It would be hard to turn on the news on any given day and not hear about some form of tragic emergency. From natural disasters like floods, storms, or fire, to man-made ones like armed intruders. 

Whether you’re a school, organization, or business, you must be prepared for any type of emergency that could come your way. Your employees and clients need to know how to react if faced with the worst possible scenario. 

You need a detailed emergency action plan so everyone knows what to do in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have one, you’re dancing with danger. 

Read on to learn what you should consider as you craft your emergency action plan. Learn about emergency communications and how those impacted by the emergency should respond.

What Is an Emergency Action Plan?

An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a detailed plan outlining what should happen during an emergency. The plan should outline the response people in your organization should take depending on the type of emergency occurring. 

When you create an emergency plan, practice it, post it, and make others knowledgeable about it you can:

  • Reduce employee injuries
  • Avoid unnecessary property damage
  • Ensure the safety of visitors

All businesses, schools, and organizations should have an EAP. OSHA requires it by law for many businesses to protect the safety of workers. 

What Emergencies Might Require an Action Plan?

It’s hard and frightening to imagine all the types of emergencies that could befall a business. You probably can’t even write a possible emergency action plan for every scenario. 

What can do is write an action plan that creates potential scenarios so people know how they should react. Your action plans will include similar components that will guide those involved. 

The EAP will require careful planning and execution for anticipated emergencies for your organization. 

If you live in an area with frequent tornadoes, you need a plan for this. How people react will be different with each scenario. For example, how you respond when faced with an active shooter might be vastly different than if the building is on fire. 

What Does an Emergency Action Plan Do?

An effective action plan does several things. It helps people to know what to do when they are faced with an emergency. They may not have the ability or skills to think through a solution when they’re facing a crisis. 

It also helps to protect people and potentially save lives. Having a well-executed action plan can make a critical difference in the first minutes of an emergency. 

You not only know how to act and communicate with your employees, they know what to do as well. 

They can already anticipate whether they should:

When you can provide a swift and well-thought-out response as an emergency commences, your employees will know how to respond with the plans you’ve organized. 

This might mean employees begin a lockdown, help to evacuate the premises, or contact emergency services. They will be empowered with the knowledge of what to do. 

Components of an Action Plan

With so many factors to consider, no two action plans will look alike. You’ll need to consider your physical facility, who could potentially be impacted, and what roles in the plan different individuals will play.

You’ll want to consider your business hours and what might be happening around your business that could impact your response too. 

Most emergency action plans contain some of the same basic components. This includes:

  • Plans for evacuations
  • Posted floor plans and routes to take to escape out of the building
  • Plan for how you’ll alert staff of the existing emergency
  • Accounting for people as the emergency unfolds
  • Staff training including new hires
  • Policies for maintaining the EAP and keeping it up to date

It will be important to have a plan for communication both with emergency services and the media. More on this later. 

Procedures, Routes, and Plans

In the event of an emergency, there are a few ways people should respond. They might need to evacuate, shelter in place, or find a place to hide in the building. 

All require the staff to be well acquainted with both procedures of what they should do in different scenarios and routes to take when executing those plans. 

Some businesses set up a location like a Portable Emergency Response Center for people to move to during an emergency. 

Alerting Emergency Services

Most people know that in the event of an emergency, you’re going to need the help of emergency services. This might include police, fire, ambulance, and even medical personnel. 

You should, as part of your plan, have a person who is tasked with making the call to emergency services. They will know how to communicate what’s happening and what help will be needed. 

How to Communicate With Staff During an Emergency

An important part of your plan should be your emergency communications. You will need a plan for how you communicate with staff when an emergency is occurring. 

How you communicate will vary based on your organization and the number of people potentially impacted. 

It’s important to remember that some emergencies will require notifying everyone and quickly, while others, like a medical emergency, may not require full staff notification. 

You will also want to have a plan for how to account for your team during an emergency. This should be part of your communications plan. 

Media Communications

With most major emergencies, you’ll also need to deal with the media. Communicating with the media is necessary to maintain calm. 

It’s also critical that correct information is released to the media and only authorized individuals speak on behalf of the company to the media. This protects how information is released and that it’s accurate. 

You will want to have a media contact person as part of your plan. Your staff should understand that the only person who speaks to the media is the designated person.

Create an Emergency Action Plan  Including a  Mobile Command Post

An emergency action plan is critical in saving lives and navigating an unexpected emergency. The more you plan, the better prepared you’ll be for the emergency. 

If you want help with your EAP or need equipment to support your emergency plan, we can help. Contact us today to learn about how we can help support your emergency action plan.