When there is a hazard within a building such as a fire or chemical spill, occupants of the building should be evacuated or relocated to safety.
Other incidents such as a bomb threat or receipt of a suspicious package may also require evacuation. If a tornado warning is a broadcast, everyone should be moved to the strongest part of the building and away from the exterior glass. If a transportation accident on nearby highway results in the release of a chemical cloud, the fire department may warn “shelter-in-place.” To protect employees from an act of violence, “lockdown” should be broadcast and everyone should hide or barricade themselves from the perpetrator.
Protective actions for life safety include:
- Your emergency plan should include these protective actions. If you are a tenant in the multi-tenanted building, coordinate planning with the building manager.
Prompt evacuation of employees requires a warning system that can be heard throughout the building. Test your fire alarm system to determine if it can be heard by all employees. If there is no fire alarm system, use a public address system, air horns or other means to warn everyone to evacuate. Sound the evacuation signal during planned drills so employees are familiar with the sound.
Make sure that there are sufficient exits available at all times.
Check to see that there are at least two exits from hazardous areas on every floor of every building. Building or fire codes may require more exits for larger buildings.
Walk around the building and verify that exits are marked with exit signs and there is sufficient lighting so people can safely travel to an exit. If you find anything that blocks an exit, have it removed. Enter every stairwell, walk down the stairs, and open the exit door to the outside. Continue walking until you reach a safe place away from the building. Consider using this safe area as an assembly area for evacuees.
Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.