No one knows when disaster could strike, it can happen anywhere at any time. The best thing we can do for ourselves and our employees is to have an emergency evacuation plan.
It is important to establish a Chain of Command by designating certain people to ensure that proper emergency procedures are being followed during an emergency evacuation.
The first person in the chain is the designated Point Person. This person would be the one to alert emergency services and decide if it is necessary to evacuate the facilities. The next person in the chain is the designated Coordinator, this person completes a list of safety tasks such as shutting off gas lines, checking offices and bathrooms to ensure everyone has evacuated safely. The next person is the Head Counter, this person does a head count to make sure everyone is present and accounted for. If someone is missing it is this persons job to let emergency services know so that they can begin a search and rescue protocol. The last person in the chain is a Triage Person, this person would handle minor first aid for cuts and burns until emergency services arrives and can take over. All of these positions are necessary but multiple positions can be fulfilled by one person.
The next important thing in your emergency evacuation plan is a designated meeting place. This is VERY important because it allows the Head Counter to get a quick and accurate head count making sure everyone is present and accounted for.
Practice makes Perfect. It is important to practice evacuation drills on a regular basis to ensure everyone knows exactly what they are supposed to do. It helps eliminate chaos and regular practice makes sure even new employees know exactly what they are supposed to do.
A good evacuation plan keeps employees calm and gives them a checklist for exactly what they are supposed to do. It keeps them focused on the task at hand and their #1 goal which is to get to safety. It is also important for all employees to know what they are supposed to do so that they can aid any visitors that may be present. Also, make good use of the practice drill time by making sure that escape routes are clear from clutter and that all fire safety devices are in working order, (fire extinguishers, smoke detectors etc.) and to ensure that all first aid devices are in their proper place.
A good plan is a plan well executed.