When you step into a building, you expect it to be safe. Although emergencies like fires are never planned and sometimes give no warning, there should be plans on how to handle the situation. According to research conducted by the Texas Fire Department, there were a high number of injuries and deaths connected to fires.
The Texas Fire Incident Reporting System reports:
- 71,119 total reported Texas fires
- 866 civilian fire injuries
- 167 civilian fire deaths
- 102 fire deaths in residential structure fires
Given the high number of injuries and substantial property damage caused by fires, most business and residential buildings are required to have evacuation plans in case of a fire emergency. These safety strategies help prepare people on how to act and exit a building to avoid danger. However, not everyone has an evacuation plan. This can lead to unnecessary risk. The building manager or owner is negligent by not having a plan. If you or a loved one has been injured in a building fire because you were not prepared with an exit strategy, you may have a claim for compensation.
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What is an Evacuation Plan?
An evacuation plan is a set list of steps and procedures one should follow in case of an emergency to promote safety. In terms of building fires, there are plans to help residents cautiously exit the structure. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration makes an evacuation plan necessary for most building structures. They mandate that businesses with over 10 employees must have a written emergency action plan, while a business with less people can function with just an oral plan.
According to OSHA’s standard 1910.38, there are specific elements every emergency plan should have. These include:
- Procedures for reporting a fire or other emergency
- Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
- Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
- Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
- Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
- Name or job title of employees who may be contacted for more information about the plan or an explanation of employee duties under the plan
It is also important that residents and employees have training and practice for how to handle building fires. OSHA recommends that building operators conduct fire drills to prepare civilians on how to handle fire emergencies.
Why You Need an Experienced Team on Your Side
Evacuation plans are created to help individuals prepare for an emergency. It is the responsibility of an owner or building manager to make sure there is a strategy in place to help people safely exit a burning structure. However, if they do not have one, this is a sign of negligence. By not having proper training or information on how to handle a fire, civilians can be unduly hurt. If you or a loved one has been injured because your building did not have the proper evacuation plan, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit. At Wyatt Law Firm, our building fire attorneys have extensive experience dealing with such injury cases. For a free consultation, contact us today!