Every facility manager should take the time to prioritize creating an emergency plan – even if there is no immediate danger of a disaster occurring. Developing an emergency plan is rarely something that should be taken lightly, and it can often make the difference between life or death when the unexpected occurs. For this reason, facility managers must rely on pre-determined frameworks to create a baseline for their emergency plan and then modify it to meet facility-specific needs.
Developing an effective facility manager emergency plan requires the assigned manager to complete an in-depth assessment of any facility vulnerabilities, personnel roles, and any needed communications needed to protect resources, operations, or people in a crisis. Once these factors have been accounted for, the facility manager will need to be diligent about documenting the process and communicating it to all facility-wide involved parties.
What Should Be Included in a Facility Manager Emergency Plan?
The overall structure of a facility manager's emergency plan is the most crucial part of the entire document. The way that the priorities are aligned and the order in which actions will be completed is critical. Having any of the required steps in a sequence that does not make sense could create disastrous problems. The best way for facility managers to align their priorities comes from following four key pillars for a successful emergency plan.
1. How Building Occupants are Tracked
When a disaster occurs, the people with a facility should be the primary concern. Unlike material things, people cannot be replaced, and having a system in place to track who was in the building at the time can help provide an accurate headcount or pinpoint anyone that might be missing. While it is essential not to be overbearing or pry too closely into daily activities, implementing a process for checking into and out of the building can help provide accurate counts at all times.
4. What Actions Should be Taken in an Emergency
Defining the steps to take within an emergency is often one of the most critical pieces of an effective facility manager emergency plan. When a problem occurs, it is common for employees to go into a frenzied mode. Having a dedicated team that can stay levelheaded and follows all outlined steps in an emergency will help mitigate damage and ensure safety remains a priority. From escorting employees out of the building to shutting off water valves, each step should be prioritized and delegated to trustworthy team members.