When there is an emergency, it is crucial that everyone knows what to do and where to go. That is especially important at the workplace where the number of entrances and exits are greater than in the home. In the case of any dangerous unforeseen events, either natural, accidental or manmade, a plan should be in place to ensure that all employees are able to leave the building safely.
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Long before there's any need for an evacuation, businesses should formulate an emergency plan in case there is a future need for one. This emergency plan should include not only the proper way to report emergencies, but also describe the methods to give employees information on what they should do. Include floor plans that illustrate evacuation routes and a list of people and phone numbers to be contacted in case of an emergency. Since it may be necessary for certain employees to remain behind at first to shut down equipment operations, it is important that these people are aware of the procedures they must follow. Keep a list of those trained to perform rescue or medical operations and notify all employees of their rendezvous location.
Train all employees on what to do if there is a need to evacuate the building. In some cases, certain employees may require special training in the shutdown procedures of equipment. Since injuries are possible during an evacuation, identify the employees who are trained in first aid. These employees know not only how to treat injuries but also how to use emergency equipment, such as escape respirators. Practice drills test if employees are up to date on evacuation procedures. Afterwards, management can go over the results of the mock evacuation and see if any improvement is needed in the evacuation plan.
During an evacuation, designated "wardens" will confirm that all employees in their area have exited the building via the pre-established routes that are clearly marked and free of obstruction. Once outside the building, employees should report immediately to designated assembly locations to determine who, if anyone, is missing. If any employee cannot be found, his name and last known location should be given to rescue officials so that a search can be made of the building, provided it is safe to do so. Only after an employee has checked in with someone in charge should they attempt to leave the site. If it is possible, employees can go home by normal means. Otherwise, the company should provide them with transportation of some sort.
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