No matter what kind of facility, business, or building you run, an emergency action plan is absolutely necessary for a variety of reasons. OSHA requires emergency action plans, your insurance requires emergency action plans, and anyone who is working for you, staying in your facility, or even visiting your facility expects there to be an emergency action plan in case something unexpected happens in or near the building.
There are a number of guidelines, organizations, and other resources to assist businesses in a wide array of industries, regardless of their location, create their emergency action plan. It can be overwhelming to take it all in if you are just starting to create your emergency action plan. So we’ve compiled a few things to make the process easier for you.
Types of Potential Emergencies
Depending on your location, there will likely be multiple emergency action plans you will need to put together. California emergency action plans might include wildfires and earthquakes. Oklahoma emergency action plans need to include tornadoes and flooding. Maine emergency action plans will involve nor’easters or hurricanes. If you’re in the Midwest, an Indiana emergency action plan might include tornadoes, flooding, blizzards, and arctic temperatures.
Unfortunately, all of these places likely also have an emergency action plan should a terrorist attack take place as well, as natural disasters are no longer the only emergencies to consider.
While all these types of emergencies have very different action plans, they may also have common components that carry from one plan to the next. A tornado and a flood might both knock out the power. However, during a tornado, you will need to shelter in place, but a flood will most likely require you to evacuate.
It is very important to remember that there are specific OSHA requirements under 29 CFR 1910.38, Emergency Action Plans. OSHA says that emergency action plans must be in writing and available for employees to see and look through anytime. The basics call for the employees to know and have specific alarms for each type of emergency action plan to take place.
Employees must know their exact roles in evacuation procedures in addition to being prepared to report to the authorities the state of emergency for the facility. The employees must also know how to account for everyone in the facility after evacuation has taken place. If there are any employees who need to know how to rescue or give medical attention to those that need it, this need should be noted within the emergency action plan.
Plan For Lack of Outside Help
In any emergency action plan, one of the most important parts is to know what to do if first responders cannot get to you right away. The larger the emergency, the longer the wait is likely to be for first responders. Your employees should know what to do if there are hours, even days before first responders can get to your facility.
There should be a stock of water, food, and emergency medical supplies. Employees need to know where these things are, how to use any equipment they will need and is available to them, and where the safest places are in the building depending on the type of emergency they are facing.
Practice Makes Perfect
The most effective way to ensure that all of your employees know the ins and outs of the emergency action plans is to have drills to show them how it will work in the event that the emergency should occur.
Tabletop drills are very common and easy to set up. It is almost like a script read for a movie. You’ll walk your staff through the plan, checking to make sure that each person understands their role. You’ll be able to assess their competence by asking questions and letting them tell you what they’d do in each scenario.
Real world drills can be helpful as well if the type of business or facility warrants it. Schools, nursing homes, hospitals, etc, might have real-world drills where they actually sound alarms and evacuate buildings, seek shelter within, or go through lockdown procedures. In some cases, first responders might come to the facility to see how quickly and efficiently all these tasks are carried out.
An often-overlooked component of a truly comprehensive emergency action plan should detail the cleanup process after an emergency strikes. CSG is a nationally renowned commercial cleaning company that offers emergency and natural disaster cleanup. Knowing exactly who you are going to call to help you and your team get your facility in working order again will ease your mind as you begin to shift from the stress of the actual emergency to the stress of what to do afterward.
Our excellent customer service team can help you with this and all your other commercial cleaning needs. Call CSG today or request an online quote!