During an emergency evacuation, panic is your enemy. Prepare everyone with these 7 tips for an effective evacuation plan.
No one likes to think about disasters, but the truth is they happen. In some ways, companies have become better at preparing for disasters. Actions such as earthquake-proofing your business are possible. Panic never helps anybody. It simply makes bad situations worse.
So how do you not panic during an emergency? It all starts with having a plan to get everyone out. So here are seven ways you can create a panic-proof evacuation plan.
1. Understand Your Insurance
Business owners may not realize that some naturally-caused damage to their building might not be covered by their insurance. This might simply be due to the area where your building resides. Do you know what your building’s insurance policy covers? If you don’t, it’s time to find out. Make sure you have the coverage you think you may need and make necessary changes if you can. Are fires common in your area? You’ll likely want insurance that covers fire and smoke damage.
When disaster strikes you don’t want to be worrying about money. Having insurance in place can give you greater peace of mind because you already know the most important things are covered.
2. Include Everyone
Every member of your company should know the evacuation plan procedures. Make sure everyone is familiar with it and review it often.
As part of your evacuation plan, you can create assignments. Who’ll be responsible for what? Your plan is a great place to lay that all out. This way, you won’t have everyone running to protect one thing at the same time. Instead, different people can take care of the important documents, the employees and locking up the building at the same time.
3. Set up a Practice Schedule
One of the best ways to keep everyone from panicking is to practice. Once you’ve got your plan in place, set up a practice schedule. Make sure everyone knows what their role is. Run different scenarios and take note of how well they go. When you find issues, fix them.
Did an entire team go to the wrong meet-up place? That’s a problem. So is having your leader use drill time to play a game on his or her phone. Practice often and make sure everyone takes your plan seriously. The more prepared your whole team is, the less panic there will be.
4. Keep It Flexible
Having a plan is great, but if it’s too stringent of a plan, it can add complications to itself. Make sure your plan has some fluidity to it. In other words, there should be more than one way for your employees to evacuate smoothly and safely.
Create your plan with the idea that some things probably won’t go according to plan in an actual emergency. Some people might panic and go the wrong way. Most likely something unplanned will happen. As you train your employees, help them realize that sticking to the plan is best but that if they aren’t able to, there are other ways to stay safe. Doing this can help your employees if something actually happens.
5. Don’t Wait
It’s easy to keep putting off creating your evacuation plan or running a practice session. You really shouldn’t wait, though. This will only add to the panic of the emergency.
For example, you shouldn’t wait until big summer wildfires are popping up everywhere around you to create your plan. Bringing up emergency preparedness when people are already nervous because of current events will automatically bring panic and fear into the picture. Instead, create your plan early before there’s any sign of danger. This will allow your employees to learn and practice evacuation procedures when they aren’t worried.
6. Set up Emergency Alerts
How will you know when there is an emergency? Make sure you have this planned out and that your employees know about it. You can sign up for governmental alerts that are applicable to your area.
You don’t want to find out about an emergency situation from a breaking news text on an employee’s phone. Make sure you hear as soon as possible so you can do your best to keep your employees safe. Once you’ve determined where your alerts will come from, set up a system for alerting your employees so you can pass the information on. Then you can conduct an orderly evacuation.
7. Pay Attention to the Little Details
Often, the smallest details can make or break a great evacuation plan, so pay attention to every part of your plan and look for the little things.
You may not think that a single door could pose a problem, but it could. If a door that bars one of the main exit ways has hardware that sticks sometimes, that alone could induce a panic. Make sure all locks and doors are in good working order.
Lighting can also be a big factor. If the power goes out and your employees can’t see where they’re going, that can create a major safety hazard and quickly lead to panic. Consider adding emergency lighting for safer exit options. It’s easy to get caught up in the actual running of things, but these “little” details can often play a big part in how your evacuation goes.
Keep Panic at Bay with an Evacuation Plan
When an emergency comes, the last thing you want to do is panic. That will only make the situation worse for everyone involved. To keep your panic at bay, create an evacuation plan today.
Planning ahead gives you a course of action. You’ll know exactly what you need to do when an emergency arises. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your evacuation plan today.
Is your business recovering from a disaster that has already happened? Contact us today to get the help you need.