North Carolina has no specific law or regulation requiring employers to conduct fire drills. However, federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) standards, adopted by North Carolina's own occupational safety and health act, require that companies with 10 or more employees have written fire prevention and emergency exit plans for each workplace. To ensure that the exit plan can be executed properly in an actual emergency, it is advisable to rehearse regularly, with annual or semiannual drills. 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 OSHA does not require the following elements, they are crucial to an effective workplace plan:
- Posting emergency evacuation plans (illustrated if possible).
- Distributing emergency evacuation plans.
- Regularly practicing use of the evacuation routes (at least twice a year).
- Periodically checking for proper ...