An emergency can happen any time, anywhere. In fact, there are about 145.6 million emergency department visits a year in the United States. Of those, 42.2 million visits involve an injury.
Why wait until an emergency arises to react? Instead, you can create an emergency response plan (ERP) for your business. With a plan in place, you’ll know which course of action to take to minimize risks for you and your team.
Ready to plan for an emergency?
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about having an emergency response plan ready for your team!
Creating an ERP
In some cases, you’ll need to call a CPR-trained employee to administer compressions. During other emergencies, you’ll need to know the closest exit so everyone can leave as quickly as possible. Do you have an emergency response plan in place for either of these instances?
The first few seconds during an emergency are critical. Knowing how to respond (whether it’s calling for help, locking down the facility, or evacuating) can mean the difference between life and death. The right tools, such as an AED to administer CPR, can also keep you prepared.
Giving your employees a prompt warning to take the right course of action can save their lives.
The first step to create an emergency response plan is to complete a risk assessment. This is a chance to identify potential emergencies that could occur. Once you understand what could happen, you can make a smart plan that determines how you and your team should react.
For example, you might need different emergency plans for:
- Airborne toxins
- An attack
An emergency plan should include protecting employees, visitors, and anyone else in the facility when an emergency occurs.
When one of these emergencies occurs, the first priority is life safety. After safety, you need to prioritize stabilizing the incident. Otherwise, you’ll fail to minimize potential damage, which could result in otherwise avoidable injuries.
For example, you can stabilize an incident by:
- Performing CPR and/or first aid until paramedics can arrive
- Using a fire extinguisher to maintain a small fire until the fire department arrives
- Containing a chemical spill to prevent wide-spread environmental damage
- Evacuating the building if a suspicious package arrives
Remember, life safety is the main priority. Here are the protective actions you need to take within your emergency response plan to save lives.
First, you’ll need a warning system throughout the facility in order to quickly inform employees to evacuate. Make sure the building fire alarm works properly. Employees should hear the fire alarm go off from any area within your facility.
If you don’t have a fire alarm system, implement a public address system or air horns.
Either way, you need an evacuation signal as part of your emergency response plan.
Next, make sure there are available exists throughout the facility. This includes at least two exits from hazardous areas on every floor of every building. Verify each of these exists are marked and that there’s proper lighting.
If anything blocks these areas, have them removed.
Create an evacuation pathway. Once you determine the fastest, safest path, write it down and inform others. It also helps to have a floor warden on each floor of the building who can direct employees to the safest exit path.
Maintain a list of your employees and any visitors. If an accident occurs, you can review this list afterward and let the emergency department know if someone isn’t accounted for.
In the case of a natural disaster, such as a tornado, you might not have time for proper evacuation. Instead, you’ll need to have a plan for finding shelter.
Determine where the strongest part of the building is located. This can include a basement or interior room. Once you determine a shelter, conduct a drill to determine how many people can occupy that space.
For larger office teams, you may require more than one shelter.
You may also consider purchasing an Emergency Alert System radio, or subscribing to text and email warnings, to listen for any emergency broadcasts.
Do the members of your team know how to recognize the sound of gunfire?
If there’s an act of violence in the workplace, your team will need to seek refuge in a room. There, they can barricade the door to deny access to any possible attackers. Then, employees can hide under a desk, away from doors or windows, until it’s safe.
Why Is An Emergency Response Plan Important?
60% of American adults don’t know what to do in the case of a disaster. Only 39% of adults have an emergency response plan in place.
The main benefit of having an emergency response plan ready is safety. With a plan in place, you can protect your team from any emergency.
Planning ahead of time will also ensure your team members have a clear understanding of their responsibilities in the event of an emergency.
This includes having floor wardens throughout the building or someone trained to perform CPR.
An emergency response plan will also create a high standard of health and safety in the workplace. Your employees will recognize that your prioritize their wellbeing. As a result, you’re also offering your employees with the peace of mind that they’re working in a safe place.
This also creates a positive brand perception for both your employees and clients.
For some industries and facilities, an emergency response plan is necessary to maintain legal compliance and meeting regulations. A plan can also help you reduce the threat of prosecution if an emergency does occur.
Finally, having an emergency response plan will help you demonstrate positive business and moral objectives. After all, you have a responsibility to your team, local community, and environment. An ERP will show you’re taking responsibility.
The 411 Before 911: The Importance of an Emergency Response Plan
Ready to put a plan into place? Now that you understand the importance of an emergency response plan, you can develop an ERP for your team to keep everyone safe.
Looking for the right medical equipment to supplement your ERP? Contact us today to discuss what you need.