4 Resources for Creating a Business Emergency Action Plan That Protects Your Employees, Business and Assets

Now is the perfect time to create or review and practice an Emergency Action Plan for your business. If you don’t think creating such a plan is important, read up on the devastating fires in California. The fires engulfed homes and businesses so quickly that most people barely had time to escape with their lives. Making sure your employees know what to do in the event of a fast-moving fire, flood or other disaster could make all the difference in lives and property saved.

If you lease space in a larger building that already has a plan in place, we still recommend creating your own version to specifically help protect your business and the people who make it happen.  Even if you’re just a small business with a few employees, creating an Emergency Action Plan could make all the difference. Ideally, consider creating a plan that follows the regulations and suggestions created by OSHA. Use the following resources to get started.

Identify Conditions

OSHA recommends starting your Emergency Action Plan by identifying the conditions for which you need an evacuation plan. Conditions such as fire, flooding, earthquakes, material-related emergencies or civil disturbances are just a few to consider. We like the list created by Pekin Insurance due to its full list of ideas to consider when creating a fire evacuation, active shooter or advanced warning evacuation plan.

Who Needs to Get Out

Think about who might need to be evacuated from your business. Not only do you need to think about employees, but you may also need to evacuate customers and other visitors. In addition, keep in mind that some visitors, customers or employees may need special assistance due to disabilities or language barriers. The Hartford offers ideas for planning for everyone during a disaster.

Chain of Command

Establishing a clear chain of command during an evacuation is critical to establishing who’s authorized to order a shutdown or emergency evacuation so no one gets confused or doubts the announcement. See the article on the Red Cross website, Managing an Emergency Like the Pros Do, for ideas on how to create a chain of command that defines each person’s duties and responsibilities.

Routes and Exits

Draw maps and floor diagrams to help everyone find exit routes. These maps must also explain where everyone will meet once evacuating the building so an accounting can be made of all staff. A good plan also includes information on where equipment is located for a myriad of disasters. This includes fire extinguishers, respiratory equipment, first aid kits and chemical spill kits. OSHA offers suggestions on what to consider when establishing exit routes, such as making sure the exits are wide enough and debris-free to accommodate all evacuees.