Prepared by: Paul Richards, Fire Marshall
31 January 2008
As per A-188.8.131.52.(1) of the Manitoba Fire Code, “a fire safety plan is of little value if it is not reviewed periodically so that all supervisory staff remain familiar with their responsibilities. A fire drill, then, is at least a review of the fire safety plan by supervisory staff. The extent to which non-supervisory staff participates in a fire drill should be worked out in cooperation with the fire department. The decision as to whether all occupants should leave the building during a fire drill should be based on the nature of the occupancy. It may be necessary to hold additional fire drills outside normal working hours for the benefit of employees on afternoon or night shifts, who should be as familiar with fire drill procedures as those who work during the day. If full scale fire drills are not possible during non-regular working hours, arrangements should be made so that night-shift supervisory staff can participate in fire drills conducted during the daytime.”
In the past, it was felt reviewing the Fire Safety Plan with Fire Wardens, dedicated staff met the intent of the Manitoba Fire Code, and conducting actual evacuation drills was left up to the faculties and departments. This has not been the case as many new staff and students need to know what a fire alarm sounds like and be able to act accordingly. Conducting actual fire evacuation drills is the best way to relay this important information. It also identifies any shortfalls in the Fire Safety Plan.
To meet the requirements of the Manitoba Fire Code and to test the Fire Safety Plan for each building, Environmental Health and Safety Office with the assistance of Security Services and Physical Plant conducted fire evacuation drills in all University of Manitoba Buildings with the exception of the Residences, Pharmacy Building, Russell Building and Parker Building.
The fire evacuation drills were previously scheduled for October but due to a labour dispute, they were rescheduled to November 2007. The cold weather was the primary reason for delaying conducting fire evacuation drills in the residences while the Pharmacy and Parker buildings had already conducted a fire evacuation drill as part of their student’s orientation in September. As for the Russell Building, a fire false alarm the week prior to the scheduled fire evacuation drills was observed by EHSO staff and the Architectural staff followed proper procedures as per the Fire Safety Plan for their building.
This report highlights the results of the fire evacuation drills with areas identified as needing improvement.
Procedure for the Fire Evacuation Drills
EHSO, Security Services and Physical Plant held meetings to develop a schedule for conducting the fire evacuation drills and criteria for their role as Observers. After confirming the dates, the Vice-President of Administration sent a memo to all faculties and departments informing them of the upcoming fire evacuation drills. The faculties and departments were not given the exact date or time of the fire evacuation drills but to minimize disruption, they were asked to notify our office of any dates or times where the drills would be problematic.
Our office created a form to be used by staff identified as observers and held an in-service on the procedures and criteria they are to use. The criteria included: time for evacuation of a floor, staff/student response to the fire alarm, identification of fire wardens, are rooms checked and are doors closed. The observers were asked not to comment to staff/student in the building unless it was necessary because there were no fire wardens or no response to the fire alarm. Any comments were to be documented as well.
Following a pre-determined schedule, EHSO, Security Services and Physical Plant Staff met at the first building on the schedule. Time was given for...