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Evacuation Exercises 

Under WHS:2020 and AS3745:2010 it is a requirement for all building occupants to participate in an evacuation exercise at their sites at least once every 12 months.

Am I required to perform evacuation exercises?

In Western Australia, the following people are required to develop evacuation procedures for fire or other emergencies at their workplaces:​

  1. Employers: Employers must create evacuation procedures to ensure the safety of their employees and occupants during emergencies.

  2. Main Contractors: Main contractors overseeing construction or maintenance projects are also obligated to establish evacuation procedures.

  3. Self-Employed Persons: If you’re self-employed, you must develop evacuation plans for your workplace.

  4. Persons in Control of a Workplace: Individuals responsible for managing or overseeing a workplace must have evacuation procedures in place.

All building occupants are required to participate in one evacuation exercise at least every 12 months.​

Why is this required?

Evacuation exercises are crucial for several reasons:

  1. Familiarization: Regular drills help occupants become familiar with evacuation routes, assembly points, and emergency procedures. Familiarity reduces panic during actual emergencies.

  2. Testing Systems: Exercises test fire alarms, emergency lighting, and communication systems. Identifying faults ensures these systems function correctly when needed.

  3. Training: Evacuation drills train personnel (including wardens) on their roles, responsibilities, and communication protocols. Well-trained staff can efficiently guide others during emergencies.

  4. Risk Assessment: Exercises reveal potential bottlenecks, hazards, or obstacles in evacuation routes. Addressing these issues enhances overall safety.

  5. Compliance: Many regulations require periodic evacuation drills. Compliance ensures legal adherence and safety standards.

Remember, practicing evacuation scenarios prepares everyone to respond effectively when it matters most. 

What happened during an Evacuation Exercise?

During an evacuation exercise, participants simulate real-life emergency scenarios to enhance their preparedness and response. Here’s what typically happens:

  1. Fire Alarm Activation:

    • When the fire alarm sounds, participants must stay calm and treat it as if it were a real fire.

    • They stop their current activities and immediately respond to the alarm.

  2. Exiting the Building:

    • Participants move toward the nearest exit following prescribed evacuation routes.

    • They check doors for heat as they approach them.

    • If they are the last person in a room, they close the door (without locking it) to slow down the fire’s spread.

    • Leaving the lights on helps firefighters see better.

  3. Assessing Procedures:

What do I need to do to prepare for an Exercise?

Before conducting an evacuation exercise, here are some essential steps to prepare:

  1. Training Staff:

    • Ensure that all staff members involved in emergency planning and response receive proper training.

    • Familiarize them with their roles and responsibilities during evacuations.

  2. Review Emergency Plans:

    • Go through your written emergency evacuation plan to ensure it’s up-to-date and accurate.

    • Confirm that exit routes, assembly points, and communication procedures are clearly defined.

    • Ensure Evacuation Diagrams are up to date, correct and compliant to AS3745:2010

  3. Designate a Drill Team:

    • Assemble a team of individuals well-versed in emergency procedures.

    • These team members will guide others during the exercise.

  4. Communicate Instructions:

    • Before the drill, provide clear instructions to participants.

    • Emphasize the importance of a focused and realistic approach during the exercise.

Who can perform the assessment:

In Australia, several entities can assess emergency evacuation exercises and provide reports:

  1. Fire Safety Advisers:

  2. Emergency Services Authorities:

  3. Consultants and Trainers:

  4. Other Competent Individuals

    • Individuals who are competent in the requirement set forth in AS3745 and WHS are able to conduct realistic exercises and report on findings.​​

Remember, involving experts ensures thorough assessments and enhances safety preparedness! 

Essential Fire Services provide a wide range of AS3745 Compliant Training from Warden Training, General Occupant Training, Physical/Personal Threat, First Attack Training & Emergency Exercises. Reach out to book us for you next required training session.

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