Building Evacuation: What’s Your Game Plan?

If you hear the sound of the emergency response system in your office, leave the building immediately. When you hear the alarm, calmly exit the building and go to the predetermined meeting location. While this may sound simple enough, ensuring everyone evacuates safely during an emergency means having a game plan in place well in advance. A great game plan takes practice and teamwork.

First, map out the best exit routes for all of your employees, including alternative exit routes. Post color maps showing these emergency routes near your exits. Routinely check the routes to ensure the fire exits are never locked during business hours, and ensure the doorways, hallways, and stairways are always free from obstructions like furniture or boxes.

Once you have the exit routes mapped, choose a meeting area outside where everyone can gather after the evacuation. The location should be a safe distance from the building in an area where people can assemble safely without interfering with emergency responders.

Now it’s time to come up with a strong safety team of volunteers to help make the evacuation go smoothly. One group should sweep the building during the emergency, checking each room to make sure nobody remains in the building. Another group needs to help those with special needs exit the building. Have other members of the safety team assemble to get a head count of all staff outside at the meeting location.

Finally, practice evacuation drills several times a year. After each drill, discuss ways to improve your office’s efficiency in leaving the building, and schedule a future date to hold another mock evacuation.

To help educate your office on the fundamentals of proper evacuation drills, SORM has teamed up with Teachers Retirement System of Texas and Austin Fire Department to create a fun educational video: