How to create an Emergency Evacuation Plan for a school
Creating an Emergency Evacuation Plan for a school is a big undertaking – but it’s also a critically important one.
With unpredictable events such as bushfires, floods, and extreme weather conditions becoming more frequent, it’s crucial for schools across Australia to have a well-thought-out evacuation plan in place. Emergencies, while rare, can put students, staff, visitors and teachers in grave danger if they are not mitigated effectively. Thankfully, the right planning and preparation can save lives. Here are some steps you can take to create a more effective Emergency Evacuation Plan:
Conduct a risk assessment
The first step in creating an effective emergency evacuation plan is to conduct a thorough risk assessment. To do this, you’ll need to identify potential hazards that may cause an emergency in the school – for example flammable items, gas leaks, or even flood zones. Once you’ve identified any hazards, the next step is to work out the level of risk and potential impact of each hazard. Only once you know what the risks are, and the extent of the danger they pose, can you work to mitigate them.
Create evacuation procedures
Once you know your risks, it’s time to define your evacuation procedures. It’s important to determine the best evacuation route for each classroom or building in your school, taking into account the potential hazards and risks that may lay along the way. Assigning a teacher or staff member to each evacuation route is a critical part of this process, helping to ensure that everyone is accounted for and safe.
Thoroughly training your staff in your emergency plan, and how to use evacuation diagrams and fire equipment is also an incredibly impactful and effective step toward improving emergency preparedness and safety. As is establishing solid communication protocols and procedures to ensure that everyone is informed about the emergency and what they need to do.
Conduct regular drills
Having drills from time to time is one key way to test out your evacuation plan – and to ensure that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency. You should conduct evacuation drills a few times each year, and be sure to document the results and use these to identify areas for improvement. Trust us, a drill will expose weak points in your evacuation plan if they’re there – helping you improve staff and students’ awareness of their roles, procedures and the location of emergency exits and assembly points. You can also think of these drills as an opportunity to test your communication system and make any necessary adjustments.
Ensure accessibility for everybody
Your evacuation plan should be accessible to everyone – including small children, and individuals with disabilities, both cognitive and physical. It’s important to consider those who may require special assistance, and what type of assistance that might be. Ask yourself – can I expect this person to escape safely on their own? If the answer is no, you’ll need to create a Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan (PEEP), for that person. It’s critical that you Identify any potential barriers that may prevent someone from evacuating the building and make those necessary modifications to ensure everyone’s safety.
Update and review your plan
Even the best evacuation plans need to be updated from time to time to remain relevant. Your emergency evacuation plan should be regularly updated and reviewed regularly – especially if there are changes in the school environment. Review the plan after any significant change in the layout, staff, or student population of your school.
Remember: Communication is also key. It’s essential that you make sure that all staff and students are aware of any updates or changes to the plan. It’s also important to keep your communication system up to date and ensure that all contact details are accurate.
Ready to improve your school’s emergency preparedness? At Fire Block Plans, we’ll create a tailored emergency evacuation plan that not only fits your unique requirements but leaves you feeling far more prepared for the unexpected. Don’t wait for an emergency to strike! Get in touch today to kickstart the journey towards a safer school.