• Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

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Safety First: Well Organized vs. Poor Emergency Response Plan

exit sign

Emergencies are something we never really want to happen, but always need to be prepared for. Especially if you’re a business owner, having a proper emergency response plan in place is something that you are required to have by law, but even if that wasn’t the case, it’s something that you should definitely always have planned out carefully. Getting a proper emergency plan can be a lot of work and so can be finding the right tools to use to be able to successfully carry out an emergency evacuation from the premises for any reason.

Emergency Response Plan
Source: geosmartasia.org

Emergencies are always scary and some people tend to lose their cool. This is completely natural and is also something you should take into account when making your emergency response plan. You should always start by getting a clear map of your building so you can figure out which ways are best to take if an evacuation is to take place. You should also train your employees for such emergencies, even though the chances of them happening are pretty slim. Being prepared is what counts and can literally be the difference between safety and catastrophe. 

Here are a few ways to see if your emergency response plan is good enough and if there’s anything you can do to make it better, faster, and safer. 

Proper Signalization 

Places that don’t have proper emergency signalization installed are places that just aren’t safe, especially if we’re talking about a location that gets crowded most of the time or where many people spend time during the day. A poor emergency evacuation plan is one that misses the basics of emergency evacuation – exit signs and emergency lighting. A proper emergency response plan always has good signalization in place to guide people away from danger.

emergency- response plan
Source: evacdisplays.com

There are a lot of options for emergency lights nowadays. You can buy spitfire emergency lights, an interesting technology that is eco-friendly and saves on power while still being extremely efficient in emergency situations, can serve as regular exit signs, LED exit lights, and so on. By having emergency signs and emergency lights installed you’re making sure that no matter what the emergency actually is – you, your customers, and employees are completely covered. 

Relying on electricity for emergency signs and lighting is a sign of a poor emergency plan. Instead, use substitute methods, like the ones mentioned above, and always do regular checks on them to make sure they won’t fail you if the time comes to use them.  

If your lights are running on batteries – check them, if they are spitfire emergency lights that light up when it’s dark – check them. No matter what kind of lighting you decide to use, always test it out immediately after installation and also every once in a while so you can be absolutely sure they’re functional. Also, pay attention to where you place your lights. They’re supposed to lead people to the exit and give enough visibility if the power runs out, so keep this in mind when installing them. 

Source: zoro.com

You should always buy quality-made, durable emergency lighting and signs, otherwise, you’re the owner of a poor emergency response plan, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to avoid.

Clear Chain of Command 

As I said, in emergencies, people can lose their cool and start panicking. You should always keep this in mind when creating your plan and establish a clear chain of command. In a place without a chain of command during emergencies chaos is sure to erupt, leaving everything and everyone into a huge mess. Once order is lost, it’s very hard to be restored, especially when lives are in danger. 

First aid
Source: alsco.com

To avoid this, train with your employees and do emergency drills regularly so that everybody knows what they’re supposed to do. Assign different tasks to different people, choose a leader for every shift, make sure your employees know the plan thoroughly and won’t become one of those people who panic if danger strikes. You should also pay extra attention to new employees and bring them up to speed with your evacuation plan, and assign them roles so they aren’t caught off guard. You should do this immediately upon hiring them as you can never be sure when they’re going to need the knowledge or skills. 

A Way To Account For Everyone  

Always keep a clear and neat register of who’s on shift every day so you can keep the number and names of employees in mind. You should also have a rough estimate of how many people are in your establishment so that if you do have to evacuate, you can be sure nobody’s left behind. A good way to do this would be to assign one of your colleagues to be the one that leaves last and checks everything out before they exit. You may also be this person if that feels more comfortable to you. 

Source: bizjournals.com

As the owner or manager of the place, you’re in charge, so it makes sense that you be the one who makes sure everyone is accounted for. If you’re not around, always have someone appointed to be that person instead of you and do a quick sweep before they run out themselves. Once everyone is safely outside, if the circumstances allow, gather everyone and ask around if everyone is safe and sound. If your business has customers, ask them if they can see the people they came with. 

The emergency services are probably already on their way since your emergency plan is stellar and you’ve already called, or have a system in place that will call them for you. If not, definitely consider getting one. It will save precious time when it’s scarce, leaving everyone free to do their assigned work and make sure each person has exited the building safely, avoiding injuries. 

By Anthony Hendriks

The life of the party, Anthony is always up for spending some time with family and friends, when not blogging of course! Ever since a child, his love for books of mystery, race cars and travelling keeps on growing so it's difficult for him to single out that one all-time favourite hobby. If there's one thing he hates, though, it's having pictures taken but you already guessed that from his choice of plant photo for the blog.