Every business hopes that they will never need to deal with an office emergency, but ensuring that everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency is a must. Depending what your business is, and where it is located may have some bearing on what sort of emergency may be more common to you, but this shouldn’t limit the emergencies you train for.

This article is aiming to give you some practical tips on what sort of things you should be thinking about should you need to evacuate your building, no matter if it is due to fire, flood, bomb alert, or some other emergency.

Having a risk assessment and fire plan is required by law, but many of the things that you have in place for that can easily be adapted to other situations where your place of business needs to be evacuated.
One of the most common problems, when evacuating a building, is knowing that you have got everyone out of the building. There are several ways that you as a company can monitor who is in your building at any given time, which range from something as simple as a visitors book where people sign in or out, to something like time-expiry visitor badges (which are also fantastic for security as they show when someone is no longer entitled to be in your building) – it doesn’t matter how sophisticated the method you use is, it is more important to ensure that the method you choose works for your company.

Making sure that you have a designated meeting point for after the event so you can double check everyone is out is also important, you should have one member of staff (or maybe one per department depending on the size of your business) responsible for making sure everyone is accounted for.

Again have one member of staff (this could be the same person as the person allotted to check that everyone is out of the building, or someone different – again, whatever personally suits your business) responsible for communication in an emergency, communication is one of the first things to break down, so having one person who is responsible for ensuring that all the relevant authorities and personal are contacted is one way to cut down on confusion during a crisis.

Ensure all possible routes out of the building are marked clearly, visitors to your business may not be as familiar with the layout as your permanent staff. Maybe set up a “buddy” system where feasible so that any visitors are accompanied by a member of staff that can assist them should an emergency arise.

Make sure all your personal are aware of what is expected of them and are trained for the possibility of an evacuation so that if they are required to evacuate it comes as second nature rather then something they have to think about.

While putting your office emergency plans in place, it would be worth giving some thought to your disaster recovery plan at the same time.

However you decide to organise things, making sure you have a plan in place to assist you when dealing with office emergencies is vital to the smooth running of your business at times of crisis and though we hope you will never need it, you will be more confident knowing, that if you do, the plan is already in place.