Evacuations can vary depending on the area or site being evacuated and also by the type of event that prompted the evacuation. Specific processes and procedures need to be in place to address site specific issues. However there are several standard procedures that all evacuation plans should include.
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Conveying The Message
Conveying the message to all residents and those in the evacuation area is a standard procedure that is at the heart of any evacuation. You need to make everyone in the area, whether a building or a city, understand that an evacuation has commenced and they are to follow escape routes and leave the area immediately. This message needs to presented in a succinct and reliable manner. You should use a combination of mediums to convey the evacuation message with clear instructions. For example, a hurricane evacuation of a city would have warning sirens plus an announcement on television and radio that states that an evacuation is underway that requests residents leave the area by following evacuation route signs and markers. You need to quickly get the message out to as many people as possible.
Implementing Plans and Maps
You need to put all of your preplanning tools and procedures into effect immediately, and follow the steps and processes outlined in the plans. Preplans such as evacuation maps, fire evacuation plans and disaster recovery plans should all be adhered to and information contained in the plans should be quickly and accurately reviewed. The point of having preplanning in place is that when the actual evacuation occurs you have crucial contact and area information at your fingertips and easily accessible. Copies of the plans should be distributed immediately to everyone involved in the evacuation.
Quick and Efficient Exits
Evacuations routes follow the fastest ways out of an area and also include contingency plans for alternate ways out of harm's way. These routes are outlined in the master evacuation maps. They are to be followed when an evacuation occurs. Standard procedure for an evacuation is to follow routes that had been established as the escape routes prior to the event occurring. Officials in charge need to be aware of where the flow of traffic will be heading. You should not change escape routes in the middle of an evacuation unless the situation forces both the primary and secondary exit areas to be inaccessible.
Coordination and communication among those responsible for the evacuation should occur throughout the entire process. You also need to check in with those in charge of the evacuation to gauge the success of the evacuation. This includes making sure everyone was able to safely evacuate. Following contingency plans for those that were unable to evacuate is also important.
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