What should an evacuation plan include?

At the bare minimum, there are six main components that must be in an evacuation plan according to OSHA. With these, the employer will be able to better prepare employees for emergency situations that may arise in the workplace, they are:

  • A way of reporting emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures for shutting down critical plant operation before departing
  • Accounting for all employees in the assembly area
  • Rescue and medical training for appointed employees
  • Emergency contact information

Evacuation plans can be difficult to create due to the sheer number of emergency situations possible. To help with this challenge, the following elements can be considered to further design and define conditions and circumstances that lead to effective emergency evacuation:

  • The conditions that require an evacuation must be considered as sometimes emergencies can be quickly resolved without the help of emergency personnel.
  • Conditions that require a shelter-in-place order must be defined as not all emergency situations require evacuation. For example, no one should go outside when a tornado is down the street or if there is an active shooter close by.
  • A clear chain of command in these emergency situations will help with organization and overall attitude during these events.
  • Complete a risk assessment before any emergency planning takes place. This is where all the information about potential hazards are gathered, then either mitigated or eliminated. Once that has been done, if any hazard remains, it should be listed within the emergency evacuation plan with its own specific protocols for getting away safely.

By remembering these core elements, the employer has the chance to build a robust emergency response plan that will ensure employees have the right resources to succeed in performing the necessary steps during an evacuation.

 

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