853 Emergency Evacuation Teams and Drills

853.1 Emergency Evacuation Teams

853.11 Organization

In installations having 10,000 square feet or more, an emergency evacuation team (EET) of Postal Service employees must be maintained on each work tour. EETs may be maintained in smaller installations when warranted by the type of operations conducted. If available, EET members should be selected from volunteers. Every Postal Service installation with an organized EET must prepare and maintain a written policy statement that establishes the EET and describes:

  1. Its basic organizational structure;
  2. The type, amount, and frequency of training members will receive;
  3. Number of members; and
  4. Functions the EET will perform at the facility.

This statement may be a part of the fire prevention plan.

853.12 Size

The size of a facility’s EET will depend on the:

  1. Amount of fire-extinguishing and control equipment,
  2. Number of exits, and
  3. Number of employees on duty.

A schedule must be developed to ensure the availability of the EET.

853.13 Duties of Emergency Evacuation Teams

The organizational statement must clearly indicate that at no time will a Postal Service EET fight any fire beyond the incipient stage or respond to HAZMAT emergencies. Employees who have not been trained in the use of fire extinguishers must not use fire extinguishers. For Postal Service purposes, an incipient fire is one in the initial or beginning stages that can be controlled, contained, or extinguished by portable fire extinguishers without the need for personal protective clothing or self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The use of SCBA requires a level of skill and training not usually expected of Postal Service employees. Other EET duties include, but are not limited to:

  1. Stopping conveyor belts.
  2. Closing doors to rooms and covers at dump holes and conveyor openings.
  3. Directing the fire department to the fire.
  4. Evacuating injured and handicapped personnel.
  5. Inspecting the fire site with the fire department to determine that the fire is completely extinguished and that no possibility of rekindling exists.
  6. Moving vans from loading docks.
  7. Shutting down all electrical power to the building (or sections of the building) as directed by the local fire department.
  8. Maintaining perimeter security to prevent reentry until officially instructed to permit it.
  9. Accounting for all employees after emergency evacuation has been completed.
  10. Assisting the fire department to maintain crowd control.
853.14 Membership

Building maintenance employees and security personnel should form the nucleus of the EET. Additional personnel may be assigned to assure adequate coverage on all tours. The assigned members are:

  1. EET Leader. The installation head is responsible for appointing the EET leader, who should normally be the superintendent for building maintenance or someone in a similar position. The EET leader must establish a procedure to provide quarterly review of the program to ensure operational efficiency.
  2. Assistant EET Leader. The EET leader appoints an assistant EET leader. The assistant would aid the EET leader, as necessary, and act in the EET leader’s place, if needed.
  3. EET Members. Members are appointed as needed to cover all tours, with an alternate for each member. The alternate and regular should have different days off. The leader ensures that all members are physically capable of performing the duties that may be assigned to them during training or actual emergencies. Employees with known heart disease, epilepsy, or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases must not be permitted to participate in any EET activity unless they present a certificate of fitness from their personal physician stating that they are physically capable of performing such duties. Employees with physical disabilities are permitted to be EET members; however, their job assignments must be governed by their ability to perform specific tasks.
853.15 Training

Members are required to complete initial basic level and annual refresher training. Training and education must be provided to members and alternates before they are expected to perform EET activities. To the extent feasible, safety and fire department personnel should assist in establishing the EET and training its members. EET leaders and training instructors must receive more comprehensive training and education than other members. Such training may be available from state firefighting academies and local fire departments. Training for all members must be on the clock and must cover:

  1. Coordination of team activities.
  2. Performance of specific EET duties for each member and alternate.
  3. Familiarization with all fire-extinguishing equipment.
  4. Familiarization with fire alarm systems and fire and other emergency reporting.
  5. Classification of fires and the equipment used for each type.
  6. Stopping fires from spreading along conveyor belts and between work levels.
  7. Performance of first aid and rescue procedures.
  8. Conducting EET drills at least once a year to ensure efficiency.
  9. Familiarization with the facility incidental release hazardous materials (HAZMAT) Standard Operating Procedures (First Responder Awareness Level).
  10. Familiarization with procedures for special situations (e.g., tornado sheltering and earthquakes) where applicable.
853.16 Exposure

At no time should EET members or alternates perform a task that exceeds their level of skill, ability, or training, or expose themselves or other employees to unnecessary dangers and risks, including hazardous materials emergencies.

853.17 Special Hazards

The EET leader must:

  1. Inform EET members and alternates about special hazards to which they may be exposed during fire or other emergencies, such as storage and use of:
    1. Flammable liquids and gases,
    2. Toxic chemicals,
    3. Radioactive sources, and
    4. Water reactive substances.
  2. Inform team members of any changes that occur in relation to the special hazards.
  3. Develop written procedures that describe actions to be taken in situations involving the special hazards. The procedures must be:
    1. Made available for inspection by EET members and
    2. Included in the training and education program (see facility written hazard communication program).
853.18 Installations Without Emergency Evacuation Teams (Less Than 10,000 Square Feet)

In installations that do not have EETs, the installation head is responsible for ensuring that supervisors or employees are assigned the following functions in case of a fire or other emergency:

  1. Notification of fire department, police, ambulance, or other emergency services.
  2. Evacuation of personnel including injured or handicapped employees promptly.
  3. Accounting for all employees after emergency evacuation has been completed.
  4. Securing of mail, monies, receipts, and accountable and valuable papers.
  5. Use of fire extinguishers.

853.2 Drills

At least one emergency evacuation must be conducted annually on each work tour. Sheltering drills are appropriate in locations prone to tornadoes or earthquakes. The importance of fire drill training must be impressed upon all Postal Service employees. In conducting fire drills, the following objectives must be met:

  1. Prompt sounding of alarms and notification of fire department, police, or other emergency services.
  2. Orderly evacuation in minimum time.
  3. Proper securing of mail, monies, receipts, and valuable papers.
  4. Correct performance of EAP assignments by designated EET members and alternates.