Are you prepared for an emergency in your facility?

It doesn’t matter if you are a large or small business or a landlord of a multi-story building, you are required to be prepared if an emergency occurs on site. Emergencies are inevitable and the more prepared you and your staff are, the better the emergency is handled.

 In my experience over my years as a firefighter, I have seen first-hand the heartache and stress for business owners and staff after an emergency has occurred at their business. Many businesses do not recover from a significant emergency. I have been to incidents at fast food restaurants, schools, opportunity shops, workshops, shopping centres, timber yards and storage facilities. Yes, you might be insured but how long before the insurance is sorted out and you can operate again.

There is several requirements that you should know and understand to ensure you comply.

Emergency Evacuation Plan is required to be in place for any one operating a business. This plan should be reviewed regularly for any changes.

Documented Evacuation Drill is required to be completed every year under Australian Standard 3745. This should be completed involving all persons on site unless an exemption is given. Even if you are a small business with 1 or 2 other people working in the business, you should ensure that all staff participate.

Emergency Control Organisation (Wardens) should undertake a skills retention activity on a 6-monthly basis. There should be at least a Chief Warden trained on site depending on the size of the building and other factors there may be a requirement for more to ensure that when an emergency occurs, there is a trained person in charge to ensure the Evacuation runs smoothly. Safe recommends that Wardens undertake an annual refresher training to keep up to date with any changes and a 6-monthly table top exercise or evacuation drill to keep up to date.

Fire Equipment Training should be completed by staff every two years to ensure that if the emergency can be controlled and it is safe to do so, staff can utilise the fire equipment provided. I have witnessed multiple times that this training works as I have been contacted by previous staff that undertook the training to advise they have used it at either work or home.

General Occupancy Training. This training is not always common. Did you know that it is a requirement for all occupants working at a facility to receive training to enable them to act in accordance with the emergency response procedures? This should occur on an annual basis.

These training and evacuation requirements above are the bare minimum requirements when preparing for an emergency in your facility. Even your local fish and chip shop should have these in place to be prepared for if an emergency strikes.

Complacency is dangerous when it comes to Emergencies. “It has never happened before” or “It will never happen to me” are some terms I hear all the time. Unfortunately, emergencies can occur at any time and it can definitely happen to you.

I ask, anyone that has a business and does have concerns of this occurring to get in contact with SAFE. We are happy to work with you to give you the best possible chance of reducing the risk of an emergency occurring.

Craig Couacaud 

Compliance Expert