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Evacuation Planning Vital to Tenant Safety

Make sure you know how to exit your building in case of emergency

Make sure you know how to exit your building in case of emergency.

It’s human nature to panic when disaster strikes. The result can be confusion, indecision and failure to react quickly. If, on the other hand, written procedures are followed, groups understand safety procedures and individuals are properly trained to take charge of the situation, evacuation can be swift, smooth and safe.

Let’s take a look at the necessary steps to ensure quick and thorough building evacuations:

  • The first step is to consider the type of emergency situation.
    • In cases of fire, the primary objective is to clear the entire building as quickly as possible.
    • For tornadoes, a safer option might be to instruct people to congregate in a large room located on the first floor instead of meeting outside. As always, proper preparation and written procedures are essential.

Employees and tenants need to be willing to take direction from the people who are in charge and feel confident that building management has control of any and every situation. Ensure there is a clear chain of command. Employees and tenants need to be willing to take direction from the people who are in charge and feel confident that building management has control of any and every situation.

Floor Wardens need to take charge and understand their responsibilities:

  • Know the proper evacuation routes and internal and external safe refuge areas.
  • Note any building occupants who need special assistance and assign someone to assist them.
  • Familiarize residents and employees with the location of alarm pull stations and (if they are properly trained to use them), fire extinguishers.
  • Instruct employees not to use elevators during emergencies unless instructed to do so by emergency personnel.
  • Evacuate any pets that are in the building.
  • Designate which tenants or employees should shut off gas lines or other equipment. Advise them to fulfill these duties only if absolutely necessary.
  • Building occupants should be given up-to-date evacuation maps and safety handbooks.
  • Stairwells and hallways should be kept free of boxes and other impediments. Routinely investigate these areas and work with building occupants to determine if additional storage space is necessary so hallways are clear of clutter, to ensure easy emergency exit.
  • Pay special attention to signage. Do a walkthrough of the evacuation route with your entire safety team. Is the escape route clear? If the power is out, will back-up lights and clearly marked egress signs be visible?
  • Establish a secondary meeting area in case the designated space is not usable. In major disasters, the primary exterior safe refuge area (located at least 300 feet away from the building) area(s) may be compromised. So plans should be made for secondary external safe refuge areas.

When disaster strikes, pre-planning, training and clear decisive action can help save lives. For the latest, most effective, building-specific e-based emergency management training for your building, contact Allied Universal. Our new Version 2.0 training system offers the best in emergency training, free color aerial photograph safe refuge evacuation maps and full automated and integrated features that make training 100% of your occupants or employees both realistic and cost effective. Visit rjwestmore.com for more information and remember to BE SAFE.

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