In response to the recent building collapse in Philadelphia, individuals and businesses should be sure they are following a set of several emergency preparedness guidelines. Here are some valuable crisis management tips to ensure buildings across the country are better prepared for emergency events:
Plan for the worst-case scenario. Over the past few years, the U.S. has experienced a record number of destructive natural disasters and, sadly, an increase in manmade disasters such as bomb incidents, creating new worst-case scenarios that must be considered in evacuation planning. When developing evacuation plans and drills, emergency planning professionals should plan for the worst.
Don’t rely on the norms. When it comes to preparing for disasters, individuals and organizations cannot simply rely on what generally happens in their geographic location; they must be prepared for a variety of disasters, both natural and man-made. For example, almost one-fourth of all significant tornadoes occur in Tornado Alley, yet the vast majority of high fatality tornadoes in recent years have occurred in areas such as the southeastern United States where tornadoes are an especially rare occurrence. Stay informed of the types of emergencies likely to affect specific regions to ensure readiness for the unexpected.
Ensure facilities have the equipment to support crisis plans. In large-scale evacuation scenarios, having the right evacuation equipment is critical. Be sure to choose a manufacturer that will partner with an individual or organization to assess actual needs, provide accessible and intuitive equipment and properly prepare them for the worst-case scenario. Avoid carry and wheeled devices; these can be dangerous for individuals in case they have to evacuate through debris-filled hallways. The best evacuation equipment needs to be non-lift, slide devices that can handle both vertical and horizontal evacuation needs.
“Protocols and equipment are critical to emergency preparedness, but protocols are only as good as the training and drills that are conducted.”
Be realistic in training and drills. Protocols and equipment are critical to emergency preparedness, but protocols are only as good as the training and drills that are conducted. When running a drill, do not assume assistance from first responders; create a chaotic environment – pipe in noise, turn off the lights, shut down the elevators – and include individuals with disabilities. Create the environment that will truly prepare an organization for a real world evacuation.
Emergency evacuations are a part of society, and it is extremely important that safety officials and the greater community take the necessary precautions to help mitigate the risks of an event like the Philadelphia building collapse. By making these tips available, we hope to better prepare communities for real world emergency situations.”