Disaster Recovery Guide

Tips for Business Evacuation Planning

Protecting the safety and lives of individuals is first priority during a disaster situation. Emergency evacuation planning will help reduce confusion, minimize injuries and ultimately save lives.
Evacuation planning will vary in scope, depending on your facility and the type of emergency. Your plan will need to account for situations that require immediate evacuation, such as a fire, or an evacuation process that happens over several days, such as a hurricane. There are some general guidelines you can follow to create an effective evacuation plan.

Plan for All Individuals Affected by the Disaster

  • Consider the needs of all potential individuals that could be at your facility when a disaster happens-employees, visitors, emergency responders
  • Establish procedures in advance for individuals in need of assistance. This includes permanent disabilities, as well as situations such as asthma, third trimester pregnancy, broken ankles, etc.
  • Coordinate plans with local emergency services and include provisions for shutting down your facility if necessary.
  • Test your evacuation plan at least once annually or when changes to the plans are made

Designate Roles and Responsibilities

  • Establish a clear chain of command. Identify personnel who have the authority to order and direct an evacuation
  • Designate individuals to assist others, account for personnel and visitors and shut down critical operations if necessary

Establish Evacuation Routes

  • Designate primary and secondary evacuation routes and exits
  • Install emergency lighting in case of a power outage
  • Ensure that emergency exits and evacuation routes are clearly marked and well lit, accessible and unobstructed at all times

Provide Evacuation Information

  • Establish, document, post and distribute evacuation policies and procedures
  • Provide emergency information such as check lists and evacuation maps. Post evacuation maps in strategic locations-consider the information needs for visitors to your facility
  • Ensure all individuals are familiar with designated evacuation assembly locations