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Should my company have an Emergency Action Plan?

Every company should employ an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) to provide the safest work environment possible.  Tornado season is a definite cause of concern, yet there are many other disasters that can occur while employees are in the workplace, as well:  bomb threats, fires, etc.

An EAP details the actions employees should follow to ensure their safety when an emergency situation occurs.  Disasters require specific plans according to the threat at hand, therefore pertinent procedures should be identified for each potential crisis.

A good EAP will include instructions on when and how employees should respond to various disasters.  At a minimum, an EAP must contain these sections:

Procedures for reporting emergencies, such as dialing “911” or an in-house emergency number, pulling the fire alarm, etc.

  1. A description of the alarm system that directs employees to evacuate or take shelter
  2. Evacuation policies, procedures and emergency escape routes, outlining who is authorized to order evacuations and what conditions would necessitate evacuations.
  3. Procedures to account for employees after the evacuation.  For example, gathering at a specific location so a head-count can be done via checklist or some other acceptable method.
  4. Clear assignment of specific tasks, such as first-aid, rescue, accounting for all employees, etc., to supervisors or other personnel,
  5. An employee disaster training program and/or conducting emergency drills.  This should allow for employees to give their input regarding existing plans, procedures, etc.

 For additional information visit the Federal emergency Management Administration web site at www.fema.gov/plan/ehp/response.shtm

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