Nobody hopes for a workplace emergency; however, creating an emergency evacuation plan is an essential step in protecting your employees, workplace and business. At a minimum, your emergency action plan should include the following:
- A method of reporting fires and other emergencies
- An evacuation policy and procedure
- Emergency escape procedures and pre-assigned routes, such as floor plans, workplace maps and refuge areas
- Names, titles, departments, and telephone numbers of individuals both within and outside your company to contact for additional information or explanation of duties and responsibilities under the emergency plan
- Procedures for employees who remain to perform or shut down critical plant operations, operate fire extinguishers, or perform other essential services that cannot be shut down for every emergency alarm before evacuating
- Research and assign any medical duties for workers designated to perform them
One of the most commonly forgotten elements of a company’s means of egress is a clear (and documented) understanding of the emergency response plan. To develop this customized emergency plan, start with a handful of key questions:
- Who will order the evacuation?
- When will the order be given?
- Who will supervise the evacuation?
- How long will the evacuation take?
- How will the evacuation routes be maintained?
For these questions, consider the types of emergencies possible such as floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radiological accidents, explosions, civil disturbances and workplace violence. Specific emergencies may be more likely in your geographic area or line of business.
By brainstorming each emergency scenario, you can think logically through what you need to do in a crisis. Consider what should be happening in your facility in the event of a disaster:
- Do you have the proper systems and equipment?
- When was the last time your fire alarm or sprinkler was inspected?
- Will the proper authorities be alerted?
- Do you have fire doors in place?
Being prepared with a well-communicated emergency evacuation plan is vital for every business. Use the OSHA workbook, How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations, and contact a Koorsen associate to discuss creating a customized emergency evacuation plan equipped with all the necessary emergency products and services.