Top 5 Issues to Consider when Planning Responses to Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations

July 29, 2018

Having a written response plan specific to the type of emergency and the location(s) involved

Example: for active shooter response plans, though they might contain the same components from one site to another, the specific directives will vary according to factors such as:

  • Size of facility
  • Number of occupants – population of employees and public
  • Rural, suburban or city environment
  • Response time for public emergency services
  • Type of access control at your facility
  • Other factors

Note: the response plan for this emergency will be very different from a fire emergency

Employee training – the staff will need to know (based on the type of emergency) what they should do and how they need to assist their visitors/customers during the emergency:

  • How to evacuate
  • Where to evacuate
  • Accountability
  • Assistance for disabled, etc.

Identify and test the audible notification system for the facility – how will everyone know what the emergency is, where it is happening, and what his or her immediate actions should be. Also, how will you confirm that the public emergency services have been notified?

Develop event specific evacuation instructions – These should include:

  • Evacuation routes
  • All exits are mapped
  • Instructions for how to interact with responding police and public emergency services
  • What should or should not be taken when evacuating
  • Leaving doors open or closed
  • Assuring access controlled doors are all open for emergency

Have established relationships with the police and other emergency services and coordinate your response plans with them in advance – Emergency service responders need to know what your plan is and you need to know what they will expect from your staff and occupants. This can help shape a better response/evacuation plan for the specific circumstances that might vary from one emergency type to another.

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