In the case of emergencies such as fires, earthquakes or bomb alerts, it is essential to be aware of the rules governing evacuation assembly areas. First of all, OSHA guidelines state that evacuation assembly areas are those places where the occupants of a particular building congregate after everyone has left the building following certain alarms or transmitted warnings. Likewise, FEMA has published advisories to warn and inform those facing emergency alerts in a closed area or building to follow certain rules with regard to assembly areas.
Choosing an Assembly Area
Notifying building occupants of the evacuation assembly area location is one governing rule. OSHA has rules asserting that floor plans illustrating locations in the building should clearly indicate the assembly areas. Before an emergency arises, all occupants of a building should be aware of the area's location through posted signs, illustrated charts and notices. Periodically, emergency evacuation drills should be performed so individuals can become familiar with procedures. These assembly areas are normally located outside the building in an open space so everyone can gather and be identified.
Evacuation Coordinators and Wardens
The duty of the evacuation coordinator is to identify everyone present in the assembly area after the rooms or buildings have been vacated. One coordinator should manage a unit of at least twenty people so order can be maintained and a list of missing members can be reported to other emergency personnel. FEMA regulations state that evacuation wardens, shelter managers and other evacuation directors should be chosen and delegated particular assignments in an emergency situation.
Further Evacuation and Special Accommodations
At the assembly areas, there must be plans in place for sending evacuees home. Transportation provisions such as carpooling or utilising chartered company buses or vehicles are some ways to facilitate further evacuation. Special accommodations for the disabled must be in place so assembly areas are accessible for them.
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