Emergency Evacuation is the immediate, swift movement of people, away from the actual occurrence of a hazard. Emergency Evacuation Drills, also called Fire Drills, are an important part of emergency management for workplaces.
OSHA's 'Evacuation Plans and Procedures eTool' states that, "It is a good idea to hold practice evacuation drills. Evacuation drills permit employees to become familiar with the emergency procedures, their egress routes, and assembly locations, so that if an actual emergency should occur, they will respond properly. Drills should be conducted as often as necessary to keep employees prepared."
Evacuation drills can be performed in the following manner:
Announced Drill: All the building occupants are communicated in advance about the date and time of evacuation drill. The occupants have to follow the evacuation procedure once they hear the fire alarm.
Unannounced Drill: The building occupants are not informed about the evacuation drill. The occupants have to react to the fire alarm and follow the evacuation procedure. Unannounced drills give a more realistic assessment of the emergency preparedness of the building.
Evacuation Drill Objectives:
To prepare building occupants to respond to various anticipated building emergencies that may require immediate evacuation.
To assess the effectiveness of evacuation plan and procedure for the building.
To assess the effectiveness and response time of the emergency services such as Ambulance, Fire Truck, and other services teams.
To comply with the fire code regulations, which require regularly scheduled drills in most large buildings at least annually.
Evacuation Drills at KFUPM:
The EHS Department at KFUPM selects certain buildings annually, and conducts emergency evacuation drills, either announced or unannounced, in collaboration with the building in-charge. The EHS Department initiates the drill (by activating the fire alarm), observes the drill, evaluates it, and reports the findings.
Evacuation Procedure during Drills/Emergency:
In any emergency, evacuation of building is mandatory. A general procedure for evacuation of building is given below:
- Evacuate the building immediately on hearing the fire alarm. (Take every Fire Alarm seriously)
- Exit the building using nearest emergency exit route.
- Designated Emergency Coordinators in the building will help the occupants during building evacuation.
- Do not use elevators during evacuation.
- Stay in the designated assembly area outside the building and wait for further instructions.
- Emergency Coordinators will conduct the head count of occupants gathered at the assembly area.
- Do not re-enter the building until it is announced.
- Chief Emergency Coordinator or the EHS Department will inform the arriving emergency response teams about the nature of emergency.