How to prepare for an emergency in the charitable, religious, political and trade organisations industry

The first step is to find out what the emergency telephone numbers are for the area you are working in and to make sure that every health and safety representative has the numbers available.

The numbers should also be given to all the department and section heads and should be displayed in prominent places all over the workplace. The national emergency telephone number is 10177.

Make sure that the fire escape routes are safe. Make sure that emergency evacuation procedure plans are in place. Install an alarm system. Train the staff, especially the fire marshals.

Employers should post fire escape plans in a prominent location (notice boards, toilets and change rooms) on every level. Ensure all employees are familiar with exit locations, escape routes and fire extinguisher locations. Regular fire drills should be conducted. Post the emergency telephone numbers on or near all telephones. Make provisions for safe evacuation of employees with disabilities by appointing someone to assist them. Appoint and train a fire warden on each level of the building to ensure safe evacuation and ongoing safety programs.

Employees should know the location of all building exists. During a fire, exit signs may not be visible due to smoke or a power failure. They should also know the location of the nearest fire alarms and how to use them.

Evacuation procedures in the charitable, religious, political and trade organisations industry

Each organization must have an emergency evacuation plan. The emergency management committee’s purpose is to work out an evacuation plan for every department and/or floor of the building. The aim of an emergency plan is to prevent death or injury in emergency situations by having a plan in place. If there is a plan in place and the plan has been rehearsed regularly, the people who have to evacuate the building will not panic and cause a stampede. This is the only way to make sure that everyone can be evacuated safely.

Important notes regarding evacuation procedures in the charitable, religious, political and trade organisations industry

Emergency plans must be practiced regularly, at least every six to twelve months. New appointments/occupants must be informed and orientated about the plan.

All emergency teams must be trained. Revise or update the emergency plans regularly and definitely when changes are made to the structure of the building. The plan must give enough information so that everyone knows what they must do in an emergency, e.g. if the alarm goes off where must each group gather to wait for further instructions.

Floor wardens

All the people in the building must be evacuated through different routes, to make sure that one route does not become overcrowded. Once the floor plan for the different floors or departments has been developed, a floor warden must be appointed. In the case of an emergency the floor warden must control and coordinate all the people present on the floor, including visitors, before evacuation. He or she must make sure that everyone on the floor is accounted for, must be aware of anyone in his/her zone who is pregnant or has disabilities and must be aware of elderly people. The floor warden must appoint someone from the group beforehand to assist these people when evacuation takes place.

Fire Fighting Teams

This is a team that consists of at least three members of each zone. They must be trained in fire fighting. This team will be responsible for the initial fire fighting actions on the floor or zone. They will also be responsible for fire prevention in their zone as well as the regular inspections of fire fighting equipment and to keep inventory and inspection reports.

First Aid Team

At least three members who have been trained in first aid. They will be responsible for giving first aid in case of injuries.

Evacuation Team

People who are on the evacuation team must know the building and the evacuation plan very well. They must also be able to control people.

This team will be responsible for the evacuation of all the occupants and visitors. They will leave the building last after they have checked that all doors and windows are closed.

Once the evacuation has taken place, the evacuation team must assemble the groups of people and make sure that everyone is present and accounted for. If there were any injuries, the evacuation team must notify the necessary emergency personnel.