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There are electric and manual detectors that function by detecting either smoke or heat. We will cover the weekly testing of detectors and common cases of detector misuse. There should be a dedicated person on hand to call the fire service and to get the visitor book and communicate with the fire service when they arrive.
A manual system could be as simple as shouting "FIRE" or ringing a bell. There also could be an automatic system that would sound an alarm, maybe activate the EMS, set off sprinklers or do many other things. Alarms are usually zoned so that you can see the source of the fire from the control panel.
Regular practice sessions are needed to ensure that all staff know what to do in the event of a fire alarm and how also to get visitors out to a safe assembly point. Ideally, these sessions take place at least twice a year and more frequently in higher risk areas. The best type of practice is one that is unannounced and its findings should be reported and acted upon.
The target is to evacuate in less than 4 minutes. It is very important to have a nominated person to call the EMS, give exact directions on where the building is, what is wrong, and whether anyone is trapped.