by Tim Butler, Director of Safety & Compliance
Fires, explosions, weather emergencies, and chemical spills are among the occurrences that may
require emergency evacuations of the buildings we work in. Each facility SHOULD have established
emergency evacuation procedures that you are required to become familiar with as you start
working in the building. It is important to know how the alarm will be sounded (strobes, horns, PA
announcement, etc.) and what the evacuation procedures are. You must be aware of the rally or
assembly point designated for the facility. Regardless of the individual facilities’ procedures, here
are some universal actions you should follow in all evacuation events.
- Stop all activities immediately. Everyone who is alerted by the alarm is required to
evacuate the facility as quickly and as calmly as possible.
- Assess that all persons can evacuate the area. Supervisors and managers are required to
assure that everyone, including individuals with mobility limitations have evacuated their
area. Supervisors and managers are required to report the headcount to the host facility
- Follow EXIT signs to the nearest safe exit. Do not use elevators! Special care should be
taken with some footwear such as clogs, that could hamper rapid and safe descent down
- Use the stairs. Never use the elevator. Walk briskly but do not run. Stay on the right in
order to allow emergency responders clear access up the stairs, along the left side. Always
use the handrails.
- Allow others to enter the stairwell. As you approach the landing of each floor, allow
evacuees from that level to enter the stairwell.
- Steer clear of hazards. If evacuation becomes difficult via a chosen route because of
smoke, flames or blockage, reenter the facility on a safe floor. Continue evacuation via the
nearest safe exit route.
- Move away from the building. Once you have exited the facility, move at least 150 ft. away
from the building and exit doors. Assemble at the designated Evacuation Assembly Area.
- Do not reenter the building without an “all clear”. Do not, under any circumstances,
reenter the facility unless authorized by emergency responders or a designated official
from the facility.
- In facilities without alarm systems, all persons must leave whenever it becomes clear that
an emergency exists which necessitates evacuation for the protection, safety and wellbeing of the occupants.
- Do not endanger yourself in order to control a hazard.
- While working, never store materials or block any exit route or emergency exit doors.