This Is a Drill: How To Teach Your Escape Plan to Your Employees
An unexpected disaster can cause fear and panic in your employees. A solid emergency plan for escaping that disaster, however, can increase their confidence and thus the likelihood that they will conduct themselves calmly and rationally when a problem arises. If a situation that requires evacuation comes up during the workday, you will be glad you made a plan and trained employees to carry it out through the use of practice sessions such as a fire drill.
Making the Plan
As the business owner, you are the best equipped to devise the escape plan for your business that will work the best for your employees. Each plan should contain the following elements:
• Alarm procedures
• Evacuation routes and meeting areas
• Chain of command and division of responsibilities
• Emergency kit containing water, flashlights and first aid items
• Contact list of employees for confirming their safety
• Clear reporting structure
• Contact information for insurance company and restoration specialists
The time to plan for a natural disaster or fire is before it happens. After you have the plan, it's time to train your employees.
Training the Staff
Whether you are staging a fire drill or testing storm procedures, the information should always proceed the practice. Include evacuation plans in your yearly training. Impress upon your employees the importance of understanding the plan and encourage questions and concerns during the discussion. At some point, you can test the plan with a drill. Only a handful of personnel who will be assisting with key elements of the procedures need to know when the drill is planned. That way, employees can actually experience the surprise they may feel if the real situation should ever arise. During the drill, take note of what goes right and what needs improvement so that you can tweak the plan or training as needed.
Planning how you want your employees to respond in a disastrous situation and training them to implement the plan can keep them safe. Each fire drill brings you closer to a calm, smooth resolution.