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3 Steps to Creating an Evacuation Plan

Evacuation plans are required in the event of an emergency. While threats can be unpredictable, there are steps you can and should take to prepare for and prevent damage from a variety of threats such as natural disasters, burglaries, fire, and more.

Extreme weather events such as severe flooding, droughts, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes have recently highlighted the critical need for better-organized and efficient evacuation plans.

Threats, however, do not stop there. Burglars, fires, and other threats could endanger your facility, employees, and property. So, what will it take to make buildings and their occupants safer in the event of an emergency? Implementing an organized and effective emergency evacuation plan can help you avoid injury, confusion, and property damage.


What exactly is an evacuation plan?

An emergency evacuation plan can vary in many ways, but it is typically a comprehensive document that identifies threats and clearly lays out procedures for what to do in various emergencies. The plan should be site-specific and should include the following:


How are emergency situations assessed?

During a workplace emergency, an effective emergency plan will facilitate and organize employer and employee actions. Well-thought-out plans and adequate training will result in fewer and less severe injuries, as well as less structural damage to the facility.


3 steps to creating an emergency evacuation plan

Because of your facility’s geographic position, several natural disasters and dangers are more likely to occur. To better prepare, learn about the types of catastrophes and other hazards that are more common in your area.

  1. Plan evacuation protocols and allocate emergency escape routes.

Floor map schematics that are specific to each floor/area of the facility should be prominently displayed throughout the structure. Exit and assembly point locations, as well as equipment such as fire extinguishers and first aid kits, should be clearly marked.

Exit paths should always be well-lit, large enough to accommodate emergency exits, clean of debris, and safe from extra threats. OSHA is an excellent resource for ensuring that your emergency exits are up to code.

  1. Establish a clear chain of command and designate the person who is authorized to order an evacuation.

When an evacuation is required, competent, trained persons who can monitor and organize activities are required to ensure a safe and successful evacuation. Employees must understand who the coordinator is and that they have the authority to make decisions in an emergency. The coordinator should be in charge of assessing the situation and deciding what measures to take. They will trigger and monitor emergency protocols, as well as alert and communicate with outside emergency agencies.

  1. Establish processes for accounting for all employees following an emergency evacuation.

Designate assembly points within and outside the institution where employees should congregate after being evacuated. They should have enough space to accommodate all personnel pleasantly and safely. Someone must be in charge of doing a headcount once everyone has been evacuated. If somebody is missing, make a note of their names and last known whereabouts and send the information along to authorities.

After you’ve developed the evacuation strategy, you’ll need to thoroughly teach all staff and building inhabitants on it. This strategy should be reviewed at least once a year and offered to new staff as soon as possible.

Maintain the evacuation strategy and convey it to staff so that they are educated and prepared in the case of an emergency. An evacuation strategy will secure the safety of all facility occupants.