Choosing A Fire Assembly Point
In the event of a fire making sure everyone is out of the premises safe and allow an appropriate space to headcount is one of the main reasons why fire assembly points are so important. It also allows people to calm down from the stressful procedure and for anyone who needs it an area to receive medical attention.
A fire assembly point is usually the “place of safety” which is a requirement set out in ‘The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005’.
The exit routes people are using may mean they leave the premises at different sides of the building. In order to walk around the building to meet the fire assembly point, depending on where the fire is and the environment of the premises there is the potential for it to be unsafe, therefore a second fire assembly point may be required. Depending on the layout of the building and where people are located, especially if on a large site it may be impractical to have just one fire assembly point, in which instance multiple ones may be an appropriate option. The weather may need to be taken into consideration if the assembly point is fitting, if it is a hot day with little to no shade, or a snowy and icy day it may be appropriate to have an alternative fire assembly point due to the potential for injuries or health complications.
The ideal location will need to be far enough away that there is no possibility smoke, fire, or debris that will injure the person(s) during the evacuation of the premises or whilst at the assembly point. In the event emergency services need to arrive the assembly point should not be blocking access for the emergency services to park, prepare and enter the property. The fire assembly point needs to be well signed so people know where they are going, and well lit. In the event the fire is at night people need to be confident in the direction to the assembly point and whilst waiting, especially if there are access or medical requirements that would need to be continued at the selected site. Dead ends are also not a suitable place for a fire safety point, in the event people need to be moved back there should be space to allow this.
The ideal assembly point should not be located where people have to cross a road, or in the general vicinity of traffic where accidents may occur.
In some cases, a change in the fire assembly point may be required in the instance of an event in that area, pavement works etc. Thus, a second location should be considered. It is important to remember to practice with everyone in the premises, so they are confident in the evacuation procedure, know where to go, and what to expect.
Remember the importance of fire marshals to direct people to safety.