Fire evacuation problems.

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stephen1974
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Fire evacuation problems.

Post by stephen1974 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 12:50 am

I was talking today to a member of staff about fire warden training and the subject of evacuations came up with me saying they need to be looked at as I wasn't happy with it. It was commented that in previous training the trainer had told the staff they must make everyone take their skates off before leaving the building.

Now there are deffinate issue with people leaving on skates, but, to me, the most significant risk is the fire.

However, this raised an interesting point about additional dangers and how I can get around them. The problem i'm concerned with is this.

Two fire exits have shallow ramps leading away from them towards a road. The road isnt in heavy use as it is on a trading estate but that means heavy vehicles are the main users. The ramps mean people will pick up speed. They then have no way to stop if they cant stop themselves (and many skaters cannot) and they can't make a sharp turn at the end of the ramp to stay on the path. Again, because of their skill level. So there is considerable potential for people to end up in the road flat on their faces, possible with a 10 tonne truck bearing down on them.

In an ideal world I would like to see a barrier installed, but its not our land and I imagine the costs would be mahoosive to get anything done to pathways.

Any one else had experience of exiting a building presenting its own significant hazards? what else could be done?
I think we could put handrails down the ramps without too much issue or cost so people can slow themselves but thats the best i can come up with at the moment.


Another issue is when to evacuate. If I have, for argument sake, 10 people on the rink. The alarm goes off. Its a small building, its fairly easy to check to see if there is a fire somewhere. I could get those 10 people to stand by the fire exit where they can leave instantly and there is no chance of a fire suddenly catching them unawares. Someone can then go see if there is actually a fire. If I do that, whats the magic number for when there are too many people for it to be safe to do? Our alarm sounds instantly but i have been in similar facilities where you get a pre alarm warning to check for fire before the alarm sounds properly. Is there a practicle difference?

I'm almost certainly going to go with just evacuating, but its an interesting theoretical question.

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Waterbaby
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Re: Fire evacuation problems.

Post by Waterbaby » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:57 am

Bump ./thumbsup..

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GavGregson
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Re: Fire evacuation problems.

Post by GavGregson » Tue Dec 04, 2018 8:04 am

morning Stephen,
I used to manage public leisure facilities,
we had an alarm system with a pre alarm, which allowed us to check the building prior to evacuation.
also we had staged evacuations ( especially when dealing with swimmers, ) therefore we just lined up within main pool hall final exit point.
then if there was a need to remove people ,we could do so in a controlled manner.
hope this helps
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Re: Fire evacuation problems.

Post by bernicarey » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:32 am

I think you need to look at the 'bigger picture', in this case the ice rink premises and it's design.

So starting with 2 basic scenarios for a fire at the premises. It is either A) in the main rink space, or B) somewhere else such as office or plant room.

So if it's in B, you've got time for people to remove skates before exiting.

If it's in A, where is it actually practicable for it to start?

Only you have that info, but I suggest its not many locations, so there are options to investigate.
If people are on the ice, they are probably at the furthest place possible from any fire location.

What would concern me is an evacuation for a non fire reason, such as terrorist attack, bomb scare etc.; then you need to get out quickly, but all those aspects you have highlighted are relevant.

What if those pathways you mentioned were simply covered with asphalt? Or some other rubberised coating?
Wouldn't the skates dig in and make it easier to have a controlled exit?

Think outside the norm.
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stephen1974
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Re: Fire evacuation problems.

Post by stephen1974 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:10 pm

Sorry, It's a rollerrink, should have made that clearer. (In all the ice rinks ive looked after we make them go outside in skates, and put rubber mats down where ever we felt there might be issues).

How long do you think people should spend taking their skates off? if you have families in there, you will have parents looking for kids, kids looking for parents, then a couple of minutes to get the skates off of each kid in turn. I can easily see it taking 5, 6 minutes or more before some people are heading to the exist.

If you are letting them do that then they will think its ok to collect belongings, they will leave their skates on the ground creating trip hazards all over the place. You will have people who will just want to get out anyway and who wont take their skates off.

The most likely place for a fire to occur is the kitchen, which is close to, but seperated from the main rink, but by the time they've flaffed around taking skates off smoke would be coming out of there which will scare people away from exits at that end of the building. The next likely place would be the sound and lighting stage which is as good as part of the rink.

The wont be a huge amount of threat from smoke as its a tall ceiling building and would take a long time to fill up, but trying to ask people to stay put to take skates off if they can see a fire isn't likely to get a favourable reaction.

ON a busy day you could be looking at several hundred people to get out, mostly kids. The plus side is that they are generally confined to one space so should be easy to manage, once they are all moving.

Have to look at worse case.
Last edited by stephen1974 on Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Fire evacuation problems.

Post by stephen1974 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:24 pm

Gav,

I've also worked in pools and I understand the comparison you are making and I have thought about that and if its possible to manage it in the same way, The main difference would be in numbers. Even in big pools you rarely get more than 100 people, and they would be ready to go outside pretty much instantly once we gave the word.

A pre-alarm system would be ideal, but we dont have that and no chance of the owners changing it. The alarm will be going, most likely a couple of minutes, before we could even silence it depending on where a manager is in the building when it goes off, so you have a couple of minutes for that to happen, then a couple of minutes to go hunting for a fire, though most likely it will be spotted immediately, we dont have many places out of view of people where it could start.


Those initial minutes are an area of thought as well. I'd rather not evacuate for a false alarm, and we've had two in 4 weeks, and my plan would be to get everyone on to the rink area ready to move as it is the most likely safest place inside and the easiest area to control. We could use that time to start taking skates off, but my concern is the potential chaos that will come from that. The time it takes, some people not complying, bith in hired skates and their own, people leaving of their own accord, hunting for their kids, and so on.

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Re: Fire evacuation problems.

Post by bernicarey » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:49 am

stephen1974 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:10 pm
Sorry, It's a rollerrink, should have made that clearer.
Ahh, that makes it slightly different then. :lol: Loads of kids on wheels would be a problem.

I think many of my previous comments remain valid, just look to the bigger picture. .salut
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