When it comes to emergency evacuations, all employees must be on the same page. To ensure that your employees are adequately trained in case of an evacuation, follow these best human resources practices for emergency plan training.
The Emergency Planning Team
Management must create an emergency planning team with representation from various departments and the human resources department.
The human resources department is primarily responsible for working with management to develop an appropriate emergency evacuation plan. That is because the well-being of employees and the development and implementation of policies and procedures involving employees is the primary role of HR.
In addition, employees will need to be trained on the emergency evacuation plan Again, training is an HR task.
Include Employees in the Development of the Emergency Plan
Do not just develop the emergency plan without involving your employees. Involve them in every step of the process, from identifying hazards to conducting drills.
By doing so, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Define the Scope of the Emergency Plan
The emergency planning team must identify all possible types of hazards and emergencies that they must plan for. They must include all those possibilities in the emergency evacuation plan.
What are the specific procedures that your employees need to know in order to safely evacuate the premises? Make sure that all employees are aware of these procedures and understand them completely.
Print handouts for every employee. Put up signages to direct employees in an emergency. Ensure that there are emergency lights beside the signs that automatically turn on in case the power goes out.
Apart from evacuation, there must also be an emergency plan and training for building lockdowns and sheltering in place in case the emergency calls for it.
Establish an Emergency Communication Plan
In case of an emergency, it is important to have a way to communicate with all employees. The emergency planning team must establish an emergency communication plan.
This plan must include how management will communicate with employees during an emergency situation. It should also include how employees can communicate with each other and with management.
There are many ways to establish an effective emergency communication plan. One way is to create a contact list of all employees and their contact information. Another way is to set up an employee hotline that employees can call in case of an emergency.
Provide an Emergency Plan and Training for Employees with Disabilities
Special attention must be given to employees with disabilities. They may require assistance during an evacuation.
There should be a designated person who will help them during an emergency. That person must be properly trained on how to provide the required assistance.
The plan and training for employees with disabilities must be included in the overall emergency plan. Do not forget about them when conducting drills or otherwise training employees on the emergency procedures.
Train Employees on the Use of Evacuation Routes and Exits
Employees should be familiar with all possible evacuation routes and exits from the building. They must be instructed on the use of the electrified push bar on the exit door. By pushing the bar outward, the door automatically unlocks, enabling people to leave.
Conduct regular evacuation drills so that employees become thoroughly trained on the procedures and can react quickly in case of an actual emergency. Set target time limits for everyone to get out of the building. In random drills, block certain exits so that employees will be trained to quickly find alternative routes.
They should also know how to use any safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers, that may be required during an evacuation. Do not just give written or verbal instructions. Every employee must have the opportunity to handle and operate each piece of equipment.
Ensure that all employees know the location of the designated assembly area where they should meet after evacuating the building. Provide feedback to employees after each drill so that they can improve their performance.
Train Employees on What to Do to Shelter in Place
The same kind of training and drills must also be conducted for sheltering in place. Employees must know where to go and what to do.
As in the case of alternative routes, they must have multiple options for sheltering in place.
Review and Update Your Emergency Plan Regularly
Make sure to review and update your emergency plan on a regular basis so that it remains relevant and effective. As your business changes and grows, so too should your emergency plan.
Add new employees to the plan and remove those who are no longer with the company. Keep track of employee absences so that you can account for everyone in case of an evacuation.
Monitor the building for any changes that could affect the evacuation routes or exits, such as construction work or new furniture. Make sure that all employees are aware of these changes.
By following these best practices, you can be confident that your employees will be prepared in case of an emergency evacuation.