When was the last time you and your staff talked about an evacuation plan? We all get so busy with work matters that external forces that would have required us to evacuate our offices are often forgotten. But fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, and terrorist attacks are all too real in this world. If we’re not prepared for these natural and man-made disasters, it might be too late for many of us.
Identifying Potential Disasters
The first thing that needs to be done is identifying when evacuation must be done. If there’s a busted electrical wire, you should call an industrial electrician from Utah or other states and have them take a look at it. You will be advised not to use some electrical sockets, but it will be no cause for evacuation.
So when is an evacuation necessary? That’s what you should figure out with your staff. Hurricanes and floods are, of course, reasons for evacuation. An office shooting, a bomb threat, and terrorist attacks are also reasons to evacuate the building.
Prepare a Basic Evacuation Plan
In a small building, evacuation won’t be too much of a problem. But in larger offices, you have to work with your office manager to create a plan for evacuating the building’s inhabitants. First, you need the layout of the building so that you can identify potential escape routes. Next, you need to designate a location to meet after the evacuation. The parking lot is the most likely choice.
Make sure that you post this plan at every hallway, door, and stairway of the office building. You also need to host fire drills for the workers so that they are aware of what needs to be done when disaster strikes. Finally, prepare an emergency kit that the evacuees can grab when it’s time to evacuate. The kit should have first-aid medicine to take care of the injured.
In every evacuation plan, there should be someone who will lead the team. That’s why assigning roles is very important. These key people should stay calm and lead the evacuees out of the building. This is crucial in ensuring that the plan stays in place and is followed successfully. Some of the key roles that you need are evacuation coordinator, head checker, emergency first aid practitioner, and alert manager.
You need to invest in equipment, medicine, and tools that will help your workers execute the evacuation plan perfectly. There should be a kit prepared specifically for every disaster. In a fire, you need a fire extinguisher, masks, fire blankets, and flashlights. In an earthquake, you need food and water. Every kind of disaster, of course, requires a first aid emergency kit. Check these kits once a month to make sure that they’re all in good condition.
Practice the Plan
The key to successful evacuation is training the staff with regular drills. You can do it once a month or once every two months. The important thing is to make the people understand how important this drill is in case disaster strikes. They should be familiar with the evacuation plan. There is no room for mistakes in most cases. Practicing your evacuation plan will help you identify areas that need improvement.
The foundation of a good evacuation plan is the communication among personnel. As long as there is a clear path of communication, the key people responsible for evacuating the building’s occupants will be able to do so. That’s why when a disaster cuts off communication lines, it is extra hard for the coordinators to lead the evacuation. You should designate coordinators for every floor or specific square foot of the office so that everyone will be covered.