Evacuation Planning

The Importance of Emergency Evacuation Planning

Places of business need a clear emergency plan. Most office buildings, universities, primary schools, medical facilities, and the like have a well-defined plan for situations that require staying indoors, such as tornado or earthquake drills.

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There are many situations that necessitate a timely and well-planned evacuation, including power outages, natural disasters, fires, chemical spills, violent attacks, or other forms of emergencies. The only way to prepare for these situations is to develop a solid evacuation plan, and have lifesaving equipment – like the Evacuation Slyde by DQE – at your disposal. The Slyde is an effective rescue device that can safely transport non-ambulatory persons during an emergency situation.

OSHA Requires a Sound Evacuation Plan

The OSHA handbook explicitly states that evacuation procedures should be set as part of the emergency action plan.[1] In addition to posting the evacuation route in a visible location, the plan should be updated anytime there is a change to the building layout, or anytime there are new hazards introduced.

In their Principal Emergency Response and Preparedness Requirements and Guidance handbook, OSHA also references “Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodations”, as signed into law through the Americans with Disabilities Act.[2] Including Slyde in your evacuation plan can help ensure that all people make it to safety as soon as possible.

Invest in Proper Lifesaving Equipment

In order to accommodate disabled individuals, or those who are injured or immobile, specialized medical equipment is necessary to provide effective transport. The Evacuation Slyde is a rescue sled that can assist staff in quickly moving these individuals to safety. Because the Slyde is foldable and stackable, it can be stored near an exit, elevator, or other lifesaving equipment for easy access.

Identify an Emergency Escape Route

When designing an evacuation plan, it is important to identify route assignments. All employees should know which hallways and staircases to use, and they should be aware of designated safe or refuge areas.

Building an Emergency Response Team

In an emergency situation, chaos can unfold rather quickly. For this reason, it is important to build a team of level-headed, calm, and conscientious leaders who can coordinate responsibilities and supervise and orderly evacuation. Typically, this will include four primary roles:[3]

  • Point of Contact: This person should determine when an evacuation is required, and perform all necessary communication with emergency services.
  • Coordinator: Once an evacuation is in effect, the coordinator should secure the premises, and check all rooms for people left behind.
  • Head Counter: This person should be stationed outside to make sure all persons are accounted for.
  • First Aid and Medical Attention: Multiple members of the staff should be trained in basic first aid and evacuation procedures. The people on this team would be responsible for assembling and implementing the use of the Slyde for any immobile, non-ambulatory individuals.

Practice Your Evacuation Plan Often

When it comes to an effective evacuation plan, consistency is key. An outdated emergency plan that was developed several years ago and has never been used is no help to anyone. To ensure all individuals make it to safety, it is important to practice frequent drills so that proper evacuation procedures become second nature.

Learn More about the Evacuation Slyde

When designing your evacuation plan, be sure to include procedures that will move disabled or immobile people to safety. To learn more about the Evacuation Slyde, visit our online resource center.

[1] https://www.osha.gov/Publications/osha3122.pdf

[2] https://www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/accommodation.html

[3] https://safetymanagement.eku.edu/resources/articles/the-importance-of-having-an-evacuation-plan/