Strategic Planning and Safety Tips for Emergencies and Evacuations
No one intends on having an emergency, but it is critical to have a plan in place in the event you need to evacuate or deal with an unlikely emergency event. Strategic emergency planning is fundamental to ensure workers in the office or the field are prepared should an emergency occur. Emergency response plans differ depending on the environment you work in, such as in a large office building or on a remote job site. The number one tip for an emergency is to stay calm and follow the plan. Aside from being required by OH&S, having an effective emergency response plan will help prevent loss, injury, and death. This article explores some of the most important safety tips as well as the elements to consider when constructing your emergency response plan.
Simply making an emergency respond plan does not guarantee that the plan is effective. Several factors need to be included in your strategy to ensure it will have the largest impact:
- A Clear plan
- Designated chain of command
- Muster point
- Emergency supplies
- Floor maps
- Incident Reports
There is no room for ambiguity when it comes to an effective emergency response plan. All employees need to have a clear understanding of what they need to do if an evacuation or emergency does occur. All employees need to be informed about the plan and trained accordingly. Designating a single trainer, or otherwise known as a designated fire marshal, is the best method to ensure all employees are on the same page. A chain of command is crucial to establish so that when it comes time to make critical decisions, there is no valuable time wasted. All emergency supplies should be recorded and updated frequently such as fire extinguishers or first aid materials. All employees should also have access to the floor maps and evacuation routes. It is a good idea to have them posted around the office/job site and available digitally for on-demand access. Finally, incident reports need to be filled out after the incident to have a record of what occurred, and any plans to ensure it does not happen in the future. Having access to these in digital form ensures that they can be accessed on-demand and are not left behind. It may be beneficial to have a digital folder, accessible by all employees and management, where all your emergency documents can be stored.
Here are a couple of tips to ensure your emergency preparedness plan can be executed as efficiently as possible.
Tip #1) Make sure all emergency doors are kept unlocked
During regular business hours, make sure all designated emergency exit doors are unlocked from the inside to ensure exits are accessible.
Tip #2) Do not store anything in front of evacuation routes
The designated evacuation route(s) should always be kept clear of any furniture, boxes, or other clutter. The evacuation should be as seamless as possible.
Tip #3) Have clearly marked exit signs
Lareg bright overhead exit signs should be visible throughout the office and on the job site, so employees know where to go in the event of an evacuation. Alternatively, doors that may appear to be exits, but are not, should be marked as well to avoid confusion.
Tip #4) Ensure emergency plans are current
A job site can change daily, and any emergency routes need to be updated and communicated to employees. Hold a daily toolbox talk on the job site to discuss any changes that may need to happen and ensure the most current emergency response plan is known. In the office, it can be forgotten easily, your designated emergency fire marshal should ensure all plans are current and all equipment is in good condition. Check those expiry dates.
Tip #5) Practice makes perfect
Once employees understand the plan, practice it. Hold practice drills frequently to ensure that employees know exactly what is expected of them in an emergency and there is no confusion on procedures.
Nobody expects emergencies or evacuations, but the reality is that they can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. The first step to mitigate any major loss to person or property is having a clear emergency response plan created and communicated to every individual in that office or job site. Disorganized plans can result in injuries, property damage, and potentially death. Practice drills and ensure your employees are prepared in the event of an emergency. Being aware of these common errors and knowing these helpful tips will help you create a great evacuation and emergency response plan to keep employees safe.