Commercial Building Emergency Protocols
Your procedures and rules for emergency conditions could be the difference between life and death. Workplace disasters continue to fall as safety recognition and education come to the forefront, but, unfortunately there are still about 14,000 workers killed every year. Many of these deaths are caused by workplace accidents, but deaths can also occur if the proper protocols for fire emergencies, floods, and other types of disasters are not in place. Certainly, malfunctioning machinery and equipment have a big impact on workplace accidents, but that’s not the only concern. Too often, building owners and managers think “that won’t happen to us.” It’s almost always a case of “when,” not a matter of “if.” Even more distressing is that building owners and managers can prevent most of these accidents, and can recover quickly from disasters when they are properly prepared!
What Is A Workplace Emergency?
What can constitute an emergency does not have a perfect definition, except for the fact that it presents a danger to the health or well-being of the people inside of a building. It can be a natural disaster or manmade, such as terrorism. Often, human error or mechanical failure is the culprit. We also know that not every crisis is going to be the same, either, since some may require evacuation of the building, and others require that the people inside stay inside for the duration of an emergency.
Establish coordination and evacuation procedures.
- Education is critical: Proper training and education for the people inside the building as to the various protocols in place, is a requirement. Having the best laid plans means very little if they can’t be followed under a stressful set of circumstances. Documentation on protocols should be readily available, and awareness of how to access them should also be distributed.
- Good Information is important: Communication between designated associates can be key in the proper handling of an emergency situation. There should be a select group of people, ideally with each to a floor of a building, who are responsible for both sending and distributing any information that is relevant to the situation. If there’s a fire, those individuals should know which areas of a building to avoid during evacuation, such as stairwells that may be affected.
- Evacuation can protect lives. Appropriate evacuation procedures and planning can be the distinction between being overwhelmed by smoke, or safely exiting a building. These evacuation measures can also ensure that you won’t encounter a problem with trampling, the jamming of points of exit, and other problems that can arise whenever a mass of people are suddenly panicked. Make sure that evacuation procedures are in place well in advance of any disaster.
How can employees help?
Keep lines of communication open at all times, including being approachable for information. Encourage employees to sign up for safety training and answer questions they might have about procedures and expectations. Part of your job as a building manager or owner is to promote knowledge and understanding of the best ways to stay safe. Remember: The more informed the people inside are, the calmer they may likely be when disaster strikes, and that reduces the chances of panic.
After the disaster, you need fast recovery!
A pre-disaster plan should be put in place to assist with the quick recovery of operations when disaster does strike. By developing a relationship with a PREP Certified™ contractor, you can establish a detailed and comprehensive pre-disaster plan. Your Priority Response Emergency Plan™ (PREP) might be the best recovery program you implement. Contact Rocky Mountain Restoration for information on a PREP™ program at no charge.