To be properly prepared for an emergency situation your workplace needs to have an emergency plan.
More than just a list of actions, an emergency plan is a documented set of instructions giving clear directions on what to do in an emergency. It explains clearly and simply what workers and others in the workplace need to do to protect themselves and if needed evacuate the premises.
An emergency plan must include the following emergency procedures:
- An effective response process to emergencies
- Evacuation procedures
- Who should notify emergency services and how.
- Arranging medical treatment and assistance, including first response
- Effective communication systems between the person coordinating the emergency, emergency services and all people in the workplace.
How to make sure your plan works!
Having a well documented emergency plan is essential for any workplace. Just as important is ensuring that it works! Built into your plan should be a testing program.
This includes what tests should be completed and how often. It should also include performance indicators such as a target evacuation time and measuring the responsiveness and effectiveness of the plan.
Regular testing not only ensures that people know how to follow the plan, but can also reveal the affects of any workplace changes or weaknesses in the plan. If people know, for example, that a particular area is on the evacuation route, they will be more likely to keep it clear and accessible.
Another important area along with testing is training. A well managed evacuation plan requires the right people providing direction and working together to coordinate the process. A great example of the training your workplace may need is Fire Warden Training. Given to the right people, this course can give them the skills they need to respond to an emergency and coordinate an evacuation.