top of page

LTB 090/24 - Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY24 04 – ‘Fire Alarm Evacuations’ – ‘If the Alarm Sounds, Then Evacuate and Take No Chances!’

No. 090/2024


Our Ref:  E5/24 


To:  All Branches


Dear Colleagues,


Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY24 04 – ‘Fire Alarm Evacuations’ – ‘If the Alarm Sounds, Then Evacuate and Take No Chances!’ 


Introduction


Royal Mail Group’s Safety Team have issued ‘RMG SHE Safety Flash FY24 004’ with the aim of communicating a clear message to the workforce across Royal Mail Group: Warning! Never ignore the Fire Alarm and never assume the alarm is false or the result of a test. Everyone must evacuate the building by way of the safest and closest exit and/or stairway. Ignoring the alarm or assuming the fire and rescue service has been notified can put people at risk.


Background


A fire alarm system at a mail centre had been faulty for several hours. Following a shift change, it was then accidentally set off by a technician carrying out repairs.


Due to unclear communication, some employees who knew of the fault, assumed it was a false alarm without being told so and refused to evacuate the building whilst other employees evacuated promptly as they should do.


There was confusion and a delay in correctly evacuating the building. The alarm could have been set off by a genuine fire and emergency in the building leaving those ignoring the alarm in potential danger.


Actions to avoid similar incidents – Procedures to follow if the fire alarm system is faulty:


  • Call PFS Helpdesk: Immediately on 0333 005 0312.

  • Isolate Faulty Call Points: There are various fire alarm systems used in Royal Mail. Where possible, isolate the faulty call point/panel so it does not compromise the whole building’s fire alarm system. Only complete this if trained to do so.

  • Temporary fire detection arrangements: Introduce temporary arrangements. This could include an employee standing on fire watch by that particular area, or use of temporary measures to signal an alarm. Any temporary arrangements should be captured in the fire risk assessment and evacuation plan.

  • Clear Communication to staff: The PIC should ensure all employees are aware of any temporary arrangements that are in place, to support safe evacuation of the building.

  • Clear Communication between shift managers: These issues must be clearly communicated between PICs on different shifts at a site.

Key Messages


All employers including Royal Mail Group (Royal Mail, Parcelforce, RMSS, RMP&FS, RME, RM Fleet, RM Customer Experience and Admin etc.,) are required by law to make a detailed fire emergency plan so that employees, visitors and members of the public can be kept out of danger.


In the event of fire, the three most important actions are, in chronological order, to:


  • Raise the alarm.

  • Summon the Fire Brigade.

  • Evacuate the building — attempts to extinguish the fire should only be made if it’s a small incident and it’s safe to do so.

GOLDEN RULE: Should a fire alarm ever be ignored? DON’T Ignore a fire alarm!


The Fire Alarm System is designed and engineered to provide people with an early warning to allow them to safely exit the building during an emergency situation.


Never ignore or assume the alarm is false or the result of a test.


Everyone must evacuate the building by way of the safest and closest exit and/or stairway. Ignoring them or assuming the fire and rescue service has been notified could put people at risk.


The main message is: Treat every alarm as a real fire evacuation procedure and vacate immediately. Ignoring a fire alarm could quite seriously cost you your life.

Emergency plan – What should be covered in your emergency plan?


A simple emergency plan must show that the employer has in place for the building:


  1. A suitable fire detection system.

  2. A process for identifying false alarms.

  3. A clear understanding of who calls 999.

  4. A clear passageway to all escape routes.

  5. Suitable routes and exits for people to escape.

  6. Clearly marked escape routes – these should be as short and direct as possible.

  7. Emergency doors that open easily – and emergency lighting if it is needed.

  8. Providing training so your employees know how to use the escape routes.

  9. Set out a safe meeting point for staff.

  10. Considered the needs of anyone who might not be able to escape quickly if there’s a fire – for example, wheelchair users or people with visual impairments.

Other important topics to cover include:


  • What to do on discovering a fire.

  • How to warn others if there is a fire.

  • Calling the Fire Brigade.

  • Evacuation of the premises including those particularly at risk.

  • Power/process isolation.

  • Places of assembly and roll call.

  • Liaison with emergency services.

  • Identification of key escape routes.

  • What firefighting equipment you provide – and where it is located.

  • Everyone’s specific responsibilities in the event of a fire.


Remember to test your emergency plan by practising it regularly. 


Actions: 


  • PiCs/Managers – Brief staff on this SHE Flash, display it and bring it to the attention of all employees in the workforce, visitors, contractors and the public.

CWU ASR/WSR Action:


  • ASRs/WSRs please ensure that this Safety Flash is communicated, displayed and brought to the attention of the workforce in all buildings.

  • ASRs/WSRs to carry out spot check safety inspections including a check that the SHE Flash has been deployed and briefed to staff by PiCs/Managers.

  • ASRs to check awareness of the workforce Fire Safety and Evacuation Rules during Workplace Safety Inspections and ensure staff are briefed, raising awareness at every opportunity with members/workers.

Attachment:


  • Royal Mail Group (SHE) Safety Flash FY24 004 – ‘Fire Alarm Evacuations’


Yours sincerely


Dave Joyce

National Health, Safety & Environment Officer




29 views0 comments

Comments

Rated 0 out of 5 stars.
No ratings yet

Add a rating
bottom of page