Emergency Evacuation Plans

Emergency Evacuation Plans

by Mick O'Brien

In the event of a fire, there is usually no time to stop and think of the best thing to do. One minute after the smoke alarm goes off, an entire floor of your home or office could be enveloped in smoke. Be prepared with a well planned escape route.

The information to be shown on fire escape plans should include the following:

  • A simplified floor plan.
  • All emergency exits and escape routes, horizontal and vertical.
  • The point of location of the user – “You are here”.
  • The location of stairs.
  • Any specific evacuation provisions made available for people with disabilities.
  • The location of the lifts as an architectural feature.
  • The location of fire safety and emergency equipment.
  • An overview plan, assembly points, and legend.

These plans should be located:

  • At positions where occupants can learn the means of escape.
  • At strategic points of the escape route, which can be:
    – On every floor at primary entry points.
    – Near lifts and stairs.
    – In every room, e.g. hotel rooms.
    – At appropriate training points, e.g. cafeterias, office centres, meeting places.
    – At principal junctions and intersections.

A fire escape plan should not be a simple copy of the floor plan or technical drawing as it needs to be read and understood as a safety sign. In this way, a fire escape plan complements the building’s fire safety signage and way guidance system.