Emergencies tend to strike anytime, anywhere without anyone knowing. Therefore, it is necessary that we are always ready with a plan to combat the difficulties that occur near us. It also applies to workplace emergencies. Whether it is fire, flood, or bomb threat, each workplace must be ready with an action plan to avert loss of life and property.
Employers are expected to put forward an action plan that everyone has to follow in times of any disaster or emergency. However, each state has a diverse set of rules regarding the formation of emergency action steps.
For example- some states require all the organizations with more than 10 staff to have a written emergency combat plan, while others might communicate it orally. Here, we mention a few important emergency action steps that you need to follow to combat emergencies in your workplace.
Know Your Risks
Conduct a risk assessment test in your workplace to make a list of all the potential emergencies. Rank the extremities in order of importance and make your emergency combat plan accordingly. For example, if your workplace is near a coast, you should invest in resources to combat hurricanes and cyclones as they are most likely to hit the area.
Understand that the ranking of crises does not mean that you do not consider non-potent disasters. Your emergency plan must consider escape routes for them also. The depth of planning may differ based on the ranking list.
You can use a risk matrix to evaluate the chances and divide resources based on that. No emergency comes by informing beforehand, but a readily available plan can help reduce the damage and loss to property.
Emergency Response Team
The emergency action plan is incomplete without the emergency response team. This team includes a group of people who are responsible for acting swiftly in times of disaster. They ensure that all the people are safely evacuated and provided with first-aid.
Every individual in this team should be completely trained to combat the situations. The emergency training steps should include time-to-time seminars on toxic hazards to know when to evacuate or call for help.
The individuals in this team should be capable of doing their duties. As an employer, you must ensure that you have a person trained for first-aid, evacuation, etc., available at all shifts in the office. Things that the team should be well-trained in are:
- CPR, First-aid, SCBA
- Shutdown process
- Using various types of extinguishers
- Response against hazardous material
- Emergency rescue operation including search
Ideally, it is suggested that every worker in the office follows the ‘see something, say something’ approach to notice any emergency.
Response activities determine if the impact of the disaster will be less or more. Therefore, the workplace must have alignment in all response activities. The response team members are aware of their duties and perform them well in time to solve the purpose. Communication is the key to any plan. You need to have a communication center other than the management office where the response team will work.
The workplace should be equipped with safety equipment like a fire alarm, smoke alarm, extinguishers, water sprinklers, etc. A list of all the key persons along with their contact details should be readily available with each employee and at every corner of the workplace.
If the contingency requires evacuation, the accountable person should inform the police department and ensure that everyone has safely reached the assembly area. Along with the police, the medical department should also be alerted if need be.
Medical assistance is important at every emergency place, no matter the impact or degree of the disaster. The evacuation, panic, or the toxic air may cause unseen damage to people; therefore, a medical check is mandatory after being evacuated from an emergency spot.
If your workplace is farther than 3-4 minutes from the nearest medical care provider, you should have a medically trained person available in your office at all times. Additionally, an on-call medical professional to help via phone if needed. Finally, every employee should have training on first-aid and CPR.
Test Your Plan
The only way to know if the set plan will work is to run a test on it. For example, run a drill in your workplace to check if the response team works properly and clearly understands its duties.
Likewise, the security manager should have the ability to conduct a drill to check the emergency action plan. This will enable him to understand if the plan and work need any improvement.
There are two most cost-effective ways to provide emergency training to employees, lectures and drills.
Lectures are provided by trained officials who use practical and theoretical methods to inculcate the spirit of being responsive during emergencies. The drills ensure that the employees know how it may look in an actual emergency. Your emergency action steps will be incomplete if any of the points mentioned above are skipped. These are the essentials to operate a successful combat mission in an emergency.