By Michael Rich
Fires, gas leaks, natural disasters and other unforeseen events are among the reasons businesses each year rapidly evacuate employees.
However, safely evacuating employees involves more than running into the office and screaming, “Fire, get out!” A safe evacuation requires the development of an evacuation plan, policy, training, and more.
Here’s how your company can develop and implement a program in five easy steps.
Step 1: Appoint a Lead
The first step in developing an emergency evacuation plan is to put a person in charge of evacuations or develop an emergency evacuation team. This person/team will be in charge of developing the plan, maintaining the plan, training on the plan, and ensuring everyone successfully evacuates the building.
Step 2: Tracking
After the team/person is appointed, the first thing they will need to create is a way to document who is in the building at any given time. For most companies, this is as simple as having a list of employees working each day of the week. This includes not only employees of the company, but any possible contractors who may be in the building at a particular time. When an evacuation is performed, the lead will use this list to make sure everyone is out of the building.
Step 3: Develop Policy
The next step is the development of an evacuation policy. This program will describe to your employees the procedures for evacuation, list people who can authorize an evacuation, describe where to meet in the event of an evacuation, and more. Some common procedures to include in the plan are:
Step 4: Exit Plan
After you develop a policy, you will need to create the exit plan. Every business should have a minimum of two exit routes. To develop these exit routes, you can either get a blue print of the floor plan of your building or create a drawing of the floor plan. Draw your exit routes on this floor plan, preferably in two different colors. Once the drawing is complete, a clean copy should be hung in the employee break area along with your evacuation policy.
In addition to the evacuation map, strategically place arrows in your business indicating the path of the exit route and ensure all exits are clearly marked according to local laws
Step 5: Training/Implementation
To implement the plan, host a training session with all employees. This session should cover the details of your policy and feature a mock evacuation. Re-host this training program twice a year or whenever the evacuation plan is updated.
Michael Rich is a safety writer and researcher for Safety Services Company, a supplier of safety training materials and compliance products in North America. To learn more about the safety solutions it offers, visit http://www.safetyservicescompany.com.