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How does a successful evacuation end

How Does a Successful Evacuation End?

How does a successful evacuation end

October 26, 2021 Posted by in Crisis Communications

Does your successful evacuation end with your organization getting back to business? The immediate drama of an emergency event is no time to start figuring out how to implement safety practices and save lives. If you have a plan in place, and your staff learns it and practices it in advance, your evacuation will more than likely end successfully.

It doesn’t matter if the evacuation is due to a minor disruption or a more serious crisis — you’ll need to make sure you are able to reach and communicate with your people in any circumstance, like with a mass emergency communication system.

Think of how a successful evacuation could happen under the following situations:

  • severe weather
  • communication network failure
  • active shooter
  • IT or machine malfunctions
  • security breach

Here are a few key considerations to help you gauge a successful evacuation:

Does your successful evacuation end with you being able to count and acknowledge all the people impacted by the event?

Beforehand, think of all the people connected to your business who will be impacted with a highly effective evacuation plan. This includes staff, customers, vendors, and visitors — anyone who may be caught up in the event. Don’t forget to give thought to those with disabilities and others who may need additional help. During the event, make sure your mass notification system can help you with a headcount and acknowledgement of everybody on your list. Don’t leave anyone behind.

Designate alternative evacuation routes and a designated place to meet. 

Where does everybody go once they are out of the building? How far away should they travel? Will the emergency responders know where to find them? Does your mass notification system help everybody stay informed and up to date on where to meet? If these details are pre-arranged and communicated well, your evacuation has a better chance of being successful.

Remember that a successful evacuation also ends with secure assets as well as secure staff.

It’s great that you are thinking about the safety of people first — and you definitely should. However, think about how your company assets will be protected during the course of the evacuation. You may not be able to save or take along files, computers and desk drawers. Staff may be concerned about their personal property and not want to leave them behind. Figure out a plan on how to safely lock and secure the premises so that looters can’t get in, and make sure that everybody is out of the building before locks are activated. Again, always “people first.”

Make your staff aware of any evacuation issues in advance.

If your staff is aware of specific evacuation issues, they may be more willing to drill and practice an escape plan with procedures that offer successful solutions. In advance, show them what may be a problem: one exit route vs. another, proper illumination in hallways and stairs, specific fire-department-approved escape routes (and routes that could lead to trouble). Firsthand knowledge in advance could save lives and make for a successful evacuation.

Practice your successful evacuation ahead of time. 

Estimate the amount of time it would take to have a successful evacuation. Allow real time for the tasks that need to be done — what may need to be shut down and what may need extra time and care. Find out who may need special assistance and who will be able to take charge in helping make the actual evacuation happen. Then drill it.

Review and evaluate your notification system 

Remember that it’s not only about fire alarms and strobe lights. The protection of your staff goes far beyond that. A mass communication system is vital to the success of your evacuation. Be sure that your system allows for both written (like text messages), recorded and live-voice messages, as well as pre-written easy-to-follow directions to your recipients. Test the technology regularly (and often) to make sure that it works properly — and that you and your people can use them without trouble or time wasted. Be aware of any malfunctions or weak links in the system.

Schedule regular reviews and updates

An evacuation is not successful if your plan is not airtight and your people are not protected. Regular reviews and critiques of your plan are important. Make necessary changes, listen to feedback, identify problems that occurred (both large and small) and know your plan’s strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, drill, drill, drill. Practice makes perfect — make sure everybody knows what to do and where to go if there is a next time.

Bottom line 

How does a successful evacuation end? The ultimate indicator of the success of your evacuation plan depends on notification and preparation. Make sure you can get the word out there, to the right people at the right time, with clear, specific instructions that can help save lives.

Buildings.com offers further information on how to plan a successful evacuation. Click here.

The Insurance Information Institute offers a five-step plan for a successful evacuation. Click here.


 


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