Every organization should have an Emergency Action or Evacuation Plan. Even when it is not required (by the building owner, fire department or occupancy regulations) it is a ‘best practice’ for every organization to plan and practice to evacuate all personnel from the workplace. Often, evacuation focuses on getting out quickly. Surely that’s the most critical objective. . While simple in principle, there are some considerations that should not be overlooked:
Too Close for Safety: The standard ‘rule of thumb’ for Assembly points is at least 200 feet from the evacuated building. This is intended to assure personnel will not be endangered is window glass or other debris falls. Keep in mind that taller buildings may have a wider potential debris pattern. Two-hundred feet should be used as the minimum. Assuring employee safety should be the priority.
Obstruction: When Emergency Services (Fire, police, ambulance) arrive, will they have sufficient room to do their job? Crowds of evacuated personnel shouldn’t impede their work. Emergency services may need room to park and to turn their vehicles around. Make sure Assembly Points are a reasonable distance from entrances and drive paths- and assure personnel won’t interfere.