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It is important to remember, this is the list of action items just within the first two hours of a crisis. Your front-line folks will do a marvelous job for you, yet need to know how this fits into the overall success of a company’s crisis communications plan. If you think an evacuation plan is only necessary for large-scale industries, multi-story buildings, and sprawling offices, think again. Whether it is a gigantic workforce or a handful of employees, businesses need to have an emergency action plan. Foust says he makes sure each of his employees knows what to do and where to go in case of emergency.
Despite some efforts, the gap between “safety perception and actual preparedness,” remains wide. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, an EAP should cover evacuation routes, emergency phone numbers, emergency reporting and evacuation procedures, severe weather and natural disaster plan, and training. Account for all the occupants in your facility including the visitors by maintaining a sign-in register. Evacuation warden giving an all-clear instruction [Image by Joe Loong]If your facility is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, coordinate and practice with other businesses so that there is no confusion and chances of gridlock. Her penchant for digital archeology (sifting Google for hours to dig up facts that make up this world) is matched only by her love for graphs and pie charts. An emergency action plan (EAP) is usually a written document required by particular OSHA standards. An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards [29 CFR 1910.38(a)]. Preparedness involves a continuous process of planning, equipping, training and exercising. An underground area, such as a basement or storm cellar, provides the best protection from a tornado. Personnel should also be aware of what to do if caught outdoors when a tornado is threatening. Your local emergency management office can provide information about your community’s tornado warning system. Assign specific duties to workers in advance; create checklists for each specific responsibility.
Keep intact until Safety Representatives (or other appropriate company official) is onsite.

Also, to direct information requests from outside groups to you and to contact their families to let them know they are OK.
If badgered, simply state that you need to get back to the site and you will return at stated time. After OSHA fined JJ’s Restaurant in Kansas City for not having an adequate evacuation plan at the time of a gas explosion and fire earlier this year, businesses including restaurants in Kansas City are mulling over the need for evacuation plans. Michael Foust, a restaurant-owner in Kansas City, has set an example for other restaurateurs by adopting a plan of evacuation in his 32-employee restaurant.
For him, emergency preparedness starts from knowing where the exits are, who to call when there is an emergency, where the emergency numbers are, and how to perform basic CPR.
In the 2013 Staples’ Business Safety Survey, more than half of the employees of small businesses said they were not prepared for severe emergencies or that their companies did not communicate safety plans often. Although businesses need to have their EAP in writing, an employer with 10 or fewer employees may communicate the plan verbally to the workforce. Hazards typical to your business, vulnerabilities of the building your business is located in, weather conditions, and topography are some things to consider while preparing an evacuation plan. Create a chain of command so that others are authorized to act in case the designated person is not available. Keep copies of site maps with your crisis management plan, along with other important documents, in your emergency supply kit and at an off-site location.
Coordinate your EAP with those of other companies that occupy the same building or adopt a single EAP for the entire building.
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This blog focuses on issues surrounding emergency preparedness, digital distractions, and signage. For smaller organizations, the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally if there are 10 or fewer employees [29 CFR 1910.38(b)]. The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Planning for tornadoes requires identifying a place to take shelter, being familiar with and monitoring your community’s warning system, and establishing procedures to account for individuals in the building. Though natural disasters came out to be the top concern for employees in the survey, businesses did not reassess their safety plans after recent disasters like Hurricane Sandy. Contact local emergency officials to ascertain dangers surrounding your workplace environment.

Post building and site maps at strategic locations in the facility with exit and emergency routes clearly marked.
Select a primary assembly area near your facility and a secondary assembly area in case you have to move farther away. An alumnus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Sneha received her Master’s degree in English Journalism in New Delhi, India. Sneha’s quick wit, humility, and cheerfulness make her a great person (and an awesome co-worker)! Well developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies.
If one is not within walking distance, try to drive in a vehicle, using a seat belt, to the nearest shelter. I need to return to the site, but either (spokesperson) or I will be back at (time) with an update.
Due to high costs or a lack of resources, small businesses have more to lose when an emergency arises. Also, determine who is responsible for providing an all-clear or return-to-work instruction.
A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage. If flying debris is encountered while in a vehicle, there are two options: 1) staying in the vehicle with the seat belt on, keeping your head below the windows and covering it with your hands or a blanket, 2) if there is an area which is noticeable lower than the roadway, lie in that area and cover your head with your hands.
In addition, workers need to be trained and plans need to be practiced to ensure that personnel are familiar with what to do in the event of a tornado.
Educate them about how to assist people with disabilities and those who do not speak English during an evacuation. Once you reach the assembly point, account for all workers, visitors and customers through a head count, roster, or checklist. From her previous company, she brings with her a rich experience of leading team of expert review writers.

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