Keep Up With Your Construction Site Fire and Emergency Evacuation Plans

By Neil Kalra

Building and Construction fires and other emergency evacuations are significantly more common than most people think. And investigators have learned a great deal over the years when it comes to the causes of these sudden emergencies and how to keep them from becoming disasters.

Emergency preparedness and evolving best practices that property owners, general contractors and rank-and-file workers can follow, reduce the damage (and injuries) a serious fire or some other disaster can cause. With this growing knowledge base, fires, explosions, hazardous chemical releases and noxious fumes, occur less regularly. But the number of annual man-made construction site and building emergencies still remains alarmingly high; in the tens of thousands nationally according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A response plan establishes an organization’s procedures for responding to emergencies. These “action plans” are the strategies that counter emergencies as they “game plan” and assign duties and escape routes to teams of employees which they must quickly follow during an emergency.


A few examples of emergencies that should be planned for at construction sites include:

  • Fires

  • Explosions

  • Chemical Spills

  • Electrocutions

  • Extended power loss

  • Toxic gas releases

  • Respiratory threats from other particulate airborne pollutants

  • Structural failures

When disaster strikes due to an accident; being prepared with an emergency action plan (EAP) is not just important for the construction site, it reduces losses: human and material. Good one’s save lives. The best plans involve, and empowers them with vital information so they can take care of themselves while thinking on their feet.


Parts of a Construction Site Evacuation Procedure Which Workers Should Know

Workers should be trained to respond appropriately to different threats. For example, they may need to assemble in different areas: on, or off, the construction site depending on the type and seriousness of emergency. If threatened by a chemical spill they must evacuate upwind. But a fire may force workers to evacuate to a different and pre-arranged location off-site.

All construction sites should be clearly mapped and illustrate ALL emergency evacuation routes. The map should include the location of fire extinguishers, medical first aid kits, alarm system “panic buttons,” and assembly points that every worker on the site should know and use.

Every person should know the two closest emergency evacuation routes from their area. Knowing more is always good of course because one or more safety routes may be unusable during the emergency. Workers should make it a point to take some time and re-orient themselves when moving to different areas of the site. And occasional emergency drills make evacuations second-nature.


What should construction workers know before an emergency occurs?

  • Recognize the sound/signaling method of the evacuation or other alarms and their different meanings.

  • Understand who to contact in an emergency, as well as the specific procedures they will be expected to use.

  • Report damaged or malfunctioning safety systems and back-up systems.

What should workers do when an emergency occurs?

  • Listen/watch carefully for instructions over any communication system and follow them,

  • Leave the area in a quick, orderly manner when instructed. And follow the jobsite's emergency evacuation plan.

  • Do not use elevators when evacuating a burning structure unless they are properly designed and designated "occupant evacuation elevators."

  • Report to the designated meeting place, and make sure you immediately report to the person who keeps worker accountability.

  • Do not re-enter the building or job site until directed by authorities.

When developing an EAP, it is important to anticipate worst-case scenarios. What would happen if the worksite caught fire, or a chemical release occurred in construction area? Emergency action plans are developed to ensure the safest and most efficient evacuation during crisis situations on a construction site. Make sure you know yours, or ask why there is no EAP.

Whether you were, or a family member was, injured due by a distracted driver – private citizen or behind the wheel of a commercial delivery vehicle; you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve.

The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting all accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced distracted driving accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. If you have any questions about your distracted driving accident, call our New York City and Queens accident lawyers today at (718) 897-2211. www.unionlawyer.com


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