Six Steps to Effective Emergency Management
As the proverb says, “Not planning is planning to fail.” Generally, if your business is a tenant of a large facility, the property management team should do the overall emergency planning. However, this is not reason enough for every tenant or business to ignore their emergency plan inevacuation consultants.
2. Formulate and Communicate
It is essential to ensure that intrinsic plans and procedures are consistent with base construction plans. Once your plans have been developed, your staff should be aware that plans exist, what they entail, and what is expected of them. Top management must ensure that staffs are aware that emergency drills are not an opportunity to escape the workplace for an early lunch, or that emergencies themselves do not result in time off. Until management determines an emergency situation and the result, staff continue to work and are subject to employment contracts and occupational health and safety regulations, whether they are inside the building or not.
3. Participate and Evaluate
Base building property management should provide training for key personnel who have been designated or volunteered to act as gatekeepers. In Australia, this training must take place at intervals of no more than 6 months. This is the minimum requirement for which many facilities hire training providers much more frequently, depending on the size and complexity of the facility.
However, individual tenants are not precluded from conducting their own training and / or hiring a training provider. Staff should feel that their attendance at training sessions is endorsed by management and will not lead to any negative appraisal of their daily performance in their normal role. Emergency procedures are only as good as the people who apply them. Therefore, it is vital to physically practice building evacuation or lockdown or other emergency scenarios. No matter how well or poorly an exercise turns out; the priority is the evaluation, improvement, and education of the facility’s occupants.
4. Validate and Manage
Once your staff has been trained and has also participated in an emergency exercise, the final plan and procedures should be documented. Emergency procedures are not a good read at bedtime. However, they should be made available to new personnel, or for the reference of anyone who requires knowledge of the procedures to implement in the event of an emergency. Similarly, a short set of procedures should be developed and made available to all visitors and contractors on your lease. Many companies document emergency procedures on the back of visitor identification badges that can be issued at the front desk.
5. Delegate and Demonstrate
Top management support for emergency planning and the appointment of Watchers are essential. Guardians need to know that they are fully supported to take control in the event of an emergency and that they have been delegated authority to override the normal management structure if necessary. Similarly, the management, regardless of its category, must participate in the emergency exercise. Being seen participating in a good spirit and not reluctantly adds validation and authenticity to the entire process and system. Nothing undermines this entire process more than senior managers exempting themselves from the process. It sends the message that emergency planning is something they talk about but won’t do.
Make crisis planning, business continuity, emergency planning, and disaster recovery part of the planning process for complete business resilience. Too many companies leave business continuity to the accounts department, disaster recovery to the IT department, and crisis planning to the public relations department. Result? Plans developed in silos that conflict rather than complement each other.