What Is An Emergency Evacuation Plan?
In simple terms, an emergency evacuation plan is a clear, well-rehearsed plan of what you and your employees will do in the case of an emergency. It usually details the best escape routes, meeting places to head to, and anything else of importance that could help you escape a dangerous situation safely. Emergency evacuation plans should be practiced regularly, and new staff should be briefed on them. They should be visibly present in every room in your building, within reason.
Why Do I Need A Clear Evacuation Plan?
A clear, well-defined emergency evacuation plan will allow you and your employees to safely escape from your building in the case of an emergency like a fire. Some of the reasons you should always have an emergency evacuation plan include:
- You are required by law under OSHA legislation.
- It will reduce confusion in the event of an emergency, reducing the risk of the emergency escalating and spiraling out of control – and avoid any legal issues following avoidable accidents.
What Should My Emergency Evacuation Plan Include?
At a minimum, the plan must include but is not limited to the following elements:
- Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
- Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
- Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
- Accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
- Rescue and medical duties for employees performing them
- Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted
Although they are not specifically required by OSHA, you may find it helpful to include the following in your plan:
- A description of the alarm system to be used to notify employees (including disabled employees) to evacuate and/or take other actions. The alarms used for different actions should be distinctive and might include horn blasts, sirens, or even public address systems.
- The site of an alternative communications center to be used in the event of a fire or explosion.
- A secure on- or offsite location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees’ emergency contact lists, and other essential records.
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