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Emergency Response Training Tips Every Business Can Use (Plus a Checklist)

April 28, 2020

When it comes to workplace emergencies, it may seem difficult (or even impossible) to know how to teach your employees the best ways to respond to any given crisis situation. But the truth is that an emergency can strike your business at any time, and the people in your building need to be prepared.

Safeguard lives and protect property by following the tips within this article. Afterward, your organization will be one step closer to decreasing risk and improving safety within your organization.

Tip 1: Brainstorm a list of worst-case emergency scenarios.

The very first step in emergency response training is understanding the possible disaster situations or crisis scenarios your organization could face. After all, you’ll need to know what types of situations you may be up against before you can determine the best ways to respond to them. Here’s a list of possible emergencies an organization may encounter.

  • Active Shooter/Threat
  • Bomb Threat
  • Building Collapse
  • Chemical Spill
  • Civil disturbance
  • Earthquake
  • Equipment Damage
  • Explosion
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Heat Wave
  • Hurricane
  • Loss of Electrical Power
  • Loss of Vital Records/Documents
  • Loss of Water Supply
  • Medical Emergency
  • Natural Disaster
  • Severe Weather
  • Snow or Ice Storm
  • Terrorism
  • Tornadoes
  • Workplace violence

Planning for all potential emergencies will help you, your employees and your organization feel more prepared to face the unexpected. When creating your list of possible crisis scenarios, remember to factor in special hazards that are specific to your facility (such as toxic chemicals, flammable materials, radioactive materials and water-reactive substances).

Download 5 Steps to Building a Business Continuity Plan

Tip 2: Assemble an employee training plan.

Business continuity teams are in charge of assembling an emergency action plan (EAP) for their businesses. Employees will also need to understand the various types of emergencies that may occur in the workplace, as well as the protocols listed within your organization’s plan.

The size of your facility and workforce will determine your training requirements, but in general, employers should take the time to train their workforce on the following emergency response protocols:

  • Accountability procedures
  • Alarm activation procedures
  • Emergency lockdown procedures
  • Emergency response procedures
  • Evacuation and shelter-in-place procedures
  • Individual roles and responsibilities in an emergency
  • Location and use of emergency equipment
  • Potential threats and hazards in the workplace
  • Self-protection procedures during a crisis
  • Warning and communications procedures

Tip 3: Teach employees how to locate and operate emergency equipment.

In any emergency, employees need to know who is in charge of what, and what actions they must take to protect themselves and others. Employees should also know how to locate and operate emergency-related equipment safely and efficiently. These are the duties and equipment an employee should be familiar with before a crisis occurs:

  • How to locate and use fire suppression equipment
  • How to locate first-aid kits and related equipment
  • How to wear and use personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • How to enact and respond to shutdown procedures
  • How to report or safely clean up a hazardous material
  • How to safely exit a building in case of fire
  • How to report suspicious or unauthorized activity

Remember, your emergency action plan should explain these procedures in easy-to-understand language. These procedures should also be distributed to employees or posted in an easily accessible area in your facility.

Tip 4: Host periodic emergency response training sessions.

Emergency response procedures should never be set in stone. In fact, it’s a good idea to review them on a regular basis and make adjustments as needed. There are a variety of situations where emergency response training sessions should be held in your organization. Train employees on the emergency response plan when you:

  • Create a first iteration of an emergency action plan
  • Assign an employee to carry out a specific responsibility
  • Hire a new employee or group of employees
  • Introduce new emergency equipment, materials or processes
  • Add a new facility or change the layout of an existing one
  • Revise or update your emergency procedures

As a rule of thumb, your employees should always be up to date on the latest emergency procedures and policies listed in your EAP. You can never be “too safe” with safety and security in your organization!

Tip 5: Host awareness campaigns and exercises.

Employees will require continuous training to stay up-to-date on the latest emergency protocols in your business because if training is not reinforced, it will likely be forgotten. Education and hands-on training sessions are great for helping your team members retain important safety information.  Consider hosting corporate safety awareness programs, orientation exercises, online video seminars, emergency response drills or emergency communication exercises.

  • PRO TIP: Classes, exercises and drills can be coordinated with outside emergency personnel, such as fire and law enforcement services. Reach out to your local department to see how they can help.

After you’ve hosted a training session, collect data and review results. Discuss the strengths and weaknesses that were identified and create a plan for improvements. The right adjustments will help you and your employees be ready when an emergency occurs.

Here’s Your Free Guide to Creating a Business Continuity Plan

Emergency preparedness is just one facet of business continuity planning. But with so many resources available on the internet, it can be difficult to know where to start. We made it easy with our step-by-step guide to business continuity planning. Inside, you’ll find resources including a business continuity planning outline, a business impact questionnaire, and other helpful tools. Check it out!

Download 5 Steps to Building a Business Continuity Plan

Meaghan Kelly

Former marketing content copywriter for AkitaBox.

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