When Disaster Strikes, Is Your Building Emergency Plan Ready?
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
by: Duthie Power Services

Section: Trends and Tips

People tend to assume that emergencies won’t happen in their building…despite regular reports of fires, floods, blackouts, and other disasters.

Building managers have a much bigger job: ensuring everyone stays safe and sound. That’s a short summary of a huge task for building managers charged with implementing an effective Emergency Preparedness Plan.

Since lives often depend on this building emergency plan, creating it can seem overwhelming! But don’t worryOSHA has a fantastic, thorough how-to guide, with a nifty e-tool for making your own individual building plan.

But before you dive into the details, get the big picture with our quick, no-frills intro to facility emergency planning:

Create Your Evacuation/Shelter Plansand Make Them Easy to Follow

Different emergencies require different plans; for instance, evacuation itself isn’t always the safest route if the chief danger is outside the building. OSHA’s evacuation procedures e-tool guides you through the process of creating your building emergency plans with questions such as:
  • How will building inhabitants be alerted and instructed during the emergency? Which method will be most effective?
  • Who are the evacuation leaders (those who will take charge of safety procedures during an emergency)?
  • When should all employees evacuate immediately?
  • Who (if anyone) should initiate and complete critical operations shutdown procedures?
  • How should you identify and clearly mark exit routes?
  • Who is authorized to use fire extinguishers, and in what circumstances?
  • Who has special needs, including “invisible” conditions like asthma, that might surface during an emergency?
  • Which employees can perform medical or rescue duties?
  • Where should employees gather?
  • How will you account for all employees and visitors?

Answering these questions via an effective safety plan can save lives, so don’t delaypop on over to OSHA! And of course, a safety plan is only good if it’s followedso once you’ve created it, ensure that everyone in your building is well trained on his or her role in the emergency power plan.


Post Your Emergency Phone Number List

Everyone knows to call 911, but building facility emergencies often require more specific assistance too. Since the last thing an emergency situation needs is people frantically trying to look up the numbers of the gas utility/insurance company/fire department/ambulance/water provider/etc., fill in this simple emergency contact sheet and post copies in highly visible, heavily accessed locations throughout the building.

Prepare Backup Power

Many businesses require backup power during an outage or other emergency. So it’s a no-brainer to install a backup generator. But don’t rest on your laurels thenhave your generator regularly serviced by experienced professionals, or it could fail just when you need it most.

Thank you to Duthie Power Services, a 2020 BOMA San Diego Annual Supporting Partner, for providing this educational content!