Emergency Evacuation Plans are necessary. While threats can be unpredictable, there are measures you can and should take to help plan for and prevent damages from various threats like natural disasters, burglaries, fire, and more.
Extreme weather like severe flooding, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes have recently caused an urgent need for more organized and efficient evacuation plans. Threats don’t stop there though. Your facility, employees, and property could be threatened by burglars, fires, and more. So what it is going to take to make buildings and their occupants safer during such emergencies? You can avoid injury, confusion, and property damage by implementing an organized and effective emergency evacuation plan.
What Is An Emergency Evacuation Plan?
An emergency evacuation plan has many variable factors but is usually a comprehensive document that identifies threats and clearly lays out the procedures on what to do during certain emergencies. The plan should be developed to be site specific and should cover the following:
- How emergency conditions are evaluated
- Proper evacuation policies and procedures
- Emergency reporting mechanisms
- Alarm systems
An effective emergency plan will facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well-developed plans and proper training will result in fewer and less severe injuries and less structural damage to the facility.
3 Steps to Create an Emergency Evacuation Plan
Your facility’s geographical location will mean different natural disasters and threats are more likely to happen. To best prepare, learn about the types of disasters and other threats that are more common in your community. Such as we, in California, must plan for fire, earthquakes, and other disasters. Earthquakes, tornadoes, fires, and burglaries can all pose threats to your business and employees. Here’s how you can start on creating an effective plan to mitigate threats and be prepared for emergencies.
1. Determine evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
Floor map diagrams should be prominently posted throughout the building and be specific to each floor/area of the facility. Locations of exits, assembly points, and equipment like fire extinguishers and first aid kits should be clearly marked. Exit routes should always be well lit, wide enough to accommodate emergency exits, clear of debris, and should keep personnel safe from additional hazards. OSHA is a great resource for ensuring your emergency exits are up to standard.
2. Implement a clear chain of command and designation of the person authorized to order an evacuation
When an evacuation is necessary, you will need responsible, trained individuals who can supervise and coordinate activities to ensure a safe and successful evacuation. It is critical for employees to know who the coordinator is and understand that they have the authority to make decisions in emergencies. The coordinator should be responsible for assessing the situation and determining what actions should be taken. They will activate and oversee the emergency procedures, and notify and coordinate with outside emergency services.
3. Create procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation
Designate assembly places inside and outside of the facility where employees should gather after evacuating. They should have enough space to comfortably and safely accommodate all employees. Once evacuated, someone needs to be in charge of taking a head count. If there are people missing, take note of names and last known location and pass the information to officials.
Once the evacuation plan is finalized, you will need to thoroughly train all employees and building occupants on the plan. This plan should be reviewed annually and presented to new employees as soon as possible. Keep the evacuation plan up-to-date and communicate the plan to employees so they can be educated and prepared in the event of an emergency. An evacuation plan will ensure the safety of all occupants in a facility.
Register for our free business security assessment, which can help jumpstart an evacuation plan by assisting with having the right security equipment in place, such as a fire alarm system. Our trained professionals visit your site, walk through the facility and location, and recommend products to increase security. We offer a full line of business security system products to work alongside you and enhance your evacuation plan. Contact us to learn more about our verified security solutions.