I was working with a national client to implement consistent general evacuation training. A branch manager refuted the need for ALL his staff to do general evacuation training. He insisted he only needed one chief warden trained. His argument was that AS3745 states SHOULD do general evacuation training not MUST. Therefore he believed his staff did not have to do the training.
So it came time to do the drill. It was a large warehouse with a showroom attached and upstairs offices and about 20 staff scattered throughout the building.
I said to the workshop manager “This is a fire drill, pretend there is a fire over there, what would you do?” He looked at me as if to say what the! Then said “I know! I go to the assembly area and he took off”… well, that had never happened before!
I told the showroom salesperson “this is a drill, there is a “fire” in the maintenance area, what do you do?” She said to me, “well there is no one in the showroom so I go to the assembly area” and she takes off! For real?
So I said the same thing to a warehouse worker. He says to me “I am just a casual but if you want, I can go to the assembly area”, and he takes off”!
So what was wrong with this situation?
- No one alerted anyone else that there was a problem. The people upstairs would have been trapped if there had truly been a fire in the maintenance area
- No one closed any doors or swept any areas
- No one grabbed the first aid kit
- When I did get the Chief Warden to start the evacuation he did not sweep any areas, close any doors or stop more delivery drivers entering the premises.
- They could not decide where the assembly area was as most thought it was in the middle of the driveway where emergency services would typically park.
For this reason, regardless of what AS3745 says I believe you MUST do general evacuation training for all staff. QLD is the only state that says that ALL staff MUST do General Evacuation training every year and every two years they MUST do First Response Evacuation Training.
General Evacuation Training can be done as a face-to-face training course or it can be done online.