AUST – Emergency Plan advises that a number of occupiers of buildings have invested wisely in setting up emergency response procedures, evacuation diagrams, training wardens in the emergency control organisation and carrying out evacuation exercises. Often these evacuation exercises have shown how little occupants know about the emergency procedures, despite the requirement of the previous standard, AS 3745-2002, to ensure occupants were aware of the procedures.
Methods used in the past to raise occupant awareness have included placing signs in the facility, and these have taken all sorts of shapes and sizes and have included various levels of information.
The latest version of AS 3745, published in November 2010, has prescribed measures that can raise occupant awareness. These measures are intended to work together and include a requirement for signs, now called evacuation diagrams. These are now a mandatory part of the Emergency Plan, a new enhancement not prescribed in previous versions of AS 3745 (In Queensland the BFRS nominates evacuation signs).
The minimum size and contents of evacuation diagrams have been specified, ensuring that the floor diagram detail is consistent and prominent. Other content has also been specified by the AS 3745 Standard, focusing attention on critical information that includes:
- A ‘you are here’ location
- Designated exits
- The location of communications equipment such as WIP’s (Warden Intercom Phones), MCP’s (Manual Call Points) and ECP’s (Emergency Control Points).
- The location of fire protection equipment such as hydrants, extinguishers, hose reels and fire blankets.
- Assembly area diagrams
The very nature of the information on the evacuation diagram means that almost every sign will be unique, with even slight variations between floors requiring customisation.
While the Emergency Planning Committee under AS 3745 decides the period of validity of the evacuation diagram, one of the factors influencing the frequency will be the likelihood that change has occurred. If changes such as the relocation of fire extinguishers or change of paths of exit are likely, the Emergency Planning Committee should organise regular building surveys to keep this information updated.
The new details required in evacuation diagrams mean that most facilities will need to upgrade any existing evacuation diagrams, and if you are in doubt about whether your evacuation diagrams comply with AS 3745-2010, contact Emergency Plan.
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