How to develop an emergency response plan
You’ve spent years building your business and assembling your team. Your company is thriving and the office is a place you actually look forward to visiting. In short, your dreams are coming true. With so much at stake, office safety is more important than ever. Having an emergency plan in place to keep your people safe is one of the most important things to do as a small business owner. Luckily, developing a proper emergency response plan is not too difficult. Developing this important tool will help you keep your people safe.
Survey your office
The first step to developing your emergency response plan is to survey your office and look for risks. Keep in mind regional-specific disasters, such as earthquakes on the West Coast or tornados in the Grain Belt. Make sure all tall furniture and heavy objects are secured and do not pose a risk of falling and injuring people during an emergency. Look for issues such as doors that do not latch properly or supplies that have been stored haphazardly. These hazards could trip people during evacuation or prevent quick escape. Make sure all preventable risks are taken care of so that your people aren’t dealing with more issues during an emergency.
Test your emergency lights and EXIT signs to be sure that they are properly lit. If they are not in working order, replace them immediately. If a storm or other disaster leads to a power outage, your people must be able to clearly see how to exit the building or move to a sheltered area. Your emergency lighting should comply with all OSHA regulations to ensure the safety of your employees.
Test evacuation routes
Are you sure that your current evacuation plan is the most effective? It can be valuable to test other evacuation routes to see what will be the safest and quickest way to get your employees to safety. Run some tests to see what way out of your building is most efficient and settle on a meeting space outside to make sure everyone has made it to safety.
Build an emergency kit
It’s important to be prepared for all contingencies in case of an emergency. Whether that means having a supply of clean drinking water in case of a lockdown, a hand crank generated emergency radio or more, keeping an emergency kit in your office is pivotal to keep your people safe. The government has suggestions of what supplies to include in your kit, but be sure to tailor them to fit your office’s unique needs. Also make sure that every employee knows where the supplies are located and how to operate any necessary medical equipment.
Simple steps toward a reliable emergency response plan can keep your office and employees safe. Planning for all possible disasters and discussing these plans with your employees will ensure that everyone reacts appropriately if a bad situation should arise. Be open to new ideas and plan revisions that make your emergency response more effective—the most important thing is to keep your people safe.