Portland Fire & Rescue - Fifth Edition – June 16, 2020
The purpose of this Fire Safety & Evacuation Plans Guide is to assist you, the Building Management and Tenant, in developing a Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan for your building.
Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) offers this guide, containing suggestions which will increase each tenant’s opportunity for surviving an emergency in your building, and produces a plan that complies with the provisions of applicable Codes.
The function of the Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan is to apprise each tenant of the established procedures to be implemented, should an emergency occur. The plan will explain the building’s fire & life safety features, emergency organization, and address situations such as fire, medical emergencies, earthquake, civil disturbances, power failures, water leaks, inoperable elevators and emergency evacuation.
A building’s plan should be issued to each tenant representative, Fire & Life Safety Director, and team. It is to be read thoroughly and updated as additional procedures are developed.
No manual can hope to cover all instances and events that may occur in a disaster or emergency situation. However, if the recommended materials and procedures are properly utilized, along with education and training of all employees or tenants, it will provide a basis for the decisions and actions that are necessary to minimize the loss of life and property in an emergency.
How to Use This Guide
The first section entitled “Overview,” will provide some basic guidelines, and assist small businesses and occupancies in developing an emergency operations plan.
A more detailed explanation and guide for more complicated businesses and special occupancies begins with Section 2, “Objectives of Fire Safety & Evacuation Plans Guide.”
Developing Your Own Fire & Life Safety Plan
An emergency operations plan is a well thought out plan that takes into consideration the unique features of your building and its occupants. No one plan will work for every building, but the main components are the same.
Pick Your Fire & Life Safety Team - Getting Started
Fire & Life Safety Director
Identify the person who will maintain and implement your Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan. Pick a person who has not only the knowledge, but the authority to implement the procedures outlined in the plan.
Building Response Team
Primary role is to investigate the source of an alarm or emergency and communicate their findings to the Emergency Control Center.
Recruit Floor Wardens
Floor wardens are volunteers, selected from among the building staff and tenants, whose role is to assist in the evacuation of occupants from the building, in the event of a fire alarm or emergency. Floor wardens are on the front lines of emergency response when a fire or emergency occurs. They must be familiar with the building evacuation plan and should receive training at least annually.
Recruit Assistant Monitors
Assistant monitors are volunteers, selected from building staff and tenants, that are responsible for providing assistance to those individuals on a floor that require assistance to evacuate. These include people with disabilities or individuals that are unable to use the general means of egress unassisted.
Survey Your Building Occupants
Does your building house a changing population, as in a retail store or restaurant, or will the building occupants be familiar with the facility? Note any special needs that individuals may have, such as non-English speaking or people with disabilities.
Developing a Plan
Develop a Floor Plan
Design a basic floor plan for each floor of the building. On each floor, indicate the location of all fire exits, fire extinguishers, manual pull stations and emergency equipment. Post the floor plan throughout the building. Mark “YOU ARE HERE” according to the location of the posted plan, as well as marking the two closest fire exits. Also, note that elevators must not be used as a fire exit.
Develop Written Procedures
This can be a simple flyer that you distribute to tenants or a bound document that details the roles of staff and tenants during a fire or emergency. This document should be readily available for building occupants and distributed to new staff during orientation.
Assign a Meeting Place
Choose an outside location for occupants to meet after evacuating – a minimum of a 50-foot distance from the building is required. In the event of an evacuation, the designated location is a place to meet and determine if all occupants have successfully evacuated or have been accounted for. The assembly point should be far enough away from the building to keep individuals out of the way of firefighting activities and away from falling glass and debris.
Implementing the Plan
Staff or resident meetings, new employee orientations and building newsletters are effective ways of introducing tenants to a new emergency operations plan.
- Explain the routes of evacuation and point out alarm pull stations and extinguishing equipment.
- Let them know where the predetermined meeting place is for each floor or section of the building, if evacuated.
- Explain the proper procedures for reporting a fire or emergency.
- Important: Elevators cannot be used for evacuation in a fire emergency.
The spread of fire can be very fast. It takes less than two minutes for a free-burning fire to reach temperatures over 1,000 degrees F. Controlling the fire and evacuating everyone safely depends on immediate notification of the emergency to the Fire Department, Building Security or Management Personnel.
Post all phones with the Fire Department Emergency Number. In Portland, call 9-1-1 for Fire, Police or Medical Aid. Make sure the address of the building appears on the telephone. If the Building Manager wants to be notified, the appropriate number should also be listed on or near the phone.
Building occupants should be instructed to call 9-1-1 whenever an emergency occurs. They should state:
- The nature of the emergency
- The address of the building
- The nearest cross street
- The extent of the fire or emergency and specific information, if known
- Follow the 9-1-1 Operator’s instructions
The caller should never hang up until told to do so by the Emergency Operator.
Automatic Fire Alarm Reporting
A common misconception is that building fire alarms are always monitored by the Fire Department. This is not true. Most building fire alarms are monitored by private monitoring companies. When the monitoring company receives a signal indicating an alarm has activated, they in turn notify the appropriate Fire Department Dispatch Center. Never assume that a fire alarm will automatically be reported to the local Fire Department. Always make sure that a call has been placed directly to 9-1-1 regardless of whether your building is monitored by a private monitoring service.
Fire Alarm Response Procedures
Treat every alarm as an emergency
In every instance, if an alarm sounds, all building staff and occupants should react as though it is a real emergency:
- The Fire & Life Safety Director, or responsible staff member, proceeds to the fire alarm panel. Initial evacuation begins immediately upon alarm.
- Notify the fire department by calling 9-1-1.
- If available, trained building staff members investigate to determine the location of the fire and take steps to extinguish it – if possible, and SAFELY.
- When the Fire Department arrives, the Officer in charge takes command of the scene.
- If building staff determines that the alarm is false prior to the fire department’s arrival, call 9-1-1 and relay the information to Fire Department Dispatchers.
- Building personnel may silence the alarm. However, DO NOT RESET THE ALARM!
- The Fire Department dispatcher will notify the fire companies in route to your building that a false alarm has been indicated. One fire company will continue to your building to verify that the alarm is false. All other fire department response will either slow their response or be canceled.
It is extremely important not to reset the fire alarm when you believe an alarm is false, until directed to do so by the fire department. If the alarm is reset prior to the fire department’s permission, it may be necessary for the fire department to search your building completely to verify the alarm is false.
Procedures for People Unable to Use Exit Stairs
If they can move to an exit - Assistant Monitors will assist them
- They should move to the exit stairwell, wait until all persons on the floor have evacuated and traffic in the stairwell has cleared.
- If the stairwell is free of smoke, they can enter and wait on the stairwell landing. Two Assistant Monitors should wait with them while the Floor Warden informs the arriving Fire Company of their location. Make sure the door is securely closed.
- Wait with their assistants for further instructions. The Incident Commander will send fire fighters to assist if evacuation is necessary.
- If they are waiting in the exit stairwell and the traffic builds from the evacuation of upper floors, re-enter the floor to allow others to pass and the stairwell to clear.
- If there are too many individuals to be able to wait on the landing, an area of refuge should be sought on the floor, such as an apartment or a room with a door, window and telephone. They shall use the fire survival skills to shelter in place.
- Assistants should not attempt to carry them down the stairs unless conditions in the stairwell become life threatening. If conditions deteriorate, the assistants can then perform a carry down the stairs, or use a device, such as a stair chair, to relocate to a safer area.
If Unable to Leave the Floor
If they do not have anyone to wait with them, or are unable to leave their unit, refuge should be sought on the floor. Most appropriate would be a totally enclosed room with a telephone and window.
Observe the Following Survival Rules to Shelter in Place
- Use towels or clothing to block openings around doors or vents where smoke might enter. Put a wet cloth over your mouth or nose.
- Place a signal in the window. The signal can be anything that will call attention to your location. For instance, tie the curtains in a knot.
- Another option is to open a window to wave towels, etc. to alert others below that assistance is needed.
- It is advisable not to break windows. Often smoke from the outside of the building can enter through open windows. Breaking windows will put you at great risk of smoke entering from the outside and will hamper rescue efforts below.
- If smoke or fire enters your unit, call 9-1-1 to report your location. Stay low to the floor to breathe the best air.
In a fire drill, building occupants should duplicate as closely as possible the actions they would take if a fire occurred. A log book indicating the date, time and section of the building in which the drill is conducted should be kept.
In a high-rise building, call the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) non-emergency number at 503-823-3333, and let them know that you are testing the alarms at that address. That way, if someone in the building did not get the word and calls dispatch, BOEC will know not to send a rig. The Fire Department will also know there is no real emergency. In any building, if you subscribe to an alarm monitoring company, be sure to notify them of your drill prior to sounding the alarm.
Fire drills may be pre-announced to building staff or occupants or they may be unannounced. Consideration of the building occupants and the use of the building may determine which type of drill is most appropriate.
Critique Your Drill
Check for the following:
- Designated members (if present in your facility) were notified and responded appropriately to the fire floor.
- Building occupants could clearly hear and understand the alarm and any additional instructions.
- Evacuation completed in an orderly and expedient manner.
- Floor wardens guided occupants to safety, completed floor check and reported to Building Staff or Fire & Life Safety Director upon completion of evacuation.
- Disabled persons assisted appropriately.
- Elevators not used for evacuation.
Establish a Fire Scenario
You may choose to designate a specific location for the “fire” and establish a scenario which would alter the basic fire drill procedures.
- It is best to attempt this type of drill after occupants have become familiar with their standard evacuation procedures.
- This type of drill may be more interesting to building occupants because they will need to make decisions when they encounter situations apart from the ordinary.
Ideas for Fire Scenarios
- Post signs or locate building staff inside one of the exit stairwells to inform those attempting to enter that the stairwell is blocked by smoke and they must choose a different route.
- Use a box decorated with red paper flames or a flashing red light to indicate where the drill “fire” is located. Have the staff person discovering it show you the correct procedure to follow.
Apathy or Lack of Participation in Fire Drills
You may encounter some building occupants who refuse to participate in fire drills. Problems with frequent alarms in a building may make matters even worse. Some of the following options may yield better participation.
- Your best tactic in gaining cooperation in drills is to try to explain the advantages of participating. Explain that in real fire conditions, evacuation can be considerably more complicated.
- Make the drill more interesting by using a fire scenario or checking to make sure the drill will be held at a convenient time.
- Other ideas are to provide a “reward” for participation, such as: ice cream, snacks or some other attractive motivator for those involved.
- Inform employers that liability for their employees increase if they do not allow or encourage participation in the drill. If a fire did occur, and one of their employees was injured or killed, it is possible they may be named in some legal action because of their lack of support for learning fire safety procedures.
High Rise Buildings
High rise buildings or high-risk occupancies in the City of Portland, are required to submit a detailed Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan to the Portland Fire Marshals’ Office for review. A high-rise building is classified as any building that has occupied floors 75 feet or higher above the lowest point of fire department access.
High-risk occupancies tend to have a higher than average probability of a fire or other emergency occurring because of the type or quantity of materials stored or used on site. It also refers to high-risk for injury or death in an emergency due to the type of occupants, or size and complexity of the building. Some examples may include elder care facilities, buildings with flammable liquids, older buildings that house multi-family residential occupancies. Some of which were not required to install complete coverage of fire protection systems due to the requirements at the time of construction.
The Public Education section of the Fire Prevention Division provides assistance in evacuation planning, as well as providing resources for training staff and building residents. Call the Public Education Office during business hours at 503-823-3700.
II. Objectives of Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan
Objective: To minimize the effects of an emergency by controlling hazards in occupancies and to maintain the building emergency facilities for the safety of occupants.
Objective: To establish a systematic method of safe and orderly evacuation from any area of a building, in case of fire or other emergency. To facilitate the evacuation, the following organization of key emergency personnel selected from building personnel and tenants should be established within the building. They will be called Fire & Life Safety Personnel. They shall be comprised of the following:
- Fire & Life Safety Director
- Building Response Team
- Floor Warden
- Assistance Monitor
To provide an emergency plan upon which training classes, handouts and fire drills will be based. It is intended to be utilized as a training aid, prior to an emergency, so that procedures become second nature.
III. Building Fire and Life Safety Features
General Description of the Building
- Address & Cross streets
- Safety features
- Construction & Number of stories
Fire Alarm Systems
- Smoke Detector
- Heat Detector
- Manual Pull Station
- Alarms (Notification)
- Local Only – General or Zoned
- Remote – Central Location
- Voice Paging - telephone
- Other Life Safety Systems
- Normal mode
- Emergency mode
Fire Protection Equipment
- Sprinkler Systems
- Flow and tamper switches
- Rating & activating temperature of sprinkler heads
- Tenant Fire Hose
- Fire Pump
- Fire Department Connections
- Fire Extinguishers
- Special Systems (cooking, computer/electronic equipment)
- Tempered Glass Windows
- HVAC System
- Shaft Pressurization
- Fire Doors
- Automatic Door Locks
- Automatic Closing Doors
- Exit Stairwells
Utilities and Shut offs
- Natural Gas
- Extinguisher System
Typical Floor Plans
Develop sets of floor plans for the building, showing the following:
- Location indicator: **You are here**
- Emergency Equipment Locations (fire extinguishers, hoses, etc.)
- Fire Alarm Pull Boxes
- Note: **In case of fire, DO NOT use elevators**
- Fire Escapes
- Possible Escape Routes
- Circuit Breaker Boxes
- Mechanical Shutoffs
- First Aid Supplies
- Emergency Supplies (flashlight, water, blankets, etc.)
Post copies of floor plans with the information in each elevator lobby, by stairway exits or in each tenant space as necessary. Plans should be oriented to be easily read and right-side-up.
(Example of Floor Plan link)
IV. Prevention – Protection - Control
The periodic occurrence of disastrous fires should be cause for examination of hazards by those responsible for life safety. The tremendous potential for loss of life and property from fire and earthquake makes prevention, protection and control an important part of a fire and life safety program.
A close inspection of all heating & electrical equipment, refuse disposal areas and storage areas should be carried out by department heads, at least bi-monthly. Any employee who discovers a potential fire hazard should immediately inform their supervisor and in turn, the Fire & Life Safety Director.
- Do not allow accumulation of trash or waste material that is flammable or combustible.
- Storing equipment, trash, empty boxes, and packaging material in the stairways and corridors is not permitted.
- Do not empty ash trays into waste baskets that contain paper or other combustible materials.
- Keep wastepaper baskets and recycling bins away from draperies.
- Avoid the use of space heaters without tip-over protection.
- Use only approved wiring. Power strips (UL listed) with breaker or fuse are allowed when plugged directly into a permanent outlet.
- Ensure that unsecured objects are not in the vicinity of exits so that exits will not be blocked by debris in the event of an earthquake.
- Secure bookcases, file cabinets, typewriters, computers or other heavy objects that could topple with hooks, angle brackets, Velcro, braided wire or other appropriate hardware.
- Ensure that a wrench to shut off the natural gas is near the main gas valve and the Fire & Life Safety Team is aware of its location.
- To keep items from sliding off shelving units, install guard rails made of metal on the front edge of the shelves.
- Place heavier objects and hazardous liquids on lower shelves.
- Brace light fixtures securely to ceiling joists, wherever possible.
- Where possible, apply security film to large windows to prevent glass from flying.
- Acquire an earthquake kit for each floor complete with three days supply of food and water for the anticipated number of people, first aid kit, flashlights, radio, spare batteries, blankets, sanitation supplies, and utensils.
Are you equipped with automatic sprinkler systems, heat and smoke detectors, fire doors, emergency lighting, alarms, and extinguishers meeting all federal, state and local regulations? These devices are periodically inspected to ensure the maximum safety of all employees.
In order to extinguish and control fires, all personnel must become familiar with the following information so that they know it by memory and can practice it by instinct in case of fire. We can best protect ourselves and our property if we are well informed.
- In the event a waste paper basket catches on fire and water or a fire extinguisher is unavailable, turn an empty metal basket upside down and place it over the burning fire. If handled correctly, the fire will extinguish itself from lack of oxygen.
- Know the four types of fire. They are:
- Class A – paper, wood, cloth, rubbish, etc.
- Class B – flammable liquids, gas, oil, paint, etc.
- Class C – fires in energized electrical equipment.
- Class D – Exotic flammable metals.
( attach handout on extinguishers)
- Know the location of the fire alarm pull station in your area.
- Know the location of telephones nearest your area.
- Know the location of and how to use the fire extinguishers in your area.
- Know your area and what is in it!Assign someone to meet the fire fighters when they arrive on the property.
- Send members of the Building Response Team to the fire area, if possible, to make an attempt to confine or extinguish the fire using fire extinguishers, etc. Close doors and windows in order to confine the fire to the area of origin.
ONLY ATTEMPT TO FIGHT THE FIRE IF NO ONE IS ENDANGERED AND ONLY IF THE PROPER EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE!!
- If the fire is out of control, or if the safety of occupants is threatened, the Emergency Response Team should help to immediately evacuate the area and the rest of the floors that are in full alarm, which may be the whole building, prior to leaving themselves.
- Assist disabled persons with evacuation or assist them to a “safe” area.
V. Fire & Life Safety Personnel
Owners/Managers of the building will appoint a Fire & Life Safety Director and alternate in writing, giving the Fire & Life Safety Director the responsibility with the necessary authority to supervise and maintain the Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan.
The appointed Fire & Life Safety Director should possess the character, status and administrative ability necessary to organize this service with the tact and efficiency such a position demands.
Fire & Life Safety Director and Alternate:
- Responsible for operation of building fire protection equipment.
- Maintains Fire Safety & Evacuation Plan.
- Reports to Building Emergency Control Center, in event of an alarm.
- Meets responding fire company.
- Recruits and ensures training for floor wardens, the Building Response Team and assistance monitors.
- Responsible for obtaining and issuing emergency equipment, i.e., identification vests and flashlights.
Building Response Team:
- Recruited by Fire & Life Safety Director from among staff.
- Primary role is to investigate the source of an alarm or emergency and communicate their findings to the Emergency Control Center.
- Trained in using portable fire extinguishers.
- Desirable to be CPR certified.
- Assist floor wardens in evacuating occupants.
- In the absence of the Fire & Life Safety Director and their alternate, the Building Response Team will be responsible for Fire & Life Safety.
- Primary role is to assist occupants in evacuating the building in an emergency.
- Recruited by Fire & Life Safety Director from among staff and tenants.
- Training provided on a regular, on-going basis.
- Recruits assistance monitors.
- Responsible for providing assistance to those individuals on a floor that require assistance to evacuate. These include people with disabilities or who have medical conditions.
- Reports directly to the floor warden.
Lobby Control Personnel:
- Responsible for recalling the elevators to ground level.
- Keeps lobby area clear of evacuating occupants and bystanders.
- Reports directly to Fire & Life Safety Director.
Exit Control Personnel
- Responsible for ensuring that the ground level exits to the exterior of the building are clear of obstructions and that evacuating personnel are directed to the assembly area.
- Reports directly to Fire & Life Safety Director.
*Note: Always follow OSHA Rules and Regulations concerning procedures and training.
(Add Organizational Chart During Emergency Conditions)
VI. Emergency Procedures for Building Fire & Life Safety Personnel
Fire & Life Safety Personnel function under the direction of the Fire & Life Safety Director or alternate during an emergency until the fire department arrives and takes charge.
The Front Desk Reception area, fire alarm panel or other designated area will function as the Emergency Control Center (ECC). The front desk receptionist or designated person will be the central person in the exchange of information regarding an emergency.
When an Alarm Sounds
The ECC may become aware of a fire or emergency by the sound of the fire alarm, verbal report from employees or tenants in person or by phone. During an alarm or emergency, all other business should STOP.
When Report of a Fire of Emergency is Received
Obtain the following information:
- Name of person reporting the emergency
- Location of the fire or emergency
- Current extent of the fire or emergency
The ECC will immediately notify, by phone or other routes of communication, all Fire & Life Safety personnel that an alarm has sounded, or an emergency has been reported. The ECC will call 9-1-1 to confirm the alarm or emergency has been reported.
The Fire & Life Safety Director
Reports to the ECC to assume command and coordinate possible evacuation or responds to the fire alarm or emergency to investigate.
Building Response Team
Proceed to the floor of alarm activation via the stairwells and verify that a fire condition or other emergency does indeed exist. Communicate with the ECC and give details of their findings. If fire control is not possible, close doors and assist with evacuation.
The ECC will be receiving calls for assistance and information from employees and the building response team. Most importantly – REMAIN CALM! Handle each call as time allows. REMEMBER theECC’s first responsibility is to assist the Fire & Life Safety Director and Building Response Team to confirm that a fire or emergency condition exists.
- Upon hearing the alarm, put on the floor warden identification and pick up your signal flashlight issued by Building Management.
- Begin evacuation to the stairwells upon hearing the alarm.
- ECC will notify occupants via voice speaker to stand-by at the stairwells or to evacuate.
- If no instructions from ECC are given or ECC instructs occupants to evacuate, coordinate an orderly evacuation of all employees or tenants from your floor using designated stairwells and exit routes.
- Ensure that everyone leaves the floor, check bathrooms and close hallway doors, but leave them unlocked.
- Assistant Monitors will assist anyone with disabilities requiring special assistance.
- Caution occupants when evacuating not to re-enter onto a floor where the alarm is sounding.
- Report to the ECC that your floor has been evacuated.
- Report to your designated meeting place to determine if all occupants have successfully evacuated or have been accounted for.
- Report directly to their physically impaired companion.
Evacuating Instructions for People with Disabilities
- For the purpose of this guide “Physically Impaired” refers to anyone who, in an emergency situation, cannot leave their work place quickly and easily due to permanent or temporary physical limitations.
- All persons in the building requiring assistance for evacuation will be listed on a special roster. It will include the floor, room, type of disability and the names of the two assistance monitors assigned to them. The Fire & Life Safety Director will keep this list current and post copies in the ECC.
- Pre-determined safe areas will also be listed on this special roster.
- At least two capable people will be assigned to each person with physical limitations by the Floor Warden. They must be trained, and able to utilize an evacuation device, such as a stair chair, etc. One of them should be strong enough to carry the physically impaired person, but only if necessary, and only if the conditions deteriorate, requiring evacuation to occur.
- Floor wardens will supply the Fire & Life Safety Director with any updates on employee status. A current list of persons with disabilities, including those employees or tenants who may be temporarily physically impaired, shall be maintained.
- All assigned assistant monitors will accompany their physically impaired companions to a “safe” area and remain together until any danger has passed.
- A SAFE AREA is an enclosed stairwell landing or designated area of refuge.
- An AREA OF REFUGE is an enclosed room with a door, window and preferably a telephone.
- Leave all wheelchairs and crutches.
- The assistant monitors will help the physically impaired individual to the stairwell and, if necessary, use a stair chair or something similar, or carry the person down the stairs to the designated safe area. NOTE: Carrying physically impaired persons down the stairs should be used ONLY when conditions in the stairwells become life threatening and there are no other options.
- At no time will the physically impaired person be left alone. If the person requires additional help, only one companion will go for help while the other remains.
- All wheelchairs, crutches and other equipment will be retrieved as soon as possible.
NOTE: During fire alarms, select refuge areas located four floors below the last floor in alarm, one that is not ringing or is safe. If the building must be evacuated completely, use the exit stairwells. Once on the ground floor, exit out to the designated safe area, located 50 feet away from the building.
If the building response team investigates the building and determines that the alarm is false prior to the fire department’s arrival, the ECC will call 9-1-1 and indicate that the alarm is believed to be false.
The Fire & Life Safety Director may silence the alarm, but DO NOT RESET THE ALARM. Fire Department personnel will give permission to reset the alarm system, so employees can return to work.
The dispatcher will notify the fire companies in route to your building that a false alarm has been indicated. One fire company will continue to your building to verify that the alarm is false. All other fire department responders will be placed on standby or canceled.
It is extremely important not to reset the fire alarm when you believe an alarm is false until directed to do so by the Fire Department. If this occurs, it may be necessary for the fire department to conduct a complete search of the building to verify the alarm is false.
When fire protection systems, such as the alarm or sprinkler system, is inoperative or indicating a “trouble” condition, a fire watch may be required by the Fire Department. It will be implemented until the system has been restored, or the dangerous condition has been eliminated. (Attach – FIR 1.04 - Fire Watch Policy)
Fire or Emergency Verified
The Building Response Team investigates the building and determines there is a fire or emergency and evacuation is necessary. If not already initiated, the Fire & Life Safety Director will initiate a general or zoned evacuation.
The Fire & Life Safety Director or designated representative should meet the first responding fire company with an emergency information packet, i.e., hazardous materials information and disabled persons information. They will standby with the fire department and assist them until they are no longer needed.
If Stairwells are Inaccessible
- Calmly ask all the people to remain in their suites.
- Communicate with ECC, and advise them of your situation, indicating your floor number if you are in immediate danger and anything else that may assist the fire department to affect a rescue. If you are unable to contact ECC, call 9-1-1 and follow the Emergency Operator’s directions.
- Instruct employees or tenants to make their suites as smoke proof as possible by taking cloth, paper or strips of clothing, etc., and wedging them into the cracks around the doors and wherever else smoke may enter the room.
- Standby for rescue by the Fire Department, or until the danger has been contained.
Earthquakes and Other Emergency Situations
During the shaking, protect yourself by taking cover under a table, desk or crouch against an interior wall, and hang on. Duck – Cover – and Hold! Do not run outside!
- Fire & Life Safety Director: Report to ECC. Using the building emergency speaker system, mobilize floor wardens to carefully and systematically search their areas to locate injured personnel, inspect for damage and possibility of further damage or potential dangers.
- Floor Wardens: After searching areas and reporting back to ECC, prepare floor for possible evacuation.
- Building Response Team: Respond to utility areas and check for utility leaks, breaks or electrical short circuits and report findings to ECC.
- Assess immediate damage.
- Tend to the injured. Carefully move any injured people to a designated safe area.
- Call “911” only if the situation is critical. The emergency exists everywhere, so do what you can.
After the Earthquake
- Use extreme caution in entering building or work areas.
- Don’t use cell phones, computers, touch any electrical outlets, including light switches and doorbells until you’re informed it’s all clear and safe.
- Don’t use lanterns, torches, lighted cigarettes or any open flames until you are advised that there are no gas leaks and it is safe to do so.
- Stay away from fallen/damaged electrical wires or open windows.
- If there is a fire or power outage, see the “Fire” and “Power Failure” sections of this guide.
- Check to be sure there are no persons stuck in the elevators.
- Do not pass on rumors or exaggerated reports of damage.
- If communication lines have been severed inside or outside the building, do not leave your area. If at all possible, the Fire & Life Safety team will search each floor and instruct when evacuation is possible.
- After the quake, assess any damage and call “911” only if necessary.
- Begin clean-up if necessary.
- Inspect building for any structural damage.
- Restore building systems to normal.
- Return to work.
Call 9-1-1 and then call Building Management to let the Building Response Team know of the medical emergency. Employees will assist with first aid if qualified. The building staff will meet rescue units and assist in showing them the way to the location of the emergency. When you call, give the following information:
- Your name and phone number.
- Building name, address and suite number.
- Location of victim.
- Victims chief complaint
- Information concerning the victim, i.e., medical alert tag.
Follow the operator’s directions. After reporting the emergency, go to the elevator lobby to direct building staff and emergency personnel to the location of the person within your suite.
In the event of an internal power failure, the building will be equipped with emergency power, which will restore specific fixtures in offices and corridors. Certain stairwells and exit lights will be lit. If you must leave the floor, please do so using the stairwells.
NOTE: In the event you are in an elevator at the time of a power failure, do not use the emergency stop button, as the emergency power may operate the elevator.
The Fire & Life Safety Director shall determine if and when it is necessary to evacuate the building during a power failure. If power is not restored to the building with 45 minutes, the Fire & Life Safety Director should commence evacuation of the building, giving the announcement over the public address system. Occupants should be instructed to proceed down stairwells and out of the building to their designated meeting locations. Evacuation should be handled as a fire drill, four floors at a time.
During the process of evacuation, and once the building has been evacuated, no one will be allowed entry into the building and onto their floors to assure that 100% evacuation has occurred. Re-entry into the building will not be allowed unless power is restored.
Floor wardens shall start at the top of the building and work downward, checking all floors to assure evacuation is complete.
Water Leaks and Floods
Upon discovery of a water problem, immediately notify the Building Management Office. Building Maintenance and clean-up personnel will be dispatched immediately to begin repair and clean-up. If water problems occur within the main electrical distribution room or the transformer vault, immediately call the servicing electrical company. The Fire Department may be able to assist, please call 9-1-1.
At no time are you in danger when an elevator is temporarily out of service. Elevators are equipped with mechanical safety brakes. These brakes will operate in all situations and require no power to operate.
If you find yourself trapped in a stuck elevator:
- Be sure that you have selected a floor to go to.
- Press the door open button on each side of the operating panel. If the doors open, exit the elevator and note which one it is. Notify a member of the building staff.
- Pull out the red stop button on each side of the operating panel.
- Use the emergency phone to call for help.
- At no time should you attempt to climb out of the elevator. Wait for help.
- If you know of a stuck elevator in the building, call the building management office and report the floor and approximate location of the elevator. Try to stay in voice contact with the stuck person until assistance arrives.
Riots or civil commotion will generally offer little danger to occupants of the building. Other than instructing employees to stay clear of the exterior walls, no action should be taken unless directed by the Police Department to leave the building. Occupants should not be allowed to go to the lobby floor unless cleared by the Police.
If you know of a possible civil disturbance, such as demonstrations or a riot taking place in front of your building, remain in your area, close the window covering and stay away from the windows.
If evacuation is necessary, proceed as directed by the Police.
All the exterior doors to the building will be locked during the disturbance and, if necessary, the elevators may be taken out of service for the period of time that a threat to the safety of the building is evident.
If the building elevators are removed from automatic service and placed under the manual control of the Police, they will not respond to the elevator lobby call buttons. If it is necessary to move from the floor that you are on, use the stairway.
If you receive a bomb threat:
- Call 9-1-1 and request assistance for a bomb threat emergency.
- Call security or building management.
The person receiving the call should remain calm, keeping the caller talking and get as much information as possible:
- When will it explode?
- Where is the bomb now?
- What kind of bomb is it?
- What does it look like?
- Why are you doing this?
As you are talking, try to analyze the caller’s voice:
- Male or female?
- Approximate age?
- Any accents?
- Identifiable speech patterns?
During business hours:
- Building Fire/Life Safety Director will proceed to ECC to take charge.
- Decision to evacuate building will be by Police direction or Building Fire & Life Safety Director’s discretion.
- Building Response Team will check common areas and evacuation routes: stairways, floor lobbies, loading dock area.
- Floor Wardens and alternates will organize a search of their tenant space and floor, including lobbies and restrooms and report to the ECC when the search is complete.
- Look for something that doesn’t belong - a package, briefcase, paper sack, box, etc.
- Most explosives used in bombings are commercial dynamite and/or black powder. It is usually found in cylinders about one inch in diameter and eight inches long, covered with heavy paper. Black powder is usually encased in a section of pipe.
- If a suspicious object is found: DO NOT TOUCH IT!
- Notify ECC and be prepared to direct the Police Bomb Squad to its location.Evacuate the area immediately.
- Leave all doors open when evacuating.
NOTE: Do not route evacuating personnel by or near a suspected explosive device. Keep all persons away from glass window, doors, display cases, etc.
Bomb Threat Information
Three reasons for a bomb threat:
- Disturbed person (revenge, extortion, political reasons)
- Disgruntled employee
- Radical group
NOTE: It is important for the person receiving a bomb threat over the telephone to accurately record the information listed on the threatening phone call checklist (APPENDIX E).
A trained tenant team is the most qualified to search their own area for a bomb.
Ninety-nine percent (99%) of all bomb threats are exactly that – a threat. Most of the time:
- Callers will not want to stay on the telephone.
- Details about the bomb will be shallow or sketchy.
- The caller’s intent is to disrupt business or service.
The one percent (1%) of bomb threats that are real will be clear and concise about their call.
Most of the time:
- Callers will be very specific about location, size, motives, time of detonation, etc.
- They will not be as concerned about having a phone call traced.
- They do not necessarily want to see people hurt.
- “Possible” armed intruder. On notification of possible armed intruder:
- Obtain as much information as possible from reporting agency.
- Immediately call 9-1-1 and request Police assistance.
- Contact security supervisor.
- Contact Building Fire & Life Safety Director.
- Fill out “Armed Intruder Check List” in the Appendix section of this guide.
- Stand by for updates.
- During business hours:
- Building Fire & Life Director will proceed to ECC to take charge.
- “Verified” armed intruder:
- Have public address announcement to all floors:
- “May I have your attention, please. There is an armed intruder inside the building. The police are on the way.”
- “Immediately lock yourself inside the nearest office and stay there until the “All Clear” is declared over the public address system.”
- “Do not use stairwells.”
- “Stay inside a locked office.”
- “Remain calm and quiet.”
- Repeat announcement.
- Have public address announcement to all floors:
- Respond to phone calls from within the building: “I’m sorry, we are currently working with an emergency situation. Please listen to the PA system for updated announcements.”
- Respond to phone calls from outside the building: “I’m sorry, we are currently unable to respond to your request. Please try back again.”
- Make public address announcement: “Attention, please. Please remain calm and quiet in your secure location. We will keep you informed.”
- Stand by for instructions from the police.
How to Handle Anthrax and Other Biological Agent Threats
The tragic events that occurred in the United States on 11 September 2001 and with the intentional release of Bacillus anthracis spores (Anthrax) in some environments, has spurred fear and anxiety throughout the world.
Following the attacks in September of 2001, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news media offices and some US Senators around the country. Most were empty envelopes; some contained powdery substances. The purpose of these guidelines is to recommend procedures for handling such incidents.
Do Not Panic
- Anthrax organisms can cause infection in the skin, gastrointestinal system or lungs. To do so, the organism must be rubbed into abraded skin, swallowed or inhaled as a fine, aerosolized mist.
- Disease can be prevented after exposure to the anthrax spores by early treatment with the appropriate antibiotics. Anthrax is not spread from one person to another person.
- For anthrax to be effective as a covert agent, it must be aerosolized into very small particles. This is difficult to do and requires a great deal of technical skill and special equipment. If these small particles are inhaled, life-threatening lung infection can occur, but prompt recognition and treatment are effective.
Suspicious Unopened Letter or Package Marked with Threatening Message – Such as “Anthrax”
- Do not shake or empty the contents of any suspicious envelope or package.
- Placethe envelope or package in a plastic bag or some other type of container to prevent leakage of contents.
- If you do not have any container, then cover the envelope with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove this cover.
- Then, LEAVE the room and CLOSE the door or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
- WASH your hands with soap and waterto prevent spreading any powder to your face.
- What to do next….
- If you are home, report the incident to local police.
- If you are at work, report the incident to local police and notify your building security official or an available supervisor.
- List all people who were in the room or area when this suspicious letter or package was recognized. Give this list to both the local public health authorities and law enforcement officials for follow-up investigations and advice.
Envelope with Powder and Powder Spills Out onto Surface
- DO NOT try to clean up the powder. Coverthe spilled contents immediately with anything (e.g., clothing, paper, trash can, etc.) and do not remove the cover.
- Then leave the room and CLOSE the door or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e., keep others away).
- WASH your hands with soap and water to prevent spreading any powder to your face.
- What to do next….
- If you are HOME, report the incident to local police.
- If you are at WORK, report the incident to local police and notify your building security official or an available supervisor.
- REMOVE heavily contaminated clothing as soon as possible and place in a plastic bag or some other container. Place these items in a plastic bag or some other container that can be sealed. This clothing bag should be given to the emergency responders for proper handling.
- SHOWER with soap and water as soon as possible. DO NOT USE bleach or other disinfectant on your skin.
- If possible, list all people who were in the room or area, especially those who had actual contact with the powder. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.
Possible Room Contamination by Aerosolization:
For example: small device triggered, warning that air handling system is contaminated or warning that a biological agent is released in a public space.
- Turn off local fans or ventilation units in the area.
- LEAVE area immediately.
- CLOSE the door or section off the area to prevent others from entering (i.e. keep others away).
- What to do next….
- If you are HOME, dial 9-1-1 to report the incident to local police and the local FBI field office.
- If you are at WORK, dial 9-1-1 to report the incident to local police and the local FBI field office and notify your building security official or an available supervisor.
- SHUT down air handling system in the building, if possible.
- If possible, list all people who were in the room or area. Give this list to both the local public health authorities so that proper instructions can be given for medical follow-up and to law enforcement officials for further investigation.
How to Identify Suspicious Packages and Letters:
Some characteristics of suspicious packages and letters to include the following:
- Excessive postage
- Handwritten or poorly typed addresses
- Incorrect titles
- Title, but no name
- Misspellings of common words
- Oily stains, discolorations or odor
- No return address
- Excessive weight lopsided or uneven envelope
- Protruding wires or aluminum foil
- Excessive security material, such as masking tape, string, etc.
- Visual distractions
- Ticking sound
- Marked with restrictive endorsements, such as “Personal” or “Confidential”.
VII. Emergency Instructions to Tenants/Occupants
- Always assume an alarm is real.
- Participate in all drills and training.
- Know at least two safe exit routes.
If You Discover a Fire:
- Get people out of the area.
- Close the door to room or area to confine the spread of the fire.
- Activate the fire alarm pull station.
- Call 9-1-1 and inform them of a fire condition from a safe location.
- Vacate the floor via the exit stairwells. DO NOT USE THE ELEVATORS.
- Listen and follow directions from the floor wardens, building staff, or Fire Department.
At the Sound of a Fire Alarm:
- Follow the instructions of the floor warden. If no floor warden is present, and no instructions have been heard, proceed to the nearest exit and evacuate down the stairwells.
- Walk. Do not run. Shut all doors behind you, but do not lock them, and proceed along the corridors and down stairways in a quiet, orderly manner. Do not push or jostle.
- If you encounter heavy smoke, keep low (crawl). Use the wall to guide you to the nearest exit. If smoke is heavily concentrated in the exit, do not attempt to exit by that means of egress. Proceed to an alternate exit.
- When you have reached the outside of the building, move away from the doorway to allow others behind you to emerge from the exit.
- *Important: Do not go back into the building for any reason until the Fire Department has given permission to do so.
If you are in an enclosed room when an alarm has sounded, first feel the door.
If the door is warm:
- Do not open the door.
- Call 9-1-1, and/or building management office, notifying them of your exact location.
- Place a cloth along the bottom of the door to keep out smoke. Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire or smoke.
- Stay calm and wait to be rescued – you will be found.
- Do not break the window.
If the door is cool:
- Open cautiously. Be prepared to close it, if there is excessive smoke.
- Proceed to exit, stay low and keep eyes closed as much as possible, if smoke is present.
Evacuation of the Physically Impaired; Choice Not To Evacuate
Planning Evacuation for Physically Impaired Persons
- For the purpose of this guide “physically impaired” refers to anyone, who in an emergency situation cannot leave their work place quickly and easily, due to permanent or temporary physical limitations.
- All persons in the building requiring assistance for evacuation will be listed on a special roster. It will include the floor, room, type of disability, and the names of the two assistance monitors assigned to them. The Fire/Life Safety Director will keep this list current and post copies in the ECC.
- At least two capable people will be assigned to each physically impaired person by the Floor Warden. One of these must be strong enough to carry the physically impaired person, if necessary, or they must be trained, and able to utilize an evacuation device, such as a stair chair, etc.
- Floor Wardens will supply the Fire/Life Safety Director and maintain a current list of physically impaired persons including those employees or tenants who may be temporary physically impaired.
1. All assigned assistance monitors will accompany their physically impaired companions to a “safe area” and remain together until any danger is passed. A safe area is an enclosed stairwell landing, or designated area of refuge. An area of refuge is a designated enclosed room within the building specially designed to hold people safely during an emergency. The room has a door, protected ventilation, emergency lighting, and either a two-way communication system or a telephone.
2. Leave all wheelchairs and crutches.
3. The assistance monitors will help the physically impaired individual to the stairwell and, if necessary, may utilize an evacuation device, such as a stair chair, or carry them down the stairs to the designated safe area.
*NOTE: Carrying physically impaired persons down the stairs should be done ONLY when conditions in the stairwells become life threatening, and no other options are available.
4. At no time will the physically impaired person be left alone. If the person requires additional help, only one companion will go for help while the other remains.
5. All wheelchairs, crutches, and other equipment will be retrieved as soon as possible.
*NOTE: During fire alarms, refuge areas will be four floors down from the last floor in alarm. If the building must be evacuated completely, use the exit stairwells. Once on the ground floor, exit out to a safe area away from the building.
Caution: If you choose not to evacuate -
Observe the following survival rules and protect yourself inside your apartment/office.
- Use towels or clothing to block openings around doors or vents where smoke might enter. Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire or smoke.
- If smoke or fire enters your unit, call 9-1-1 to report your location, or place a signal in the window. The signal can be anything that will call attention to your location. For instance, tie the curtains in a knot.
- Another option is to open a window to wave towels, etc. to alert others below that you need assistance.
- It is advisable not to open or break windows – often smoke from the outside of the building can enter through the open windows. Breaking windows will put you at greater risk of smoke entering from the outside and will hamper rescue efforts below.
- If smoke enters the room, put a wet cloth over your mouth and nose, and stay low to the floor to breathe the best air.
In the Event of an Earthquake
- Take immediate cover under tables or desks, or crouch against an interior wall, and hang on. DUCK – COVER – and HOLD! Do not stand in a doorway, because you become a silhouette for shrapnel. Keep away from windows to avoid flying glass. Do not stand under light fixtures, or near objects that could fall on you.
- Do not leave cover until the shaking completely stops.
- After a major earthquake, evacuate the building if so directed by floor wardens, or if a dangerous condition exists, such as a fire. Remember, additional shocks or tremors may occur.
- Keep calm. DO NOT RUN OUTDOORS – watch for falling debris or electrical wires when leaving the building.
- Proceed to the designated assembly area if it is safe to do so.
- If you are disabled or non-ambulatory, remain where you are and wait for your assigned assistance monitor.
- If fire occurs, activate the nearest fire alarm pull station (as the system may still be functional) and follow procedures outlined in the previous “If you discover a fire” section.
- If qualified, render first-aid. If not qualified, assist those rendering first-aid.
- Report any missing persons to floor wardens, as they will relay information to the Fire Department.
- Telephones are to be reserved for emergency use only.
VIII. Post Fire Operations
- The Fire & Life Safety Team will be responsible to help the injured, treat superficial wounds, and await help from the Fire Department.
- The Fire & Life Safety Director will direct the in-house staff and contact any outside contractors to assist the Fire Department.
- They shall cordon off the area to prevent any further damage to the building and to restrict entry to unauthorized personnel.
- The Chief Engineer will return the Fire & Life Safety system back to normal operation.
Clean-up: Once the scene is released by the Fire Department:
- Clean-up crews will cooperate with property management and the tenant to determine the extent of the damage and what will be salvaged or discarded.
- The property manager will inspect and photograph the tenant spaces surrounding the fire damaged area and do whatever is necessary to prevent further property damage.
- Carry all debris out of the building in covered metal containers and put in a metal “dumpster.”
- Remove all standing water with mops, sponges, vacuums and buckets.
- Thoroughly check the condition of all electrical panels serving the involved space.
- Switch off any “tripped” circuits until checked for safety by a qualified electrician.
- Provide temporary electric lighting as needed.
- Stop all water by turning off sprinklers or domestic sources as required.
- Visually inspect the ceilings, ductwork, fans and HVAC systems in the affected area.
- Provide temporary heaters for drying carpets and walls as required
Contractors – Post Fire Operations Contractor Contacts (located at end of this document)
VIIII. Responsibility Assignments
Emergency Training Program
- The Fire & Life Safety Director will conduct yearly fire, life safety, and emergency procedure training, including:
- Fire reporting
- Fire alarm system operation
- Fire Department procedures
- Fire & Life Safety Training will be provided for:
- Property management staff
- Building response team: (Engineers, security, and maintenance staff)
- Floor wardens
- All training will be documented and kept with fire drill reports.
- Fire Drills: The Fire & Life Safety Director will coordinate fire drills at frequent intervals to familiarize employees or tenants in the building with proper evacuation procedures.
- Know the established procedures detailed in the Emergency Procedures Guide and disseminate emergency information to all its employees.
- Provide floor wardens as requested by the Fire & Life Safety Director.
- Release floor wardens from daily responsibilities to participate in emergency training sessions.
- Provide Fire/Life safety equipment and emergency supplies.
- Know escape routes and begin evacuation immediately at the sound of alarm.
- Follow floor warden or emergency evacuation procedures in the event of an emergency.
Plan Update Procedure
- Review floor plans and tenant areas quarterly.
- Incorporate any changes.
- Insert updated floor plans or material into the guide.
- Review and Revise Quarterly
- Equipment inventory.
- Evaluation and communication procedures.
- Forward any revisions to the Fire & Life Safety Director and ECC.
X. Guidelines for an Effective Drill
An effective fire drill requires one essential ingredient for success: Preplanning - Strategies and plans need to be made prior to the fire drill to ensure a smooth drill of fire emergency procedures.
Leaders need to be chosen from among the building occupants. In a high-rise building, individuals must be selected to fill the job of Fire & Life Safety Director, Floor Wardens, and Building Response Team(s).
The Fire & Life Safety Director oversees the fire safety practices and equipment for the entire building.
Floor Wardens are assigned the primary responsibility of evacuating building occupants. They also should attempt to close doors throughout the floor to which they are assigned. This will prevent the spread of smoke and fire. It is recommended that a minimum of two floor wardens are selected for each floor; a primary warden and an alternate. If your building is not a high-rise, it is still recommended to assign certain individuals as “floor wardens.”
High-rise and low-rise building floor wardens are given the responsibility to make sure their co-workers safely evacuate the building. The persons assigned these positions must have management’s full support and cooperation. They should have authority and this authority should be clearly defined and understood by their associates. No one should be allowed to remain at their work station, for any reason, when a floor warden sounds the alarm to evacuate.
The responsibility of floor warden is not always popular among building occupants. To encourage participation in this position, try and acknowledge the contribution these individuals are making to their co-worker’s safety. Acknowledgement can take the form of special privileges, mention in the Company newsletter or another form of recognition.
Building Response Team
The Building Response Team is responsible for investigating the alarm or emergency call to determine if it is real or false.
Select a Meeting Place
The only way to be certain all building occupants have evacuated the building is to choose a safe assembly point outside the building where it can be determined if all occupants have successfully evacuated or have been accounted for. If your building has several floors, you may need to decide on more than one meeting place. All occupants should know the designated locations and remain there until otherwise directed.
The location should be safe from the fire threat and is required to be a minimum of 50 feet away from the building. The location should not hamper firefighting activities or block incoming aid to the building.
If your building is a high rise, it may not be necessary or desirable to have all building occupants leave. The exact evacuation plan is determined by the specific type of fire alarm system that has been installed in your building.
- A general alarm, in which the fire alarm sounds on all floors at once, requires the entire building to be evacuated.
- A zoned alarm, which sounds on the fire floor, and the floors located above and below the vicinity of the fire, requires that only those floors in which the alarm is sounding be initially evacuated.
Modern buildings are constructed to ensure that occupants can safely sit out a small fire burning several floors below. In addition, opening all stairwell doors to evacuate occupants can allow large quantities of smoke to travel up the stairwells, which can be deadly. Your Fire & Life Safety Director can provide you with more information regarding your evacuation plan.
Floor Warden Training
Floor Wardens should receive special training in building evacuation and fire protection equipment. They should know the exit pathways (excluding the elevator), understand the alarm system, and any unique fire safety features of the building. It is helpful to give floor wardens a brief session on building smoke detectors, the fire alarm system, public address system, sprinklers, central alarm monitoring, and fire extinguishing equipment. If floor wardens are provided a little understanding of the overall fire protection picture, they can more effectively perform their part in a fire emergency.
Announced vs. Unannounced
Fire drills may be pre-announced to building staff or occupants, or they may be unannounced. Consideration of the building occupants and the use of the building may determine which type of drill is most appropriate. It may be appropriate to conduct an unannounced drill for only certain portions of the building.
Use a flashing colored ball, red lighting, or a piece of red paper to symbolize a fire and start the drill. Notify floor wardens and occupants that they should treat this fire symbol as if it was a real fire.
After occupants become familiar with a standard fire drill, you may wish to prepare occupants for more realistic fire conditions. Establish a fire scenario which would alter basic evacuation procedures. For instance, post signs in one exit stairwell to indicate it is blocked by smoke or flame. Use a box covered with paper flames to simulate that a corridor is blocked by fire and an alternate exit must be used.
Making the drill more interesting by using a fire scenario or checking to make sure the drill will be held at a convenient time, may yield better participation as well. Some companies in Portland try to make the drill more pleasant by providing a reward for participating, such as ice cream on a hot summer day, or snacks/candy to occupants once the drill has been completed. The occupants find the reward a nice surprise and gives them motivation to participate in future drills, instead of viewing it as an inconvenience because of the interruption caused by the drill.
Fire Drill Critique
The Fire & Life Safety Director and Floor Wardens should go through a verbal and written critique after each fire drill. Points which should be covered: not hearing the alarm, fire equipment blocked or unusable, exits and hallways blocked, operations hindered, duties not understood or carried out, and the amount of time used to complete the evacuation. This critique should follow the drill as soon as possible. Group discussions at the employee/occupant level should also be encouraged. A written critique form is available in this section.
Tips for Conducting a Successful Fire Drill:
Notify Fire Department and Alarm Monitoring Companies
In a high-rise building, call the Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) non-emergency number at 503-823-3333, and let them know that you are testing the alarms at that address. That way, if someone in the building did not get the word and calls dispatch, BOEC will know not to send a rig. The Fire Department will also know there is no real emergency. In any building, if you subscribe to an alarm monitoring company, be sure to notify them of your drill prior to sounding the alarm.
Sound the Alarm
Activate the fire alarm. If your building does not have a fire alarm another system should be established. Occupants can be notified by telephone or intercom.
Floor wardens should begin their floor evacuation as soon as the alarm is sounded. Wardens should direct occupants away from the elevators and toward the stairwells. Occupants should be reminded of their meeting place outside.
Provide Assistance to the Physically Impaired
Each physically impaired individual should be assigned two assistance monitors before the fire drill. Physically impaired persons should be accompanied to the inside of the stairwell, unless the area is threatened by smoke or fire. If necessary, they may utilize an evacuation device, such as a stair chair, or carry them down the stairs to the designated safe area. The assistance monitors should be trained on how to evacuate them safety without increasing the danger to the individual.
NOTE: Carrying physically impaired persons down the stairs should be done ONLY when conditions in the stairwells become life threatening, and no other options are available.
Evacuation drills should be regularly practiced by everyone involved. It solidifies everyone’s understanding of the plan, assists others in recognizing the person who may need assistance in an emergency, and brings to light any weaknesses in the plan.
Confirm a Successful Evacuation
Once occupants have assembled at the designated meeting place it can be determined if all occupants have successfully evacuated or have been accounted for.
In a real fire emergency, occupants should not be allowed to re-enter the building until an “all clear” signal is given. This signal should be practiced during the fire drill before occupants are allowed back in the building.
A fire drill critique (attached) should be filled out and evaluated immediately following the fire drill.
Additional forms listed below are also available for reference and use.
Appendix A - Fire & Life Safety Roster
Appendix B - Incident Record Form
Appendix C - Physically Impaired Individuals Roster
Appendix D - Sample Emergency Messages
Appendix E – Threatening Phone Call Checklist
Appendix F - Building Fire Drill Report Form
Appendix G - Armed Intruder Identification Checklist
Building Owner and Property Management Contact Number
Floor Wardens and Alternates Roster
F&LSP Evacuation Map Example
Post Fire Operations Contractor Contacts
PF&R’s Public Education Office can assist with questions regarding fire drill procedures. Our office can also assistance with floor warden training, educating tenants on fire safety, observing fire drills and conducting a review of your Fire & Life Safety Plan. Contact the office for assistance at (503)823-3770.