By Chad Engle, Loss Prevention Manager and Safety Specialist

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week (FPW).  The campaign chosen for this year is, “Fire won’t wait.  Plan your escape.”  The goal is to educate everyone about simple actions we can take to stay safe from home fires.  I cannot think of any reasons not to apply this to our work environment as well.

Have you held a fire evacuation drill lately?  Every home and workplace is different and should have a specific fire evacuation plan that everyone has been trained on and practiced.  What is your plan if a fire occurs while court is in session?  What if the courthouse is full of folks paying taxes or renewing licenses?  Does the plan cover how to ensure that they all can get out safely as well?

Have you developed an emergency evacuation floor plan that outlines the possible evacuation routes in your building?  Your evacuation plan should also include a gathering or relocation area and a method of accounting for all employees.  OSHA 1910.38 – Emergency action plans, provides further guidance regarding what an employer’s emergency action plan should include.

Emergency action plans help to reduce losses caused by injury, equipment, and premises damage. An emergency action plan will help guide everyone out of the building quickly and safely.

Is your workplace/home equipped with smoke detectors?  Modern smoke detectors can sense smoke before you can, alerting you to danger and providing you with valuable time to exit safely.  The NFPA recommends that combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are used for the highest amount of protection.  They also recommend that the detectors are interconnected throughout the building so that if one alarm sounds, they will all sound.  This allows you to hear the alarm no matter where you are in the building.

Fire is just one of the events that a workplace or home emergency action plan should cover.  For more information on emergency action plans, you can visit or