Workplace fires are an uncalled-for hazard that can occur at any place and at any time. Fires are one of the biggest hazards that could arise in a workplace. Whether it is an office, restaurant, or construction site, fire can occur anywhere, and mostly, the only way to save yourself from it is by successfully evacuating from the dangerous area.

Therefore, it is your legal responsibility as a construction site manager to ensure the safety of your workers and protect the site from potential hazards. One of the most critical safety measures is having an evacuation plan for fire safety.

Workplace fires pose a massive threat to a person’s health and destroy everything in their path. According to a report by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were an estimated 3,750 fires on construction sites in the United States in 2019, resulting in $322 million in property damage.

With that, it is easy to evaluate how big of a threat workplace fires are. In this blog, we will guide you on developing an evacuation plan for your construction site to minimize the risk associated with it.

What are your duties as a responsible person?

The responsibility for making health and safety policies at a construction site usually falls on the construction site manager or supervisor. It is your duty to ensure that the construction site is safe and healthy for all workers, visitors, and the general public.

As a responsible person, you must make arrangements for the event of a fire emergency, most probably an evacuation plan. When drawing an evacuation plan, you must consider various factors, such as your workplace and the people within. One of the primary steps to accomplish this is conducting a construction risk assessment in your workplace.

Doing so takes into account the observation of the workplace, identifying the risks, and finding out who is at risk during the emergency event. These measures allow you to implement safety measures that eliminate the risk associated with fire hazards. Assessing the premises would help you determine how to plan an evacuation plan.

What should you include in a fire evacuation plan for your construction site?

  • A fire evacuation strategy – Assigning roles to competent persons such as fire wardens and marshals would help carry out a smooth evacuation process in case of fire. Assign roles and responsibilities to workers to ensure a coordinated response during an emergency. For example, designate a fire warden responsible for ensuring all workers are accounted for and a first aider who can provide medical assistance if needed.
  • Alarm systems – Alarm plays a vital role in alerting people to an emergency in the workplace. A proper alarm system would make everyone aware so they could prepare themselves.
  • Escape routes – Labelling clear explanations, clear signage, and visual representations would instruct the workers to exit the building safely during an emergency. You must determine the safest and quickest routes for workers to evacuate the site and inform them of the nearest emergency exits.
  • Emergency doors – Emergency doors play an essential role in stopping the fire from escalating. You should ensure that any escape route is easy to open and accompanied by instructions.
  • Fire-fighting equipment – Fire-fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and dry blankets should be placed in accessible areas around the construction site. This would allow the trained employees to put out the fire and, in some cases, stop it from escalating.
  • Contacting the emergency services – The sooner the professionals arrive, the better. You should plan how the emergency services should be called and who is responsible.
  • First aid – First aid should be present in inaccessible areas around the site. In the case of fire-related injuries, such as burns, the availability of first aid would allow a person to assist the injured person and protect their injury from worsening.
  • Assembly point – Your assembly point should always be an open area away from all the combustible materials in an open plain. This area should be designed accordingly so that all the workers can gather in case of an emergency after evacuating from the site.


It is vital to enhance our staff’s learning through appropriate training to ensure fire safety in the workplace. By providing your employees with proper training, they will learn about fire prevention and response measures and the evacuation processes that will assist them in safely evacuating the fire area.

By appropriate training, your staff members could implement the safety measures they were taught and take their well-being into their own hands. Ultimately, training massively minimizes the risks that are associated with fire hazards.

Hence, you should never ignore the importance of training, as it brings various benefits, such as legal compliance and the safety of lives. Remember! It is crucial that you tailor the training to your site so that the evacuation process can be as smooth as possible.

Fire evacuation strategies

The fire evacuation strategy that you would design depends on your premises. Some elements of a fire evacuation apply to all premises, such as having designated roles for fire wardens and marshals that take responsibility during the event of a fire.

The four types of fire evacuation strategies are:

  • Simultaneous evacuation: This strategy involves evacuating the entire building or area simultaneously, typically through all available exits. This strategy is suitable for small buildings or sites with few occupants, where a quick and safe evacuation can be accomplished.
  • Vertical or horizontal phased evacuation: This strategy is used in larger buildings or areas where evacuating everyone at once may not be practical. In this strategy, occupants are evacuated in phases, either horizontally (floor by floor) or vertically (zone by zone). This allows for a more organized and safe evacuation while minimizing the risk of congestion and panic.
  • Staff alarm evacuation: This strategy is used when the fire alarm system is not automatically triggered or when staff needs to be evacuated before the general public. In this strategy, designated staff members are responsible for triggering the alarm and ensuring the safe evacuation of all occupants.
  • Defend in place: This strategy is used when it is safer for occupants to remain in the building rather than evacuate. This may be the case if the fire is contained in a specific area of the building or if the building is designed to withstand fire for a certain amount of time. In this strategy, occupants are directed to a safe area of the building and instructed to close doors and windows to prevent the spread of smoke and fire.

The Dos and Don’ts of Fire Evacuation

It is important to be aware of the dos and don’ts of fire evacuation so that your and others’ safety isn’t compromised.


  • Raising the alarm by operating the nearest alarm point available.
  • Ensure that any visitors on the construction site are escorted from the building.
  • Evacuate to the assembly point as you were taught in training.
  • Remain at the assembly point until told to do so.
  • Only return to the fire area if you are authorized or competent enough.


  • Avoid using the lifts. There is a higher chance of you being stuck inside if the lift stops working.
  • Do not run during the evacuation process, as this causes stress and panic among people and can lead to accidents.
  • Do not hesitate to leave your personal belongings behind. Your safety should be the primary concern.
  • Only attempt to fight the fire if you are trained personnel.


In conclusion, developing a fire safety evacuation plan for your construction site is crucial for protecting the lives of your workers and visitors and minimizing property damage. By assessing potential hazards, identifying evacuation routes, designating emergency roles, and conducting regular training and drills, you can ensure that everyone on your construction site is prepared to respond appropriately in a fire emergency.

Remember, fire safety is everyone’s responsibility, and a well-developed and well-implemented evacuation plan can make all the difference in keeping your construction site safe. So, take the necessary steps today to create a fire safety evacuation plan that meets your construction site’s needs and provides the highest level of protection for all.

Evan Zhang

Evan Zhang earned his Master’s in Construction Management from the University of Michigan and has 9 years of experience in commercial and residential construction. Evan joined our website as a freelancer in 2019, providing insights into construction methodologies, building codes, and safety standards. His background includes working as a site manager and a construction consultant. Evan also worked on various urban development and infrastructure projects. Evan is a DIY enthusiast and a mentor for young professionals entering the construction field.

Write A Comment