ApnaComplex Recommends: A Fire Drill for your Housing Complex
With the number of high-rises increasing by the day, fire accidents in apartment complexes have the potential to cause huge damage to life and property. Especially vulnerable are children and senior citizens who get caught in the chaos and are unable to save themselves. While residents of high-rises should be particularly careful, even housing societies with smaller buildings or bungalows cannot take fire lightly. It is thus the duty of each and every housing association to treat fire prevention and fighting as an essential part of their responsibilities.
What does this responsibility involve?
First and foremost, the society should ensure that all fire equipments are in working order and that they can be easily accessible. In addition, a housing association should take proactive steps to prevent fires, and in the worst case, minimize the loss to life in the eventuality of a fire. The best way to ensure that your society is equipped to respond to a fire emergency is by carrying out a fire drill at regular intervals.
Research show that close to 50% of people who die in fires were those who were trying to escape. A fire drill helps members develop an exit plan that could easily save precious lives. It teaches them to take control of the situation and follow a pre-prepared plan of action instead of panicking at the situation around them.
We at ApnaComplex recommend each and every housing association to carry out a Fire Drill in your society. This article aims to create awareness about the importance of a Fire Drill and the process of carrying out one.
Carrying out a Fire Drill in your housing complex would involve the following three steps:
- Planning the fire drill
- Executing the plan
- Assessing the outcome
- Fix a date and time for the drill that will suit everyone in the society. A good weekend or a public holiday will be preferable.
- Inform all the members of the housing society about the importance of the drill, as many might think it’s just a game.
- Plan how each member in every home will escape from their rooms, starting with the bedrooms. If possible, plan two escape routes from each house; incase the first route is blocked due to some reason. For instance, the second route may be to go out a window, or stand at a window where firefighters can see the member.
- No excuses should be allowed for not participating. Everyone must leave the building during the drill period. Even babysitters, frequent visitors or overnight guests should be included.
- Decide where every member will meet once they are outside.
- Ask residents to lock their doors as usual while running out of their home during the drill.
- Allocate two persons to coordinate the drill; one person for creating the smoke to blow the fire alarm and the other person to keep track of the time taken by each family to arrive at the meeting point.
- Make a list of all the family members present in each family so that it would be easy to track the exit of all the members of the society.
- At the determined time, ask one of the coordinators to create a smoke by lighting an incense-stick or some paper near any of the smoke sensors. The objective is to start the fire alarm in the building.
- Once the alarm sounds, everybody in their homes should proceed promptly to the outside of the building by means of the nearest exit. Ensure that everyone reaches the desired meeting point within 3-4 minutes. If some people are unable to do so, make them do the drill again.
- Ensure everyone in each household can open all doors and windows.
- All members should proceed to the designated meeting place outside.
- Once all people have reached the meeting place, reset the building alarm system.
- Notify the building occupants that they can return to the building by giving the “all clear” signal.
- Document every fire drill carried out and note the frequent problems faced. Seek the help of the nearby fire station for solutions.
- Share this document with all the members of the society within 48 hours. Discuss the problems and solutions in details.
- Put a timeline for the necessary actions to be carried and note its effectiveness during the next fire drill.
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Good habits to follow:
- Test your smoke alarm once a month. Change standard batteries twice a year.
- Carry out a fire drill at least twice a year.
- Ensure that parking is not allowed near fire hydrants and that there is enough space for a fire truck to enter the society premises in case of an emergency.
- In a real fire, get out and stay out. Then call the emergency fire brigade number. Do not go back into the building until it has been cleared by the fire brigade.
- Residents can have windows with security bars that have an emergency release devices so they can be opened easily from the inside.
Taking adequate precautions and sincerely participating in Fire Drills can benefit everyone involved. If your housing association is planning to carry out a Fire Drill for the first time then do take the services of an expert who can guide you about it in a step-by-step manner. Also inform your nearest fire station about the exercise and seek any additional help in terms of information or personnel during the event.
This article aims at collating and providing a ready to use guideline for benefit of ApnaComplex customers and blog readers. While ApnaComplex has taken every care to ensure the information is accurate, we suggest to please use the information in the article as a guidance and do your own due diligence before any fire drill. If you need professional advice on this topic and any other property related matters, please send your request through our contact us form.