Emergency drills may be a nuisance to your employees, but they are paramount to your emergency preparedness.
Running a drill is dependent on several factors: your building type, occupancy, identified risks, and the kind of emergency being tested. For example, an active shooter scenario in a 1-story elementary school has different variables than a fire in a 16-story office building.
Simulating a real event is necessary to polish your disaster plans. “If an organization fails to plan, then it is planning to fail,” says Sean Ahrens, project manager, security for Aon Risk Solutions.
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Use tabletop exercises to evaluate your evacuation procedures with your emergency team. By running hypothetical scenarios, you can test for potential glitches and find unaddressed complications.
“You need to work through the process of what an event will entail and what resources you need to bring to bear,” says Ahrens. “Then you anticipate how people are going to go evacuate, where they should go, and how you’re going to communicate this to them.”
Emergency Drill Checklist
- Communication channels
- Escape routes
- Meeting places
- Emergency lighting and signage
- Flow of traffic
- Coordination of emergency teams
- Comprehension of alerts
- Emergency equipment
You should also introduce wildcard situations during these theoretical drills. What happens if construction blocks an exit, if a floor monitor is out sick, or someone is on crutches? Test the limits of your plans to ensure they can accommodate multiple variables.