An emergency evacuation procedure must be displayed where it can be clearly seen by users of the community venue. The procedure must provide for the relocation of occupants of the building to a safe place. All occupants should be accounted for.
A community venue should have an emergency fire evacuation policy which includes:
- when and how to raise the fire alarm
- a well thought out evacuation pathway to a place of safety
- when to call the manager
- precautions about containing fires:
- that you should never use water on a fire caused by electricity or petroleum
- that you should know how to use a fire extinguisher
- that you should know when it is appropriate to use a fire extinguisher. e.g. making sure it is the right type and size for the fire
- that there should be more than one fire extinguisher, and they should be regularly checked
- Designated wardens to co-ordinate the emergency evacuation process
Staff members and occupants should never endanger themselves. An employer cannot expect an employee to place themselves in harm’s way. An employer should also ensure there are sufficient number of wardens should an emergency occur. The wardens should be well trained to handle a situation.
It is an offence under the Fire Safety and Evacuation of Buildings Regulations 2006 to:
- not have an evacuation procedure in place
- have exit doors obstructed or locked while the building is occupied
- obstruct or use exit ways for storage purposes
- keep smoke control doors and fire stop doors open unless specified in the building code
- fail to evacuate the building when the alarm is sounding
Community venue user groups should also practise the emergency evacuation procedure every six months. The Fire Service must be notified of each trial evacuation and be invited to attend at least one per year.
Signs and notices should guide occupants throughout the evacuation procedure. The owner of the building (often the Wellington City Council, as it owns a majority of the community venues) should put ample thought into the best places for the sign to be placed.
The owner must apply to the National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service for approval of the evacuation scheme. This application should be in writing. It may be necessary to undertake a trial evacuation and notify the National Commander of the results.
If the application is rejected, the building owner may amend the application and re-apply.