Emergency and Disaster Planning | 10 Critical Procedures to Follow

Firemen fight three-alarm fire in Houston in 1986.Critical emergency and disaster planning can’t wait. Because when an emergency situation arises, it’s too late to plan.

Now is the time to take every precaution possible to ensure the safety of everyone in your facility during an emergency. Not only is it good business practice; in most places, it is also the law. Here are some tips to help you develop and implement an emergency exit plan today.

Emergency and Disaster Planning Procedures

  1. Create a basic floor plan diagram in black and white. Keep diagrams simple. Avoid including extraneous colors and features.
  2. Make sure to prominently show primary and secondary exit locations.
  3. Never use elevators in an emergency evacuation plan.
  4. Do not designate a restroom as an emergency exit. Even if it has a window that employees could get out of, it is not a good idea to use windows for evacuation.
  5. Design exit paths away from rooms containing potentially hazardous materials.
  6. Do not designate narrow passageways for emergency exits as there may not be enough room to accommodate an emergency evacuation situation.
  7. Make sure your workplace is equipped with signs reading “Exit” with an arrow pointing in the direction of the nearest emergency exit if the path is not immediately apparent.
  8. Designate an assembly area that is safely clear of the building. This should be shown on the emergency evacuation plan. All employees should gather at this place in an emergency.
  9. Designate exits with wheelchair access.
  10. Make sure to clearly indicate the employee’s current position on the map. This may require making several versions of the emergency evacuation plan for various areas throughout the facility.

Other Action Items to Do Today to Implement an Emergency and Disaster Plan

SmartDraw emergency and disaster planning tools let you quickly and easily create exit plans and other diagrams for critical situations.

  1. Create your emergency and disaster plans with SmartDraw, then print and post them throughout the facility. It’s best to have them framed and mounted in convenient places.
  2. Designate responsibilities to specific people in an emergency evacuation situation, with one person having primary accountability for emergency planning and procedures.
  3. Set up periodic practice drills so everyone understands what to do in an emergency evacuation situation. These walk-through drills will also help you to identify any areas of concern that need to be addressed now.
  4. Enroll in the Red Cross Ready Rating™ program.
  5. Get more information about emergency management from FEMA including downloading their emergency guides here.

Editor’s note: This post was on our editorial calendar long before the San Diego region was hit by wildfires this week. We want to extend our sincere thanks to the firefighters and emergency personnel who have worked so hard. Our thoughts and wishes go out to our employees, customers, friends, and neighbors at this difficult time.

2 Responses to “Emergency and Disaster Planning | 10 Critical Procedures to Follow”

  1. Brenda July 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

    Thank you for the explanation. These are good tips for an evacuation plan.

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