When it comes to running their business, small business owners usually have a lot on their plate. Along with juggling the day to day running of their business, managing their finances and keeping their clients happy, small business owners are also responsible for things like workplace safety and fire protection.
Unfortunately, things like fire protection can sometimes get pushed to the backburner. This can allow things to happen which otherwise wouldn’t. For example, your fire safety gear may become poorly maintained, or your staff members may not be aware of your evacuation plan. However, it is extremely important to have a clear evacuation plan which is understood by every member of your staff.
What Is An Emergency Evacuation Plan?
In simple terms, an emergency evacuation plan is a clear, well rehearsed plan of what you and your employees will do in the case of an emergency. It usually details the best escape routes, meeting places to head to and anything else of importance that could help you escape a dangerous situation safely. Emergency evacuation plans should be practiced regularly, and new staff should be briefed on them. They should be visibly present in every room in your building, within reason.
Why Do I Need A Clear Evacuation Plan?
Basically, a clear, well defined emergency evacuation plan will allow you and your employees to safely escape from your building in the case of an emergency like a fire. Some of the reasons you should always have an emergency evacuation plan include:
- You are required by law under most Australian OHS legislation.
- It will reduce confusion in the event of an emergency, reducing the risk of the emergency escalating and spiraling out of control – and avoid any legal issues following avoidable accidents.
- It will allow you to get a situation under control by, for example, containing or extinguishing a fire before it becomes large enough to pose a serious threat.
When developing an evacuation plan, make sure that you consider the above.
What Should My Emergency Evacuation Plan Include?
A decent small business emergency evacuation plan should include some or all of the following, as appropriate:
- Escape routes and exits to allow people to exit the building in the safest way possible.
- Evacuation gathering points that are a safe distance away for people to meet.
- Fire safety equipment information, including the location and type of fire safety gear in your building.
- Emergency contact information to report an emergency and to keep everyone informed and up to date.
- Emergency reporting process which will tell people how to notify others in the building of the emergency so that they can escape in time.
The above are just some of what should be included in a clear evacuation plan. Note that you may need to include a lot more information, depending on the size and type of business you run, and that you should always include a visual representation of your evacuation plan.