Fire accidents are one of the most unforeseen and unfortunate situations which not only cause heavy damages but also claim precious and invaluable human lives. With the rise in income, spending and awareness, the property buyers are prioritizing safety more than ever. They prefer to live in the communities which are equipped with all necessary equipment, applications, resources and technology to avoid and combat any unforeseen fire accident. This allows management companies to test the vulnerability of the community to the fire accidents and how prepared they are to combat any such unforeseen situation.
The seriousness of organizing fire drills can be understood from the study conducted by CTIF – The International Association of Fire & Rescue Services which reveals that 24.2% of the fire accidents that take place globally occur only in the residential buildings, 8% in other buildings. The study also finds out that 82.7% of all fire-related deaths globally are in residential building fires. Fire accidents not only cost human and money loss but also puts the reputation of the developer as well as the management companies at stake.
What is a Fire Drill?
As rightly said by the renowned American Poet, Late Maya Angelou, ‘Hope for the best and be prepared for the worst’. Fire drills are the preparation towards worst situations. It is an imitation or simulation of a real life emergency situation in which fire wardens, guides staff and members responsible for the upkeep of the community on the proven and tested ways to deal with fire accidents. In simple terms, Fire drill involves making the staff aware of the best ways to use emergency doors to an assembly point outside of the building and use fire equipment to deal with any unforeseen fire accident impromptu.
Importance of Fire Drills
Conducting frequent fire drills is the most viable solution to deal with fire accidents. They make sure that staff, residents, and visitors are aware of the necessary steps to deal with the fire accident. Fire drills encompass all necessary exercises and steps one must take to overcome the situation to minimize the damage.
As a part of the fire drill, a hypothetical situation of a fire accident is created with an objective to simulate the emergency procedures that must be followed at that time. The fundamental purpose of organizing the fire drill is to educate the staff about how they should behave in case of a fire accident and informing them about the way out or emergency exits to escape the scene. Fire drills also test the vulnerability of the evacuation plan from time -to-time and boost the confidence of the staff in managing any fire accident situation with confidence and ease.
Ideal Frequency & Duration
The required frequency of organizing a fire drill varies from building to building based on the assumed risk. However, the ideal frequency to organize fire drills in a building is 1 to 2 times in a year. It must be compulsory for all staff members (full-time, part-time, or temporary) to participate in the fire drills to make them aware of their responsibilities in case of a fire accident.
According to Cornell University, fire drill times can vary from building to building, depending on many factors, such as speed of evacuation, building size and fire alarm system resetting, however the ideal duration of most fire drills is between 5 and 15 minutes.
How does Kaizen organize Fire drills at its 130+ managed communities?
Being a socially responsible firm, Kaizen AMS conducts frequent fire drills at all its managed communities in line with the procedures established by the Dubai Civil Defense (DCD). Our Fire drills provide a unique opportunity to the staff managing our communities to practice emergency procedures in a simulated but safe environment. This boosts their confidence to manage any unforeseen fire accident without panicking.
Kaizen AMS recruits world-class and highly experienced Fire Wardens to organize fire drills who ensure that all staff members clearly understand their emergency duties. They also make sure the fire drills comply with the requirements of the local fire code and are flexible enough to make necessary changes or adjustments to improve performance.
Here are the key highlights of Kaizen AMS’ Fire Drills
1.) Ensuring the Availability of Emergency Devices
Before organizing a fire drill, Kaizen AMS ensures 100% compliance with the emergency preparedness guidelines. Our team makes sure that the place where the mock drill is taking place is equipped with things like extinguishers, emergency supplies, fire exits and evacuation routes so that in case complications arise, Kaizen AMS’ team can respond to it. We also ensure that in case all evacuation routes are blocked or doors are jammed, our managed communities have alternate routes.
2. Coordination with Dubai Civil Defence
Kaizen AMS works in coordination with the closest civil defense station from its managed community to organize the fire drill. Officials from Dubai Civil Defense visit our managed communities frequently and plan the scenario with the property/community manager. Our managers inform each staff member about their responsibilities related to the drill. Once the fire drill is over, our team submits a comprehensive report to Dubai Civil Defense informing them about the timings of the arrival of each authority such as Dubai Police, Ambulance, and the Fire truck.
3. Well-planned Fire Evacuation Plan
Prior to organizing a fire drill or instructing residents to rush towards the exits at the sound of a fire alarm, Kaizen AMS’ team ensures there is a detailed and reviewed fire evacuation plan in place. The fire evacuation plans focused on the areas which are more prone to fire accidents like kitchen or warehouse which stock chemicals, charcoal or any inflammable substance. We clearly assign and delegate the responsibility to each member of the fire evacuation team who reports to the fire warden.
Kaizen AMS’ team also ensures we have comprehensive and experimented fire drill procedures. We also design a communication plan to facilitate multi-channel and two-way mass communication. Post that, Kaizen AMS team plan & map the evacuation routes, emergency exits and evacuation procedures. The team also ensures that all fire detection and preventive devices like fire alarms, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers are functional. We also ensure timely follow up and reporting using our advanced notification dashboard to notify employees of a fire accident to ensure their utmost safety.
4. Organizing Training for the Team Dealing with Fire Accidents
Once the Fire Evacuation Plan is finalized, Kaizen AMS ensures that the team dealing with the fire accidents including the Warden is well-trained on the evacuation procedures and plans. This ensures a 100% success rate of a fire drill. We also ensure that all the participants of the fire drill agree with the Fire Evacuation Plan and understand its importance and take it with utmost seriousness.
5. Accurate Measurement of the Results of the Fire Drill
Kaizen AMS fire drill experts design a comprehensive list of parameters and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to evaluate the performance of every drill. This allows the management to take necessary actions to improve the effectiveness and efficacy of the fire drill next time. For example – If in the first attempt, it takes 20 minutes for everyone to evacuate the building, Kaizen AMS’ team ensures that next time it takes only 15 minutes or less and with every drill this evacuation time decreases. Some of the KPIs on which the effectiveness of the fire drill is measured includes – a.) time from drill activation to evacuation 2.) time to report completion of the drill and 3.) the success of the shutdown of equipment (if required)
6. Ensuring everyone’s Participation
As they say, a chain is as strong as its weakest link. If one of the staff members remained untrained that would undermine the success of the fire drill. Thus, Kaizen AMS’ ensures that fire drills are attended by each of our members responsible for dealing with the fire accidents. Fire drills take place at an area which is a familiar and agreed-upon location which is strategically placed outside the building. Kaizen AMS’ tech-enabled approach and notification systems allows it to track the status of staff who have participated in the fire drill to ensure 100% participation and eliminate any possibility of error which can arise due to untrained staff.
Observation is considered as one of the best ways to improve the effectiveness of the fire drill. As a part of the observation exercise, we select the experts with years of experience in dealing with the fire accidents who are not on the fire evacuation team to act as neutral observers. Once the drill is over, the observers conduct a debriefing and prepare an after action report to highlight the areas where the team has performed at par with the expectation and the areas where they need improvement.
Some of the KPIs where observers evaluate the team include – 1.) Did staff members close the doors upon exiting the rooms 2.) How confident were the staff members while dealing with the situation 3.) Did all staff members meet at the assigned spot? 4.) Did the fire alarm reset and the alarm notified of the drill? 5.) Did all staff members get the alert from your notification system? 6) Were doors, alarms, automated voice command and other emergency devices working properly?
8. Implementing the Feedback of the Observers
Based on the observations in the after action report, observers or fire safety leaders provide their feedback on the ways fire drill could have been better. As a part of this exercise, each team member describes their actions during a fire drill and is expected to analyze any perceived weaknesses or confusion. Observers provide their expert opinions to the staff members on their weaknesses to ensure they perform that specific task more effectively next time.
Kaizen AMS’ also ensures that observers test the capabilities of the team to combat any unforeseen situation by testing them on all possible scenarios of the fire accidents. This is done by changing the variables of the fire drill every time with more complex scenarios. For example – by creating more complex hurdles for the team like blocked exits, closed stairwells, damaged lifts to name a few.