Something that many new business owners do not think twice about is writing an emergency action plan (EAP). Interestingly enough, this is also one of the most important aspects of opening a new business. Before opening up a business, write out a basic EAP to keep customers and employees safe if an emergency were to occur during work hours. Not sure where to start? This Houston fire protection company has you covered.
The first step is to appoint at least one person (depending on how large your venue is) to be an emergency coordinator. This person is the leader of the evacuation and the person who makes important decisions in an emergency, so choose wisely. In an emergency, the emergency coordinator needs to be able to make calls to the proper emergency sector, calls the nearby businesses who might be impacted by the emergency, and orchestrates the shutdown of operations. This person should know how many people are in the building and do a headcount once the building has been evacuated. Cellular devices should be used to get ahold for those who work in the office but are currently not in the building to ensure their safety.
Print out a floor plan of your space to mark where the exits are and where each area of the building should exit in an emergency. Mark where fire alarms, fire extinguishers, utility shut-offs, and any other important emergency items are for easy access. Make a list of equipment that needs to be shut off before evacuating as well, and appoint someone the duty of doing so before exiting the building. Make sure to print out several copies of this visual plan for emergency coordinators and post a few copies in high traffic areas.
Ask Advantage, your Houston fire protection company, to install Houston fire alarms that flash and make noise. This ensures that anyone with hearing or visual disabilities will know when there’s an emergency. If an employee has a disability, ensure there is a plan in place for that person to make it out of the building safely. It would also help to teach employees how to help those with disabilities to make it out safely in an emergency just in case a customer or visitor with a disability is present.
Worksite leaders are different from emergency coordinators. Worksite leaders ensure that the person designated to turn off equipment is properly trained to do so and knows how to evacuate the area after going through proper procedures. This leader should also ensure that those in his/her area exit safely through the designated emergency exit. Before distributing a final draft of EAP, run it through with worksite leaders to get their opinion. While the plan may sound good on paper, it may not actually play out the way you’re thinking it will.
After distributing the EAP, schedule a couple of practice drills so that everyone knows where they need to be if a real emergency happens. Don’t forget to do a practice with temporary employees, contractors, or visitors in the building. Make sure employees know how to assist guests with exiting the building. You should also think of a few different probable emergency situations that may cause everyone to shift their exit strategy. Switching drills for different days of the week can also help employees be more prepared.
If something about your current Houston fire system doesn’t seem to work for your commercial property’s needs, call Advantage. We can inspect your system to ensure it’s working correctly, plus we can design custom Houston fire protection systems to fit your needs. For more information, give us a call at 713-983-7253.