While no one wants to be in an emergency situation, it’s far worse to be dropped into one without proper preparatory protocols being in place. Having something structured that you hope to never need is a net of comfort in the face of the uncertainty of the world around us.
Phase one is actually having a plan, which, by law, you must. It has to be viable and make numerous considerations, but at the minimum, your emergency evacuation strategy has one core job: get everyone out safely.
Beyond that, think of these questions to take your emergency evacuation protocol to the next level.
Have you practiced?
You have designed a well thought out emergency exit strategy, but do you practice it? How often? It may be akin to middle school fire drills that everyone had a level of disdain for. That said, we guarantee you still remember the fire drills and exactly how to do it decades later. That’s living proof that practice works. Adults are certainly more stubborn learners than their youthful counterparts. Practice your emergency
exits so there isn’t clueless panic in case that a real one arises.
Is it inclusive?
Did you know an estimated 15% of the world’s population is living with a disability? That’s over one billion people. In emergency evacuations, panic often takes hold of people and, despite everything, they tend to throng to the safest places as quickly as possible. People with differing abilities aren’t able to do as easily and their needs in emergencies are a pillar of properly designed evacuation protocol. Where are the handicap evacuation chairs located? Are they in good condition? What are potential barriers concerning accessibility? You have to go beyond having an evacuation chair or two and design plans around inclusive escape routes for everyone.
Is it sustainable?
Everything changes. You can’t lay down a plan that’s viable beyond question, then put it away forever. One plan never answers to all emergencies. In the effort to combat unpredictability, evaluate your emergency plans and critique how viable they might be in two years. What about 10 years? A well-designed plan only remains truly well designed if it’s sustainable over time.
From writing the initial emergency escape protocol to buying the physical escape chairs, all the details have to be in order. Things happen when they happen. The safety of everyone in your building falls upon the foundation of your preparedness.