The details of all fire evacuation drills, whether on a one-to-one basis, a sector basis, or a complete pub evacuation should be formally recorded in the log book within 48 hours of the drill, then dated and signed.
The possibility of a bottle-neck in the evacuation flow can usually only be noticed if the speed of escape is realistic, this would be the speed of movement of people who are attempting to escape from a serious fire which is suspected to pose an immediate threat to their safety.
There is a justifiable fear that if people are allowed to move at such a speed during a fire evacuation drill somebody may slip and become injured. If this should happen then it is certain that the accident would result in a claim for financial compensation.
To avoid such difficulties the usual recommendation is that people should move in a calm, deliberate manner during a fire evacuation drill (defining this may also be a problem: joggers, for example either as individuals or as a group, move in a calm, deliberate manner, but at a greater speed than average walking speed). The important thing is to emphasise that it does not mean that one should move at a snail’s pace.
During a fire evacuation drill it is not unusual to see people walking at speeds of approximately 2 mph in areas where walking speeds of approximately 4 mph could easily and safely be attained.
The Roll Call
It is suggested that you should take the opportunity to briefly address the evacuees as soon as the roll call is completed. In your brief address you should sketch the fire safety activities which progress parallel to the evacuation drill, e.g. calling the fire brigade, searching the premises, the first-responders ‘fire fighters’ exercise, the need for continuous fire safety vigilance, etc.
Preferably the address should take less than 3 minutes, and before concluding you should formally thank the group for their cooperation in the drill.
If the weather is inclement it is preferable to defer the drill until some later date rather than risk a drop in staff cooperation by causing them to go outside to poor weather conditions.
Lack of imagination
A common weakness on the part of the organisers is a lack of imagination during the drill. The organisers are training people to escape from a fire, and during the drill they should be thinking in terms of pressures which could arise in a real emergency.
Failure to do this could mean that, in the event of an actual fire, the organisers may be less prepared to cope with it than the general evacuee. For instance for the purposes of the drill, one could lock off or otherwise block a specific exit route to demonstrate the need for employees to know alternative means of escape should the need arise.
Top Tip – contact your local fire service who may be able to help you design suitable fire drills for your pub and if your pub fire alarm system is connected to the fire service directly, don’t forget to inform them of any fire alarm test you intend to incorporate into your fire drill.