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Any community rec center is littered with potential fire hazards, and these can lead to dangerous incidents if not accounted for by your facility’s staff. Therefore, it’s important to have the right fire emergency protocols in place, and ensure your staff is well-educated on how to handle a fire emergency.

For more insight on how best to respond in the event of a fire emergency, Community Rec spoke with Brian Rammer, the executive director of the Fox West YMCA in Greenville, Wisconsin, about the fire emergency protocols his branch puts into practice:

What protocols do you have in place for fire emergencies?

BR: We have a specific plan for fire emergencies. Certain staff are responsible to check the fire alarm system to determine where within our facility an alarm was pulled or activated. Occasionally, an alarm will be pulled inadvertently by a child, so we try to determine if there is an actual emergency or not. We have staff responsible for getting members and participants out of our facility quickly and safely. Instructors are to take their rosters and make sure all members are accounted for as they exit the facility. And we have designated locations outside out facility to meet.

How do you educate your staff on these procedures?

BR: We have all staff attend an emergency response training within 90 days of being hired. Each department also reviews their safety procedures on a regular basis.

Were there any challenges in implementing them?

BR: We have had our procedures in place for quite some time. We review those on a regular basis to make sure it is up to date, and address any changes or concerns.

How do you educate members on emergency protocols?

BR: We have maps with evacuation routes in each room — these show the closest route out of the facility.

Any other advice for fire emergency protocols?

BR: Make sure to review your plans on a regular basis and try to address the “what ifs” as best as you can.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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