Evacuation procedures for office buildings will vary depending on staff size, building size and the type of emergency that is requiring that the office be evacuated. However, there are evacuation procedures which remain constant, whether you are reacting to a bomb threat, fire or a volatile materials release.
As soon as you hear an alarm or are told you need to evacuate the building, stay calm. Fear is contagious, and if you panic, your co-workers may panic.
Stop what you are doing and move to the nearest exit. Only if it is safe to do so, should you stop to grab personal belongings, such as your purse, car keys or jacket. Under no circumstances should you try gathering files, photos or other items that you will not immediately need, insists the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the University of California – Berkeley.
Avoid using the elevator to evacuate the building. Not only does the University of California – Berkeley not recommend using elevators, so do other fire preparedness organisations like the Seattle Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division. During a fire or other threat, elevators may not work properly, and you could be stuck in the building, without a means of escape.
Assist those with Disabilities or Other Impairments
Those who have difficulty moving should move to a more protected environment, such as a stair well or enclosed office area, away from immediate danger. Relying on the buddy system, they should have a co-worker relay their position to the fire brigade. For the hearing or visually impaired, you must find a way to communicate the danger to them, and help them evacuate. Have a piece of paper and pen handy, in case you need to write quick commands, for those who are hearing-impaired, suggests the Office of Emergency Preparedness at the University of California – Berkeley.
Designated Meeting Area
All building personnel should congregate at a designated meeting area, at least 100 feet outside the building, suggests the North Carolina Fire Department. Never re-enter the building, unless you have received permission from police or other authorities on the scene.