If you are a safety officer, first aid officer or fire warden, your role and responsibilities in an emergency are clearly defined in your workplace’s Emergency Response Plan (ERP).
But what about the rest of the staff in the facility?
First aid training covers this, but in the urgency of an emergency situation, it can be hard to remember what to do.
It’s always safest to engage a company like Workplace Emergency Management when developing your Emergency Response Plan, so we will only be providing a basic outline in this blog.
Here is what you should do when there’s an emergency in your workplace if, you’re not part of the Emergency Control Organisation.
Always keep in mind that listening to and following the wardens’ instructions takes precedence over anything else.
When the evacuation alarm sounds
This alarm signals that you should get ready to evacuate the facility.
Common things you should immediately start doing in this instance include:
- Turning off all electrical equipment, appliances, machinery and computers
- Putting any confidential paperwork or files away in their predetermined, secure location
- Making sure any valuables are securely put away
- Collecting any personal items (like phones, handbags, wallets, etc.) if safe and possible to do so
- Closing doors, if you can – but not locking them
However, in the case of a fire alarm (or being advised to leave immediately by any of the wardens), you should not attempt to gather your belongings or do anything else but evacuate.
The most crucial thing in those instances is to exit as quickly as possible, to keep yourself safe.
As you’re evacuating
When you’re exiting a building, you should do the following:
- Help others along the evacuation route, but not if it means putting your own safety at risk
- Not try to carry anyone down any stairs – this is too dangerous and should be left to emergency personnel.(Remember, fire exits are usually rated to allow non-ambulant persons a safe place to wait for help)
- Follow the safest, closest dedicated evacuation route
- Don’t rush, and do your best to stay calm
- Don’t use any elevators as there is a large risk of getting trapped, especially during a fire – only use the stairs unless directed otherwise by the Emergency Services
When you’ve evacuated the building
Once you’ve safely exited the building, don’t stop.
Continue walking calmly and quickly to the nearest assembly area, or to wherever you are directed by your Wardens or the Emergency Services.
Once you reach the assembly area, remain there until you’re told to leave by the Wardens or Emergency Services.
Do not return to the building until you are told it’s safe for you to do so, again by the Warden or Emergency Services.
Your job is to listen to those in your ECO, or emergency services personnel
When there is an emergency situation in your building, such as a fire, it’s important to listen to those in charge of your safety.
In an emergency situation, the Chief Warden and other Wardens have authority over any other staff members.
Once the Emergency Services arrive, they will then have full control of the facility.
Unless your manager also happens to be one of your fire wardens or safety officers, you should not fear being reprimanded for not following their directions in a crisis.
It is the job of your Emergency Control Organisation and Emergency Services Personnel to keep you and everyone else in the facility safe when an emergency occurs.
Their training and knowledge should give you confidence in an emergency situation and help you to remain calm.
For a more comprehensive look at what staff should do in emergencies, refer to your Emergency Response Plan or talk to the team here at Workplace Emergency Management.
Workplace Emergency Management can help you develop emergency response plans, run evacuation drills, and provide the necessary training to keep everyone in your building as safe as possible during all types of emergency situations.