A disaster can occur at any moment with absolutely no warning. That is why it is very important to prepare an emergency evacuation plan in the event of a disaster such as a fire. This blog will provide information on how to effectively create an emergency evacuation plan in the workplace. When forming an emergency evacuation plan, the very first thing to do is to form an Emergency Response Team, which will consist of several individuals with specific duties. Each role will be discussed in detail below.
Floor Warden: A responsible person on each floor of every high-rise building should be designated as Floor Warden, who will oversee and ensure safe and complete evacuation or relocation of occupants during a fire or other emergency. There are also alternate floor wardens who act as assistants in time of an emergency.
5 duties of a Floor Warden:
- Directing Stairwell Monitors to their assigned stairwell
- Making sure Searchers have door markers and are thoroughly checking each office, restrooms & conference rooms.
- Directging Group Leaders down each stairwell to the designated safe refuge (either 5 floors down or Music Center), making sure they have their employee checklist.
- Waiting for Searchers to check in with status.
- When last search team arrives, going to the Safe Refuge Location. You are the last person off the floor.
Group Leader: This person would be selected to lead evacuees to the designated “Safe Refuge Location” or floor, and keep the group together for a head count. It is the Group Leader’s responsibility to keep an updated list of all current employees and emergency contact information available in time of emergency.
4 duties of a Group Leader:
- Leading co-workers down the designated stairwell to the Safe Refuge Location (5 floors down from your current floor)
- Directing and organizing co-workers at Safe Refuge Location
- Signing people in. Make sure you have sign in forms and pens with you
- Reporting status to the Floor Warden.
Searcher: The Searcher should be utilized to provide a systematic and thorough search of all floor areas with instructions to report to their nearest stairwell.
4 duties of a Searcher:
- Check all designated areas of the floor, including restrooms and conference rooms. Have post-its notes with you.
- After searched, close all doors behind you to reduce the spread of heat and smoke.
- Mark doors of all areas searched with post-it notes. Mark eye level and on lower portion of door so it is visible when there is smoke.
- After entire floor has been searched, report to Floor Warden with status report and proceed to the nearest stairwell to evacuate.
Stairwell Monitor: When alerted (either by alarm, P.A. phone contact), would take up position at designated stairwell as soon as possible and assist in building relocation/evacuation.
2 duties of a Stairwell Monitor:
- Have occupants go directly to the nearest stairwell door and admit occupants five at a time into the stairwell while keeping the door open. Never block the door with a device such as a wedge, etc. Be prepared to alternate the entry of evacuees into lines of already moving “traffic”. Give safety instructions, guidance, as follows:
A. to prevent injury, instruct evacuees to remove high heels or slick soled shoes. Make sure to carry them downstairs with them. No coffee cups.
B. Instruct each group of evacuees to grasp the handrail on the right (inside rail) and walk in a single file line.
C. Direct traffic to Safe Refuge Location (5 floors down). Tell them which floor to go to.
D. Have physically impaired individuals and their assistant enter the stairwell last to assure quick evacuation.
E. Dispel any false information, rumors, etc. To reduce panic, refrain from using the word “fire”.
2. When occupants clear your floor and when instructed by Floor Warden, securely close door behind you and proceed to Safe Refuge Location.
Preparing an effective emergency evacuation plan is absolutely essential because a disaster can strike at any moment but please also keep in mind that having a survival kit is equally important. When a crisis occurs, it becomes imperative to grab your survival kit(s) and follow your emergency evacuation plan to ensure a safe location.