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Do this to get your employees to evacuate safely during emergencies

by , 24 June 2013
A fire gutted a Salama Cash and Carry, in Amalgam, Johannesburg, in the early hours of Monday morning, News 24 reports. Fortunately, according to Johannesburg emergency management services, no one was inside when the fire engulfed the building. The cause of the fire is unknown at this stage. Just imagine what could have happened if there were people inside the building panicking in the wee hours of the morning when the fire broke out. Since emergencies could arise at any time in the workplace, emergency evacuation planning is essential...

Emergencies don't come with a warning sign. They can strike at any time and that's why you need to be prepared.

The last thing you would want in an emergency situation is an emergency exit door that's locked or a case where employees don't know how to react and don't know where the safe assembly points are.

Getting this right is a matter of life and death.

And that's why you need to know what steps to take to evacuate your employees safely during emergencies.

Your evacuation plan should include these seven steps

Step #1: Close all fire doors and windows if there's a fire. Also, put the air conditioner off so it doesn't feed the fire with air (oxygen) to keep it burning for longer.

Step #2: Ensure all windows are open if there's a bomb threat. This will help disperse the blast effect.

Step #3: Safeguard any critical information by putting it in fire-proof safes or cupboards or taking critical files and documents with you.

Step #4: 'Employees must leave their work stations carrying as little as possible,' says the Health and Safety Advisor. In addition, women with high-heeled shoes should take them off. And make sure that employees t follow the instructions of the evacuation wardens at all times.

Step #5: If time and the situation allows, the evacuation warden must take preliminary roll call to ensure every employee under his care is accounted for. 'If someone is missing the warden must appoint a deputy to evacuate employees from the premises to the assembly point,' says the Advisor. The deputy must carry on with the evacuation, while the warden goes to look for missing employees.

Step #6: If there's smoke, employees must crouch as low to the floor as possible to be able to breathe properly. If there's no light, employees must hold hands and follow the warden or deputy warden who should have a torch.

Step #7: Employees must go through the emergency exits and emergency escape routes. Once they're outside, they must be moved to previously identified and demarcated assembly points. These assembly points must be at least 30m away from your building. A second roll call must now be taken.

Remember, no employee should go back into your building until the emergency controller gives your building the all clear.
 

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