Nobody can tell when a disaster could strike. It can happen to anyone, at anytime and anywhere. Whether it’s a fire, an earthquake, a hurricane, floods, or even a terrorist attack, you’ll never know when it’s going to happen. You can, however, help people during disasters and emergencies through comprehensive disaster management planning. This includes drafting an emergency evacuation plan for your workplace.
Developing an evacuation plan is one of the best things that you can do for your business. A well-drafted and well-practiced evacuation procedure can save lives during emergency situations. It can safeguard the safety of your employees and the continuous operation of your business. It can also save you from injury and death claims in the future. Fire evacuation procedures are necessary before, during, and after a disaster. A typical evacuation plan includes detecting problem areas, making decisions, advising people of the situation, controlling reactions, proper movement of the crowd to safety, and immediate transportation.
A workplace emergency is an unforeseen situation that threatens employees, customers, or the public; disrupts or shuts down operations; or causes physical or environmental damage. Emergencies may be natural or man-made. These include floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, fires, toxic gas releases, chemical spills, radiological accidents, explosions, civil disturbances, and workplace violence resulting in bodily harm and trauma.
While business organisations may have different evacuation plans and procedures; the government has developed general guidelines in drafting and creating an evacuation plan. Business owners should designate an emergency coordinator and as safety monitors in the workplace. They should provide trainings and seminars to train these people on their responsibilities during emergencies.
Employers should also post floor plans with evacuation routes on all work areas, including corridors, basements, and stairways. A meeting site at a safe location outside of the building should be established and known to all those within the building. Most importantly, the evacuation plan should be reviewed and practiced twice or thrice a year along with critiques, to know and check its efficiency.
The best way to protect yourself, your workers, and your business is to expect the unexpected and develop a well-thought-out emergency action plan to guide you during emergencies.