All newly hired employees must receive fire safety training and be familiar with the facility's fire safety plan. All employees should participate in the annual review of the fire safety plan. Thorough training and regularly scheduled drills to practice evacuation procedures can directly influence the outcome of an emergency situation.
Fire drill requirements are regulated by local and state fire codes, accrediting agencies, and insurance requirements for individual organizations.
While OSHA does not dictate specific requirements as to the frequency of fire drills, it is recommended that drills be conducted at least annually. OSHA standard 1910.156(c)(2) states that if a fire brigade exists and the members are expected to perform interior structural fire fighting, an education or training session for the members should be conducted at least quarterly.
Generally, ALL staff should participate at least ANNUALLY in fire exit drills. Some healthcare facilities will adopt more frequent drills, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. NFPA recommends quarterly drills on every shift.
Every fire alarm that sounds should be treated as a true emergency. During a drill, important elements of fire safety training are tested, including:
- Primary and secondary evacuation route locations
- Exiting using the stairwells and NEVER the elevators
- Fire doors that are unlocked, NOT blocked, and NEVER propped open