Creating a company emergency plan is crucial for having a safe working environment for all employees. The emergency plan will assist in minimizing damage during various emergencies and ensure that all employees know how to react and the protocols they are to follow. We will offer a guide that will include how you can effectively create an emergency plan for your business.
What is a company emergency plan?
A company emergency plan is a document that outlines the action required in different types of emergencies. The emergencies included would pose an immediate danger to employees, customers or the general public, and strategic action is necessary to minimize harm. Some emergencies businesses should plan for include floods, fires, explosions, and active shooters. Having a company emergency plan in place is crucial, and there should be regular training so that all workers are familiar with it.
How to create a company emergency plan
When an emergency occurs, the actions you take within the first few minutes will determine the severity of the consequences. Unexpected emergencies will likely happen at any time, so your company will need a plan of action that will assist in minimizing damage and loss. We will walk you through the steps involved in effectively creating a company emergency plan.
1. Anticipate your risks
An organization will likely face hazards, risks, and threats at some point in time, and if they are left unchecked, they could potentially lead to illness, injury, financial loss, and in some instances, even death. The greatest thing that you can do for your business is to review potentially dangerous scenarios through a risk assessment. A risk assessment will identify all potential hazards and analyze what would happen if the threat were to occur.
The first step towards developing an effective company emergency plan is understanding your company’s vulnerabilities, as it will assist you in protecting your employees and occupants from harm. Some emergency scenarios you should plan for include building collapse, bomb threat, equipment damage, evacuation, explosion, loss of electrical power, medical emergency or floods. The risk assessment should also prioritize risks according to their severity.
2. Assess the resources your organization has available
The resources that you have available will be essential in keeping the occupants safe, protecting the infrastructure and carrying out recovery strategies during the emergency. Therefore, you should assess the capabilities and availability of resources as this will assist in incident stabilization within your organization. The resources an organisation has include systems, people, and equipment both within your business and from external sources. You may have resources that include ambulance services, medical services, employees, mobile equipment, rescue equipment, power generators, trained personnel or respirators.
3. Create egress plans and evacuation routes
An egress plan is the map of the facility that includes critical indicators like posted emergency routes, red exit signs that lead to doorways or stairs and evacuation paths. An egress plan makes it easier for occupants that have never done a drill at your organization as it would be obvious where to go in an emergency.
Emergency services like police officers and medical personnel rely on accurate floor plans. The evacuation routes would notify emergency services about the best ways to enter the building to safely and quickly get to the threat.
If you don’t have the time to update your floor plans, then you could get help from a data collection service team as they would do the work for you. They would also walk your current floor plans and create two-dimensional models of your plans. Facility management software can be used as a visual mapping tool that will show the location of critical life and fire safety assets in an emergency. Ensure that you also show your business managers, business continuity team and local emergency personnel the locations of emergency exits, fire extinguishers, exterior doors and windows, and assembly points for personnel.
4. Create emergency communications plans and actions required
The emergency communications plan includes information on how the organization will handle internal and external crises. Internal communication should instruct employees on how to evacuate the building and relocate to assembly points. The business can send internal communications alerts through text or voice messages, emails, or paging systems. Updates can also be sent to employees on the status of the situation and notifications for when it is safe to return.
External communication during an emergency is part of the business continuity plan. External alerts discuss the disaster to critical clients, stakeholders, and the media. Your emergency communications plan should be flexible and be regularly reviewed and updated with the support of management to ensure that it addresses a variety of emergencies.
You should also develop emergency procedures that are protective and threat-specific that staff and visitors should follow in a disaster situation. This part of the emergency response plan will include life safety protocols such as shelter, evacuation and lockdown actions. You should also have the required steps for occupants during an emergency to protect themselves.
5. Train and educate employees on the emergency response plan
Your emergency preparedness and business continuity teams require continuous training and stay up-to-date on the latest emergency protocols in your business. Having hands-on training will assist your team members in fulfilling their responsibilities and roles during and after a disaster.
Create exercises that will test your team’s knowledge about the emergency response plan and allow your emergency preparedness team to host corporate safety awareness programs, emergency responder training, emergency communication exercises or orientation exercises.
Emergencies can occur anytime and happen quickly; therefore, clear communication is vital. When developing an emergency plan for your business, ensure that it is accessible and clear to all workers. You should also revisit your emergency plans at least once a year and note any changes that may have occurred to processes, resources, building infrastructure and the key personnel.
We also looked at the 5 Tips on Creating an Emergency Plan for your Family.