How prepared are you, your workers and your facility for an emergency evacuation? Don’t wait until an actual emergency to find out. If you don’t already have a plan in place, start creating one today.
WorkSafeBC offers these guidelines for creating a solid emergency response plan for your facility:
- Determine the conditions under which an evacuation is necessary.
- Designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and emergency exits. Make sure they are clearly marked and well lit. Post signs. Install emergency lighting in case a power outage occurs during an evacuation.
- Ensure that evacuation routes and emergency exits are wide enough to accommodate the number of evacuating people; clear and unobstructed at all times; unlikely to expose evacuating people to additional hazards.
- Coordinate your plan with the local emergency management office.
- Designate “evacuation wardens” who will help others during an evacuation and account for employees.
- Establish specific evacuation procedures.
- Establish a system for accounting for evacuated employees.
- Hold emergency drills at least once a year to ensure that employees know what to do in an emergency and to test the effectiveness of emergency exit routes and procedures.
- Consider the transportation needs of employees.
- Post evacuation procedures where employees can read them.
- Establish procedures for assisting people with disabilities and people who do not speak English.
- Consider how you would access important personal information about employees in an emergency.
It’s also important to establish safe assembly areas for employees to congregate during an evacuation. Also, train your employees on the proper actions to take when an emergency happens and an evacuation needs to occur. Finally, provide employees support after an emergency so they can more easily transition back to normal responsibilities.