Emergencies happen. Are you prepared? 

Rather than reacting to situations involving dangerous events, Emergency Preparedness is about making sure we preempt these scenarios, and prepare safety protocols accordingly. We at Cairnmead Industrial Consultants know how important each member of our team is to the whole organisation, so we understand how important yours is to you and your business too. 

Comprehensive emergency action plans are unique to the setup of your individual business and are based on the building itself (the way it is designed) with regards to the number of people that work there, where each of their offices are situated in relation to the exits — and more. It’s about safety for each and every person who comes to work each day, and beyond the moral obligation of enforcing protocols that guarantee your employees’ safety, there are legal requirements that businesses are expected to adhere to, too.  

Are you prepared for an emergency? 

Our specialist services will work with you to conduct: 

  • a comprehensive emergency evacuation plan for the premises in accordance with the guideline contained in Schedule 1 of the Emergency Services By Laws 
  • an evacuation strategy that is designed for the specific needs of persons with disability 

Transparency is key 

From emergency evacuation plans to fire protection programs and evacuation drills, once we at Cairnmead Industrial Consultants have worked with you to develop relevant, tactical, effective and current protocols, it is important to fulfil the awareness of these protocols in ways that employees can access and understand them. 

From signage, diagrams and instructions, evacuation and safety protocols should be displayed in accessible areas that make them available to all employees. 

Remember: It’s about making sure your employees, and any visitors to your premises, feel considered, valued, safe and protected at all times. 


In the event of a fire and the dangers of smoke within a building, people will need to know where their closest exit is in relation to where they are when they are made aware of a fire. 

Fire escape diagrams should be developed according to legal standards and placed in accessible areas throughout the building, indicating: 

  • You are here 
  • Escape Routes 
  • Emergency Equipment locations  
  • Emergency Contact Numbers 
  • Emergency Assembly Points, etc.

Fire alarm systems are required to meet the strictest standards and should be tested and maintained in accordance with the law. Inspections by members of the fire fighting service will require you to present your fire fighting equipment and evacuation procedure plans. Talk to us about fulfilling the complete approach to Emergency Preparedness. 


While fire is the most obvious example of an emergency within the workplace environment, there are other concerns to be prepared for. This is why we advise that you set up a committee that works with us to establish effective protocols regarding Emergency Preparedness. 

Regular drills are designed to test the situational readiness of your Emergency Preparedness from the perspectives of: 

  • Management 
  • Health & Safety Representatives
  • Fire Teams 
  • First Aid Teams 

Things to get right 

Once your committee is established, you should set about coordinating the following: 

Emergency Assembly Point: 

A designated area outside that is close enough to the building to be reached with ease, but not so close as to pose continued danger. This is where all employees would evacuate so as to take a register of all in attendance and ascertain who might be missing. There also needs to be a focus on and direction to a secondary assembly point in case the primary assembly point is not accessible. This area needs to be clearly signposted in accordance with Emergency Service By Laws. 

Fire / Emergency Drill: 

Carrying out a fire drill is as important as any plan or procedure. Your employees need to be familiar with the procedures on a good day, so that they can carry this out on a bad one. It is regulation that the building owner gives tenants and their employees at least 21 days’ notice before executing a fire-drill, while being sure to carry these out at least twice a year. 

Disability Protocols: 

National Building Regulations require Emergency Preparedness that caters to persons with disabilities. Floor and ground surfaces play an integral part of the accessible route throughout the premises, both internally and externally, as part of the continuous path of travel. They need to be stable, firm and slip-resistant under both wet and dry conditions. 

Safe refuge is to be provided for persons with disability on each floor along the emergency staircases with location and direction indications clearly displayed, where immediate escape is not passable

Provision of Escape: 

Escape routes should be kept clear of obstruction with escape doors being fitted with an emergency door release where an electronic locking device may exist. Law mandates that such locking devices must be able to unlock automatically in the event of a fire or when power to the locking device is interrupted. 

Stairways should be kept clear of obstruction with adequate hand railings, and ramps are required to be no steeper than 1:12 (when measured on the centre line) and should have handrails on both sides. 

Have there been any changes to your organisation’s layout or floor plans? 

Remember, a robust Emergency Preparedness Plan is only as effective as it is current. We at Cairnmead will ensure that your evacuation plans are reviewed every 12 months, and/or whenever there have been any adjustments to the layout of your premises. This will also ensure that you are in line with any emergency preparedness updates regarding the bylaws in your area.  

Legal Requirements 

From First-Aid specifics to the dozens of SANS requirements associated with Emergency Preparedness By Laws, we at Cairnmead Industrial Consultants are proudly informed and experienced on how each of these pertains to the setup of your operational space, and of the ways in which we can guarantee you the best advice on coordinating your emergency strategies.

Take a look at our blog about Building Compliance where we share valuable insights on how to make sure the actual building is ready for an emergency. 

Don’t let the onslaught of an emergency be something your organisation isn’t ready for.  

Visit our site to explore some of our proudest achievements in the Occupation Health and Safety space, or contact us about your needs and let’s put our combined 267 years’ experience to work for you. 

Christof Lourens 

CEO Cairnmead Industrial Consultants (Pty) Ltd 

Tel: 012 346 5752 | Email: christof@cairnmead.co.za

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