whilst not legally binding, The Australian Standard AS 3745 – 2010 Planning for emergencies in facilities is produced by Standards Australia and is widely accepted throughout industry as the benchmark when it comes to implementing emergency procedures and training within an organisation.
The standard is available for purchase: Australian Standards – Click Here
Training and correct equipment is required to prepare for a fire emergency. There are various companies which can offer training and supply equipment. There are lots of free resources and information at the links below.
Practicing evacuations is vitally important so that all team members know the evacuation plan. Retail has a high turnover of staff, so practise drills should be occurring frequently enough to make sure that new team members have experienced a drill rather than just read about it in an induction booklet or watched a video.
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During a fire emergency, your team should know the emergency plan for your business and be able to follow it. This will include clearing the store of customers and meeting at the evacuation point to check all team members have evacuated safely. If they are not confident or are unsure of what to do, then they need training and regular evacuation drills.
Unless someone has received training or been involved in a fire emergency, many people underestimate how quickly a small smouldering fire can turn into an uncontrollable inferno.
The videos below are useful examples of the speed of a fire and having an escape plan.
Your emergency planning should also include a strategy for what you do after a fire emergency. You will need to consider things such as
- how to deal with insurance claims
- are there any disaster recovery support mechanisms to access
- when and how do you reopen the business
- what are your obligations to your team if the business is not open for a period of time.
Having a plan to follow, may help reduce some of the stress and help the business to get back on its feet faster.
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People who were involved in the fire emergency, may be suffering from trauma and may need support. The links below may help in the recovery phase.