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How to build the ultimate emergency evacuation procedure checklist

2 Mar, 2021

No business is immune from the risk of an emergency – that’s you simply must be prepared. 

Emergencies can happen anywhere, whether at home or work. The nature of emergencies is that they’re extremely sudden and come out of nowhere, taking you by surprise. They won’t give you any notice, and they certainly won’t give you time to prepare.

The most common types of emergencies are:

  • Accidents: fires, hazardous material spills, explosions, and structural collapse
  • Natural Disasters: floods, bush fires, weather disturbances and earthquakes
  • Physical Violence: civil disturbance, security threats/terrorism

Any preparation done beforehand will therefore be a game-changer in the unfortunate event that disasters and emergencies strike, which is why it’s crucial to do your work ahead of time. Emergency preparedness is a well-known practice for the protection of workers’ safety and health. Not sure how to prepare? Here’s our advice to help you build the ultimate evacuation procedure checklist: 

 

Plan an adequate response to each possible hazard situation

Different emergency events have different risks. Here in Australia, fires are common, and so are floods, natural disasters, and even sometimes earthquakes. Each will require you to take a different approach to emergency planning and evacuation. That’s why you’ll need to list out all the possible scenarios and plan your responses separately to accommodate each kind of emergency. 

  • The Australian Government suggests that you complete a detailed scenario plan based on your top three ranking critical business areas.
  • Appropriate systems must be in place to ensure that all workers are able to evacuate to a safe location during an emergency situation.
  • Determine the safest evacuation points and area to evacuate for the type of emergency and nominate meeting places – both nearby and further away from the site. 
  • The Australian Standard AS 3745 – Planning for emergencies in facilities/building recommended that occupants with disabilities needing assistance to evacuate during an emergency shall be provided with a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP) as part of the overall emergency plan.
  • If the facility has persons currently under mandatory isolation due to concerns about COVID-19, they must evacuate wearing suitable face masks and protective gears. They shall remain separate from the main assembly area and observe social distancing at all times.

You’ll need to ensure your Evacuation Plan is up to date.

As part of this step, you should find the most effective method of:

  • Notifying emergency services organisations at the earliest opportunity in each scenario.
  • Providing crucial medical treatment and assistance.

Next, it’s time to pack your emergency kits: 

  • Emergency kits should include important medical supplies, first aid, and several important documents. The contents of your safety kits will depend on your business, its needs, the amount of personnel evacuating and other factors.
  • You should be made aware of your team members’ medical conditions so you can ensure you have all the essential medications and dosages they could need in your kit. 

 

Ensure your emergency procedures become common knowledge

There’s no point in having an amazingly thought out emergency procedures checklist if your team and workers don’t understand them or have access to them. So, how do you make your procedures common knowledge?

Firstly, you’ll need to make them physically accessible to your team and workers. Here’s how: 

  • Attach a copy of your procedures and building floor plan with the location of emergency exits, emergency kit and safety equipment clearly marked. 
  • Your emergency procedures should also include a map of evacuation locations and area for all emergencies. 
  • Always ensure your evacuation procedures are clearly displayed in your facility and building premises using evacuation diagrams.

Secondly, you’ll need to ensure that your personnel/staff are well-trained in your procedures. Here’s what you’ll need to do:  

  • Give your employees and workers regular, hands-on training in your evacuation plan. Training provides a massive amount of important information to your team that they can’t simply figure out on the spot. This should include fire equipment training. Learn more about why emergency training is important. 
  • Ensure employees and workers know where your emergency kit is located or stored, where the evacuation diagrams are located and who the Fire Wardens are.
  • Conduct regular fire safety drills. Not only will this help refresh your team’s knowledge, but it will also help you iron out any kinks in your emergency procedure checklist to help you improve in time for the possible real event. 

An Important Reminder

An effective Emergency Response Plan paired with evacuation diagrams and ongoing training makes an extremely effective evacuation action plan. It may be the difference between life and death. It is the person’s responsibility to conduct a business or undertaking to ensure an emergency plan is prepared specifically for their workplace. If your workplace does not consist of an up-to-date emergency plan, you as the owner or manager could be subject to fines up to $30,000. 

Key resources for your Emergency Evacuation Checklist

 

Not sure your emergency evacuation plan is up to scratch? Fire Block Plans is here to help you and your team. Our highly-qualified experts will help find a suitable emergency evacuation plan, no matter how unique your requirements may be. Contact us today for more information.