The Evacuation Planning Series

This blog is the third in a series on Evacuation Planning, specifically addressing Fire Drills.  For Part 1 of the series focused on Emergency Action Plans, please see here. Part 2 of the series focused on Required Egress Posting, can be found here.

Fire drills are required within many jurisdictions that adopt NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code. They are required in education, healthcare, residential board and care, ambulatory health care, dormitory, hotel, mercantile, and business occupancies either entirely based on the occupancy classification, or in some cases, based on additional conditions such as total occupant load (NFPA 1 Section 10.5).

Where drilling is required, the following items must be taken into consideration:

  • Drills are required to be done in cooperation with the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ);
  • The frequency of the drills should be such that occupants are familiar with the procedure and can display appropriate drill procedure as routine;
  • All building occupants subject to the drill should participate and be provided suitable accommodation to participate;
  • The drills should be focused on educating occupants on the correct procedures, rather than evaluated based on the speed of the drill;
  • Drills should be conducted at both announced and unannounced times and under varying conditions to simulate the unpredictability of when a true incident may occur;
  • The area of relocation should be predetermined; and
  • A written log of each drill should be completed by the person conducting the drill and maintained in an appropriate manner.

In addition to the provisions within NFPA 1, the local AHJ may also have unique requirements.  In the case of Boston Fire Department, specific expectations are listed for essential personnel, exit drill organization, emergency systems, and emergency operation (via Department Guidelines for Evacuation Planning Fire Prevention Order 72).

There is no reason for your next fire drill to resemble a scene from The Office. If you need assistance in creating a procedure or would appreciate assistance in conducting the fire drills on your preferred schedule, our team is available for such services (



Application of any information provided, for any use, is at the reader’s risk and without liability to Code Red Consultants. Code Red Consultants does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in this blog as applicable codes and standards change over time. The application, enforcement and interpretation of codes and standards may vary between Authorities Having Jurisdiction and for this reason, registered design professionals should be consulted to determine the appropriate application of codes and standards to a specific scope of work.