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Emergencies in the workplace may feel rare and unlikely, but they do occur more than you may believe. Planning and training ahead to respond to an emergency is a critical first step to working safely every day. With every work environment being unique with its own hazards, obstacles, and challenges, you must learn and practice how to respond and evacuate in the event of an emergency.
An action plan is a detailed guide breaking down each possible emergency in your workplace, how you should respond during an emergency, how to protect yourself, etc. While they are additional requirements, these will vary depending on the industry.
One of the most common responses to a major incident in the workplace is evacuating the premises. Commonly, this can occur from fire or exposure to hazards, but removing yourself as quickly as possible from the environment will greatly reduce the possibility of injury or illness. Any and all emergency action plans should include a step-by-step guide on your workplace’s evacuation procedure.
In most environments, the immediate response to an incident is to remove yourself from the workplace and await instructions from the emergency personnel. Fire, police, and medical personnel will typically be on scene within minutes and can handle more in-depth incidents or issues. Always take care of yourself first and foremost. However, one of the most common questions in any emergency action plan discussion is whether a growing incident, such as a fire, should attempt to be handled or if employees should evacuate immediately. Go over this with your supervisor in your training on what actions should be taken in each situation.
EAP Reporting & Review
While the first response in most emergencies is to call the police, an additional procedural change should be in place, including informing your supervisor, other co-workers, and activating any workplace alarm systems. Depending on the workplace, additional systems may be present, with different tones or even colored flashing lights to dictate the type of emergency occurring. Work with your supervisor to understand the systems in place with your environment and how you should respond accordingly.