Emergency Evacuation Drills: What They Are and Why You Need to Do Them
If your idea of an emergency drill brings nothing but distant memories of grade school to mind, then you’re likely putting yourself and your family at significant risk for little reason. That’s because emergency preparations and training aren’t just something that children need to think about when they are young; they are skills that can save the lives of anyone who practices them.
Do I Need to Prepare for Evacuations?
Emergencies can happen at any time, and while that means they are unpredictable, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t a good deal that you can do to ensure they cause as little damage and harm as possible. When you have a family, it is important that you all get together to agree on a plan so that everyone in your household is put at as little risk as possible if emergencies strike.
For that reason, it is always a good idea to practice the best habits regarding home safety evacuation and to revisit your preparation level at least once every year. That’s why we at Evacuscape have prepared this overview of emergency evacuation drills to help you get started on a safety preparation in your home.
What is an Emergency Evacuation Drill?
While fire safety and evacuation training from your school days shouldn’t be your most recent memory of practicing a proper evacuation safety routine, it should give you an idea of what such routines are all about.
In case you don’t have any memories of learning such a procedure in the past or feel you need a reminder: an emergency evacuation drill is an exercise that is performed to train all of the occupants of a building to follow a plan designed to exit in an emergency safely. Such drills also allow those occupants to evaluate how effective and efficient they are at carrying out that plan.
Making a Checklist in Advance
Part of the reason that an emergency evacuation drill is so helpful is that it allow you to make a plan and ensure everyone in your home will be familiar with what to do. As such, one of the most important parts of a complete emergency plan is to make an emergency evacuation drill checklist to ensure you’ve got everything covered that you’ll need.
Keep in mind that when an emergency happens, you could be facing a traumatic situation that prevents you from thinking through everything you’ve planned in advance, so a checklist will help you keep track of any information that you’ll need. You can also add copies of essential documents and contact information to your plan if you need them after you’ve evacuated your building.
Understanding Evacuation Procedure
While a few of the steps involved in preparing for emergencies might seem basic, it is helpful to pay attention to expert advice on the subject to ensure you’re doing things correctly. In a matter of life and death, there’s no point in taking chances or cutting corners. For this reason, you should keep a battery-powered or manually powered crank radio at home at all times to provide you with a way to get information from emergency services in the case of a power outage.
Knowing the 4 stages of evacuation can help you understand the risks involved at any stage of an evacuation and ensure that you’re responding correctly to vital emergency response directives. These 4 stages specifically refer to when and how you should evacuate a building:
- Stage 1: Immediate Evacuation (Evacuate the building immediately.)
- Stage 2: Lateral Evacuation (You must move to a safer area.)
- Stage 3: Partial Evacuation (Only specific sections or floors of a building must evacuate.)
- Stage 4: Full Evacuation (The entire building must evacuate.)
The 6 P’s for Evacuation
Another important part of the evacuation procedure that is important to understand is the 6 P’s for evacuation. While these do not refer specifically to the actions and requests of emergency response teams, they can provide you with a helpful way to remember your plan and to consider ideas on how to improve it. The 6 P’s of evacuation are
- Practice Makes Perfect
Emergency Evacuation Supplies
While it is essential to maintain a plan for home evacuation, you’ll also want to consider keeping some emergency goods and equipment on hand to promote a higher level of safety. For example, making an emergency kit can ensure that you have essential supplies you might need in case of a power outage or injury. Keeping essential non-perishable goods and a water supply will ensure you’ll be able to survive if you are trapped at home for some time.
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Emergency Evacuation Equipment
You can also purchase emergency equipment that might prove vital if needed. For example, if your own an emergency evacuation stair chair at your home or office building, you can rest assured that anyone on the premises that requires assistance to descend a staircase can easily be evacuated with the help of one other person.
Preparing at Your Office
Your home is not the only building that might face emergencies; they can also occur at work. If you work in a tall office building, the need to conduct fire drills, create an evacuation plan, make a checklist, follow the 6 P’s of evacuation and pay close attention to the 4 stages of evacuation are just as pressing as they are while you’re at home. If you aren’t currently reviewing these safety precautions at work, then plan a meeting with your colleagues to get started on emergency preparation. You should also talk to your management team and partner with the building owners to ensure that there are enough stair chairs in your building to help anyone with mobility issues safely exit when needed.
Don’t take chances with anyone’s safety. Make a plan to start conducting evacuation drills right away. And purchase an emergency evacuation stair chair to ensure that those who require assistance in descending stairways can get to safety in the case of emergency.