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How to deal with a fire

If the fire is detected by an automatic alarm and it is safe to do so, identify the location of the fire using the control panel and investigate. Ensure the evacuation procedure is continuing during the investigation.

If you discover a fire, break a glass call point, dial 999 and follow the evacuation procedures below.

Evacuate the building

Fire Wardens report to assembly point
  • Ensure that everyone, including any visitors or contractors evacuates the building quickly and safely.
  • Ensure any person with special needs is able to evacuate.
  • Make a quick check of your area on the way out.
  • Ensure people go to the correct and safe assembly point.
  • Do not allow anyone to re-enter the building or leave the assembly point until it is confirmed that it is safe to do so.
  • Report to the Person in Control (PiC) at the assembly point to advise/confirm the situation for your area.
  • If a Work Area Manager (WAM) reports to you that someone is missing pass this information to the PiC.
  • Specific security procedures, such as the securing of assets, should only be performed if they can be done without placing people at risk.
Work Area Managers report to assembly point
  • Where available, bring attendance sheets with you to the assembly point.
  • Try to account for all your team. Report anyone missing to a fire warden, along with where they were last seen.
First Aiders report to assembly point
  • Ensure that first aid equipment is taken to the assembly point.
  • Report to PiC at assembly point to advise / confirm the situation for your area.
People with special duties report to assembly point (ie. gate / door keepers, receptionists etc)
  • Report to the PiC at assembly point to advise / confirm the situation for your area.
Person in Control reports to assembly point
  • Confirm that the fire evacuation procedures are underway, as set out in your fire evacuation plan.
  • Ensure that any information that may help in trying to account for everyone, and assist the Emergency Services, is taken to the assembly point, eg. signing-on sheets, visitors’ book and site log book.
  • Ensure that fire wardens and people with special duties report to you to confirm that the building is clear or otherwise, eg. Receptionists, Doorkeepers, Security, First Aiders, Gate House.
  • Do not allow any person to re-enter the building or leave the assembly point until it is confirmed that it is safe to do so.
Co-ordinate with Emergency Services
  • Use the unit plan, to notify the Group Property & Facilities Solutions Helpdesk, Central Postal Control (CPC), Ops Control (if you work for PFW), and your line manager, who will have access to the contingency plans.
  • Use the incident log to manage the incident and ensure that contingency arrangements are deployed as necessary.

Assemble a team to manage the incident

You will be busy! So to ensure that nothing is neglected you should allocate 4 capable people and assign each of them to an area of responsibility below. Write down their names and mobile numbers. You should then get together every 20 minutes to review and record progress.
People - ensure the safety and welfare of our people

1. Record the basic incident details

  • Date
  • Time
  • Location (mark on site plan if easier)
  • How was the incident brought to your attention?
  • Brief description of incident

2. Confirm with fire wardens that the building is clear

The Fire and Rescue Service will want to know if you believe the building to be clear. (They will not put their people at risk if the building is empty). Talk to each of the fire wardens and record:

  • Their name
  • The area of the building they are responsible for
  • If they believe that area to be clear

Check off the pre-prepared zones on the site plan if easier.


3. Arrange roll calls

It is very difficult to account for everyone via a roll call (not everyone signs in, people go to different evacuation points, etc.) but you must attempt to account for everyone.

  • Ensure you have a Fire Warden or appoint a person at each evacuation point.
  • At each evacuation point, record the names of visitors or contractors present.
  • Return the list to the Person in Control (PiC) to match names with visitors’ book.
  • Ask work area managers to try to account for their people.
  • Write down the names of anyone they cannot account for and pass to the PiC.

4. Record details of any missing person, including:

  • Their name
  • Last known location

5. Record the details of any people taken away for treatment, including:

  • Name of individual
  • Taken to (name of hospital, GP surgery, etc.)
  • By? (ambulance, colleague, etc.)

6. Anticipate the needs of people still on site.

Consider what the needs of any people still onsite may be, and take action to meet these needs. These may include:

  • Information
  • Food/water
  • Shelter
  • Toilets
  • Keys
  • Cash
  • Communication with family
  • Trauma counselling
  • Transport home
  • Other
Property - assess any damage to business assets

Depending upon the severity of the incident, and without putting yourself at risk, assess the following:

  • Damage to building infrastructure
    (location, extent, impact on operation – mark on site plan if easier)
  • Damage to sorting equipment
    (mech, sorting frames, etc.)
  • Damage to vehicles
  • Access to site
    (do we have access to the site?)
  • Access to building and security keys
    (do we have access to the building?)
  • Shared site
    (list any other business units on this site)
  • Possible wider environmental damage

Note: If you have evacuated the building, it is unlikely that the Emergency Services will allow you back in – you may have to talk to people who were close to the incident.

Operations - assess the operational status

Make a quick assessment of the impact on the operation.

  • What stage of the workplan are you at?
  • What is the impact on the operation?
  • When is the next shift due?
  • Any other notes
Communications - keep people informed about what is happening

Keep people informed about what is happening.

Liaise with emergency services (if applicable)

Make a record of:

  • What services required (police, fire, ambulance)
  • Time called
  • Time arrived
  • Name of the senior officer

Note: The Emergency Services may want to know the location of your gas/electricity isolation points, etc. These should be listed in your unit plan and marked on your site/building layout plan.

Ensure information is shared within the business

Ensure that information is shared in a timely manner with Central Postal Control (CPC), Ops Control (if you work for PFW), your line manager, Group Property & Facilities Solutions Helpdesk and any other relevant business units.

Make a record of:

  • Contact name
  • Time called
  • Name of contact
  • Advice given / action promised

Refer any media enquiries to the Royal Mail Press Office

If you are approached by the media refer them to the Royal Mail Press Office (24×7) on 020 7250 2468.

Conduct a formal review

Once the incident is over the PiC must conduct a formal review, seek to identify improvement opportunities to ensure that best practice can be shared.

If in doubt at any stage always call Central Postal Control (CPC)

Central Postal Control deals with issues on a regular basis and will be able to talk you through how to deal with any situation.