Are you and your staff prepared for an emergency? Sure, you have your emergency evacuation paper taped to different areas of your office, but what if other situations arrive? Emergency planning and training directly influence the outcome of an emergency situation. Having a written procedure and plan can mean the difference between chaos and control.

I found some information on the National Fire Protection Association web site. Here are a few items from their list:

Emergency Escape Procedures and Emergency Escape Route Assignments. To ensure that all employees understand the general procedures to be followed, the plan must document procedures, such as equipment to shut down or suppression efforts, and the escape route to be followed by each specific facility location.

Procedures for Employees Who Remain on Site after the Alarm Sounds. Sometimes, depending on the type of operation involved, certain employees will remain behind to shut down special equipment before they evacuate the building. An employer might assign employees to shut down various process equipment to limit further damage to the equipment, or to reduce potential hazards such as those from flowing liquids or gases under pressure.

Procedures to Account for Employees. The emergency action plan should include procedures for accounting for all employees after an emergency evacuation. It is important to know that everyone got out. For example, fire wardens often check all offices and rest rooms during an emergency evacuation.

Rescue and Medical Duties. Emergency action plans should indicate which employees are responsible for rescue and medical duties, and the plan should define what those duties are.

Procedures for Reporting Emergencies. The emergency action plan should outline the preferred means of reporting fires and other emergencies. For example, depending on the facility, employees may dial 911, dial an in-house emergency number, or pull a manual fire alarm.

Contacts for Further Information. The emergency action plan should include the names of employees who can be contacted for further information or for an explanation of duties under the plan.

Alarm Systems. The employer should establish an alarm system. If the alarm system is used for alerting the fire brigade members (the in-house fire-fighting team) or for other purposes beyond notifying employees, then a distinctive signal should be used for each purpose. For example, a long horn blast followed by three short horn blasts could indicate an exterior fire emergency, and a siren could indicate a tornado or severe weather warning.

Procedure for media attention Make sure all of your employees know whether or not they should be talking to the media if and when they should arrive. 

While some items on this list may not pertain to your business, it is still a good idea to get a plan, make a procedure, and train for the just in case.

For more information visit the NFPA website at: