New Mexico has no specific law or regulation requiring employers to conduct fire drills. However, New Mexico's own state health and safety code (NM Stat. Sec. 50-9-1 et seq.) has adopted the occupational safety standards set by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHAct). The OSH Act requires that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans in place for each worksite. Employers with fewer than 10 employees may communicate the plans orally.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires an emergency action plan to include:
- Designated monitors or guides to ensure orderly exit during emergencies.
- Emergency escape procedures and escape route assignments.
- Procedures for employees who must stay behind to maintain or terminate critical operations before evacuation.
- Procedures for counting heads after evacuation is complete.
- Rescue and medical duties for those assigned to perform them.
- Reporting procedures.
- A list of names and job titles of employees who can dispense information about the emergency action plan.
- An alarm system.
- The use of floor plans or workplace maps that clearly show the emergency escape routes.
- The designation of refuge or safe areas for evacuation (i.e., parking lots or open fields away from the emergency).
Although the following elements are not required by OSHA, they are crucial to an effective workplace plan:
- Posting of emergency evacuation plans (illustrated if possible).
- Distribution of emergency evacuation plans.
- Regular practice in using the evacuation routes (at least twice a year).
- Periodic checks for proper functioning of alarm systems, fire extinguishers, and other fire safety equipment.
- Directions requiring everyone to dial 911 immediately in case of a fire-no matter how small. (If there is no 911 emergency number in the area, the local fire department number must be posted next to the phone. If the phone is programmable, the number(s) should be programmed in.)