We’ve discussed the random nature of emergencies before, as well as the need for well formulated and practiced escape plans. Between 2011 and 2015, healthcare facility fires caused an average of two deaths, 157 injuries, and $50.4 billion in damages. If that’s in healthcare facilities alone, how much more damage is fire doing?
One hardly needs to look far to realize the devastation that fire has caused in 2018 alone. It gives a fresh perspective on revisiting fire evacuation procedures that might not have been reviewed for a while in your own buildings. Specifically, we’re going to look at fire escape considerations to make when evacuating an upper floor. We’ll never call any version of fire safer than another, but fire escape from upper floors carries different risks, dangers, and considerations than ground floor blazes. Let’s look at a few.
Locate The Fire
At first, it seems obvious and some may even think it silly, but locating a fire that’s started levels below can sometimes be difficult from upper floors. Where the fire is located will drastically change escape routes and you’d never want to be cut off by a blaze in the middle of an evacuation, nor run the risk of floor collapse and the like. Before moving toward escape routes, it’s vital to do the best you can to locate the origin of the blaze.
Another elementary fire evac rule that needs restating is that elevators are off limits. Based on you locating the fire, this could limit your routes to a few stair locations or fire escapes. Do you have handicap evacuation chairs to accommodate people with disabilities on stairways and fire escapes? Your evacuation protocol must incorporate escape chairs in the case that you have to evacuate people with disabilities. You see now why locating the fire is important to do immediately.
Smoke and heat rise. One of the largest dangers to upper floors during a fire is smoke rising. Once your escape strategy has been put together, evacuation chairs have been outfitted, and you’re ready to move, the evac has to be timely. Not rushed, nor panicked, but at a quick enough clip to outpace smoke and the associated hazards it carries with it.
Take time to review your fire evacuation strategies and be sure to reason the differences between locations during a fire emergency. Hopefully, you never have to use it, but that kind of planning stands to save lives