How to Prepare an Emergency Evacuation Plan for Workplace Safety?

There are all kinds of workplace emergencies that one is unprepared for! But there are some for which one can prepare fully and well in advance so that if God forbid, they do strike, an appropriate and well-informed response is triggered. Emergency evacuation procedure is one such response that assures a small business’s safety, reputation and financial viability. Workplace safety is important, and here we have shared an in-depth guide to preparing you for an emergency evacuation plan that works on-ground and not just on paper. 

Key components of an emergency evacuation plan for a facility:

A visible chain of command when it comes to allocating specific duties: 

Authority is crucial when it comes to taking big decisions on-ground in case of an emergency. For example, a chief fire warden is best equipped and trained to take the final decisions about evacuation, and related questions. Similarly, in a multiple storey building, a floor coordinator can be appointed for each store. He/she can handle emergency evacuation procedures of that specific part of the office. The CEO might be the official head of an organization, but a fire warden might be the go-to guy when it comes to correct implementation of an EAP. There must be a clear-cut designation and distinction in duties and responsibilities when it comes to emergency preparedness in a workplace. Only then the actual plan can work out in an uncomplicated manner. 

Floor plans for high rise buildings: 

If your company has a set of floors, it is all the more pertinent to create separate floor plans, and allocate floor allocation responsibility to different people. A single person may be ill-equipped to handle all the floors together or may not even be able to access all the floors in case of an urgent threat. Each floor should be allocated a separate escape route and refuge area, depending upon the number of people that needs to be evacuated.

Designating who will finally shut down critical operations : 

So, you’ve taken all the important steps like safe evacuation, taking a roll call of staff, and so on. But did you know that all the critical operations need to be closed down too in case of a fire emergency? A specific person must be designated with this responsibility. For instance, a factory might require manual closing of certain equipment, which is crucial to minimize the financial damage to the whole unit. A person or a group of people must be given the responsibility to shut down all operations and close the doors so that fire doesn’t spread to adjacent buildings. 

Maintenance of safety equipment:

Safety equipment or PPE is not a piece of jewellery that will grow vintage with time. It is metallic equipment that might stop functioning and get jammed. So, once you purchase the equipment, it is important to maintain the same on a weekly or monthly basis. Personal protective equipment or PPE like safety glasses, face shields, fire extinguishers, special gloves or shoes come in handy when a facility is hit hard by a chemical explosion, fire or any other kind of hazard. There should be an adequate number of pieces of equipment present in an organization especially after the staff numbers start growing. When it comes to an emergency, you can’t afford to have PPE for one person at the cost of another. This will only result in chaos and disorganization. 

First aid training should be mandatory: 

Not all workplaces can afford a medical supervisor. Sometimes, even a hospital is also not in the vicinity. Basic first aid training is a must in such cases. No emergency arises with any warning, which means any medical emergency can result in injury or worse, death. While a professional responder must be contacted as soon as possible, little first aid tips can come quite handy to enable the safety of all the employees. 

Special provisions for people with special needs:

Hearing impaired, vision impaired or physically disabled people have different sets of needs when it comes to an emergency evacuation. A fire warden or emergency coordinator must be pre-informed about such people, and make separate provisions for each such individual. 

A viable emergency evacuation plan is a combined effort of a lot of people – fire warden, owner of the enterprise or manager of a building, employees who have been allocated different responsibilities, security personnel and so on. Like any other system, this system will also work perfectly when each part plays its role efficiently, and when there is a clear chain of command when it comes to decision-making. Though emergencies might not come up for a lot of years in a facility, it doesn’t mean that one small human error or fault in equipment can never happen. 

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