Why Do You Need an Emergency Management/Evacuation Plan?
When most people think about emergency evacuation plans, often they’ll picture large-scale disasters like hurricanes or wildfires. However, emergency management plans include the response procedures for all possible emergency events big or small.
For facility managers, emergency evacuation plans refer to a document containing the policies and procedures for responding to any emergency quickly and safely. In the event of an emergency, such as a fire or active threat, occupants need to know how to identify and respond in a timely manner.
Table of Contents:
- What is an emergency management/evacuation plan and why do I need one?
- How do I create an emergency management/evacuation plan?
- How to use the emergency management/evacuation plan in the event of an emergency
- Final tips for creating and implementing your emergency evacuation plan
1. What is an emergency management/evacuation plan and why do I need one?
Getting ready for an emergency before it happens is the best way to ensure that your facility is prepared to keep your occupants safe. During the high stress of an emergency, it is extremely difficult for an occupants response to be logical and follow best practice. Instead, it is usually emotionally driven – emergency evacuation plans provide logical procedures for responding to an emergency.
What exactly is an emergency management/evacuation plan? It’s a plan spelling out what your occupants and Emergency Control Organisation (ECO) should do when responding to an emergency situation. It helps to efficiently and safely get people away from an area where there is an imminent threat, ongoing threat, or a hazard to lives or property.
Emergency evacuation plans can be made for an entire facility, or personalised in the case of a person who requires assistance when responding to an emergency.
2. How do I create an emergency management/evacuation plan?
Creating an emergency plan is an in-depth process that must outline all possible threats your facility or occupants may face and the appropriate response procedures including evacuation routes or, special consideration for certain occupants.
Generally, the emergency management/ evacuation plan is written in collaboration with facility owners, managers, occupiers, and employers alongside the Emergency Planning Committee (EPC).
First it is recommended you assess the current risk environment for your facility
- Contact public emergency services (e.g., police, fire, and emergency medical services) to find out their response time to your location, knowledge of your worksite and its hazards, and their ability to handle an emergency at your facility.
- Reach out to the appropriate bodies to find out if there are any rules or regulations applying to emergency planning at your facility and address any regulations that apply in your plan.
- Establish a clear chain of command for your occupants and ECO members. It is imperative to make sure everyone knows their role in an emergency.
- When assessing risk, sometimes an evacuation is not the recommended response to an emergency. It is important when outlining all potential emergencies, to determine which situations warrant an evacuation and which do not. For situations that do not need an evacuation, outline what response is required from occupants to ensure safety. For example, sheltering in place rather than leaving the premises.
Second, preparing a plan of action is required
- Prepare specific emergency evacuation plan procedures. You should have exit routes and a detailed emergency plan readily accessible.
- Ensure your occupants have access to all the necessary safety equipment. Make sure any safety and health materials you need are in working order and easy to access. You can discover our range of high-quality equipment here.
- Assign an assembly area for everyone to gather once they have been evacuated.
- Establish a process to account for all visitors and occupants after an evacuation. This may include visitor logs, personnel records, or attendance records.
- Practice your emergency evacuation plan using drills and keep all relevant records and plans up to date. If your workplace goes through significant changes, you’ll need to adjust your evacuation plan accordingly.
3. How to use the emergency management/evacuation plan in the event of an emergency
When an emergency situation arises, your ECO members should have already had their training to effectively use the procedures and plans laid out to ensure occupant safety.
Generally, the Chief Warden will initiate response procedures and use the installed communication systems to inform your ECO members and occupants of the next appropriate actions that must be taken.
Once an emergency has been resolved, performing a retrospective on the procedures that were followed and those that were not, is extremely important to ensuring that only effective procedures are kept in your plans.
4. Final tips for creating and implementing your emergency management/evacuation plan
We understand that creating an emergency management/evacuation plan can be difficult, however with the correct guidance and expert advice it doesn’t need to an overwhelming or troubling experience.
First 5 Minutes creates bespoke emergency management plans for all facility types ensuring our clients are compliant with Australian Standards; have the correct policies and procedures in place to respond to any emergency quickly and safely.