Why Does Your Company Need a Fire Drill Log?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the United States reports an average of 77,613 fires per year for all types of businesses. These fires killed 80 people, injured 1147, and caused almost $3 billion in property damage.
Now, you can do plenty of things to prevent fires, such as conducting regular electrical safety inspections. An automatic fire extinguishing system, such as a wet sprinkler system, helps a lot too. However, this article is about how to prepare for the worst.
In this article, the following points are explained:
Your Place of Business Is on Fire. What Do You Do?
If you haven’t prepared for this eventuality, you’re in big trouble. But if you’ve conducted regular fire drills, you can minimize the damage and loss of life. A fire drill log is a fantastic tool to help you keep track of your fire preparation efforts. You can use a fire drill log sheet to evaluate the efficiency of your fire drills and improve them over time.
Ideally, everyone should be out of the place of business in 5 to 15 minutes – regardless of the size of your offices or number of employees. A fire won’t care that you have to evacuate thousands of people, and it won’t care if you’re on the 70th floor of a high-rise building.
Fire Drills Can Help You Prepare for Anything
Look at what Rick Rescorla accomplished as director of security at Morgan Stanley on September 11, 2001. At that time, the Morgan Stanley offices were distributed over the 43rd to 74th floors of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. Since the truck bomb was found in the basement in 1993, Rescorla had been concerned about the safety of people working in that complex.
And he was proved terribly right.
At 8:48 AM, the first plane struck the North Tower. The Port Authority (owners of the buildings) told everyone to stay at their desks, but Rescorla ignored them. He started evacuating the 2700 Morgan Stanley employees.
When the second plane hit the South Tower at 9:07 AM, 19 minutes later, most of the Morgan Stanley employees were on their way out, and many were already outside of the building. All in all, Rick Rescorla saved 2694 lives that day.
And he did that through regular practice – regular fire drills. As he liked to say, “Proper prior planning and preparation prevents poor performance.” The Morgan Stanley employees complained, but he organized evacuation drills every few months.
And that’s what you should do, too. Even if you don’t work in a potential terrorist target like the World Trade Center, the risk of fire or other disaster is always present. Keeping a fire drill log book can help you maintain that proper prior planning and preparation.
What Is a Fire Drill Log For?
A fire drill log can help you check that the evacuation procedure went smoothly. It shouldn’t be too long or complicated. Your staff shouldn’t take hours to fill it out afterward. You can ask questions like this:
- Could everyone hear the fire alarm?
- Could everyone hear the public address system clearly?
- Was the fire department informed beforehand?
- Was your security staff informed of the drill?
- Were all the doors closed but not locked?
- Was a fire extinguisher placed near the “fire”?
- Did your appointed fire warden team report to their stations and perform their duties?
- Did everyone in the building (including visitors) evacuate in a calm and orderly fashion?
- Were the fire exits clear?
- Once everyone was evacuated, was a proper status report delivered?
- Were valuables, such as cash and important information/documents, properly secured?
Of course, this type of fire drill log is kept once you’ve already prepared your evacuation plan – and that starts well before the fire drill. The United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recommends assigning one fire warden for every 20 employees, and enough wardens should always be present during working hours.
Employees should be trained in all the fire safety procedures before the fire drill. A fire drill log book can be helpful here, too. If you have fire extinguishers, employees should be trained in their use. If you keep any hazardous materials in the workplace, employees should be educated about them and know what to do. This doesn’t just apply to industrial or laboratory conditions. For instance, ammonia, a typical cleaning liquid, can explode under high heat.
How Often Should You Conduct Fire Drills?
It would be best if you held fire drills as often as you needed to. If your fire drill log sheet tells you that the evacuation took too long or was disorganized, you need more practice. Practice until it’s “burned into the company’s DNA,” as Rick Rescorla liked to say. People won’t be able to think clearly during an actual emergency, so they’ll have to fall back on their training.
And it’s not enough to repeat the same old thing every time. Part of proper planning is planning for every eventuality. At the minimum, you should renew the training every time you do these things:
- Hire a new employee
- Get new equipment or materials that might affect fire safety
- Change the layout of your facility
- Change your emergency procedures
For instance, different building areas might be marked off as “on fire” or “full of smoke” to test your employees’ knowledge of emergency exits. Do they know how to feel door handles for heat before opening them? Opening doors can cause the fire to spread as it gets more oxygen. Your fire drill log form can cover different possibilities to help your employees prepare for any emergency.
Advantages of a Digital Tool for Your Fire Drill Log Book
Lumiform is a digital app for inspections and audits. With a digital app, you can easily schedule and conduct regular fire drills from a tablet or smartphone – online or offline. With the desktop version, you create checklists or download one from our extensive template library.
After each fire drill, you can use a digital checklist to check that all important points have been observed. The app guarantees you safety during your checks, as it guides you through the list point by point and points out if you have forgotten something. A clean and transparent documentation helps you perform the exercises correctly and recognize weak points at an early stage.
- Lumiform’s flexible form builder helps you turn any individual paper list into a digital one without much effort.
- We also offer pre-built templates so companies can get started digitally in no time.
- Conduct preliminary inspections on-site in a snap with the super-intuitive mobile app.
- Attach photos of potential hazards with detailed descriptions to the digital checklist.
- Securely store all fire safety data collected during inspections in the cloud.
- All findings, images, and comments are automatically bundled into a digital report for instant sharing.