Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The importance of evacuation procedures

Safety and evacuation procedures should be a mandatory requirement for all businesses, organizations and even normal households. Without a plan in place for an emergency, everyone involved is at serious risk of injury or death.

An emergency is a serious, unexpected and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. One can’t afford to waste time forming a plan while the emergency is occuring.

According to Federal Emergency Management Agency, nearly 60 percent of adults do not practice disaster drills in their households while only 39 percent have actually formulated a disaster plan. These numbers are problematic, because 80 percent of Americans live in areas that get hit with serious weather-related disasters.

“The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires all businesses and industries have a safety procedure in place for natural disaster,” City of Plattsburgh Platoon Captain Chris DeAngelo said.

In addition to implementing safety procedures throughout his workplace, DeAngelo makes sure a plan within his household is implemented as well.

Once a year, he and his family participate in safety drills for a variety of possible scenarios including fires and natural disasters. DeAngelo stresses the importance of having some kind of plan in his personal home, but encourages businesses to stress safety as well. A lot of businesses suffer from emergencies because of over-confidence due to the likelihood of emergencies occurring.

“When an emergency occurs in the workplace, it’s not you normal day-to-day activity,” DeAngelo said. “ By developing a set of standards, you are able to have a resource to turn to given the emergency. That is what’s going to make the situation a lot better for everybody.”

DeAngelo and his platoon relays safety information to the Plattsburgh residents they assist during emergencies.

He often discovers their lack of safety guidelines to the given situation. DeAngelo is also a fan of safety visuals for any given disaster as a constant reminder for employees or young children whether it comes in a form of a flip book or an app.

According to DeAngelo, the evacuation portion of a procedure is only half the battle. In addition to drilling his children on safety, he shows them how to perform simple tasks like changing the batteries in a smoke detector.

Creating a procedure takes time and thought to be effective and requires a common meeting place. This is essential to any disaster plan because it provides a way to conduct an efficient headcount. Employees also need to make sure they are standing in a spot that is a safe distance from the disaster.

FEMA also provides tips on its website to help one form a plan for a work space. One of its tips involves listening to alert text messages — The ones a lot of people ignore until their phone stops beeping. If one lives in an area prone to natural disasters, it is important to look at alerts, because it could hit close to home.

Another tip involves gathering precious documentation or equipment before exiting the area. I know the first thing we’re told in an emergency is to leave our belongings where they are, but planning where to keep important components of your business in a disaster is important as well. I’m not saying one’s business is just as important to one’s life, but it’s a good idea to secure your business if given the chance.

Workplace safety is not a joke and needs to be implemented in every business. Anything can happen, so we all must prepare for the worst.

Even having a poor procedure is better than no procedure at all. Emergencies don’t come with a warning.

Email Mataeo Smith at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

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