Emergencies can strike at any time, and confusion throughout your company will only sow more chaos. That’s why emergency action plans (EAP) are often required by OSHA. The quality of your emergency action plan is crucial. A strong emergency action plan can mean the difference between keeping your head above water and plummeting towards disaster.
Every company’s emergency action plan is different, but you can draft your own with ease. That way whatever disaster strikes, you and your company will be prepared.
What Is an Emergency Action Plan?
An emergency action plan is a standard process that your company can use in the event of an emergency. It outlines the roles of everyone involved, from employers to managers and employees. It is often accompanied by regular training so that everyone on the team knows their part in the emergency action plan. Your EAP may include details such as:
- How to report an emergency
- Evacuation and escape procedures
- Operation procedures before evacuation
- How to account for all employees
- Rescue and medical assistance procedures
- Emergency contact information
An emergency action plan can also be known as:
- Business emergency plan
- Emergency operations plan
- Emergency response plan
When Is an Emergency Action Plan Required?
It’s always a good idea to have an EAP, though hopefully, you will rarely need to use it. Emergency action plans are put in place to prepare businesses for disasters that may require sheltering in place or evacuating as quickly as possible. You may need to use an emergency action plan in the event of:
- Biological accidents
- Bomb threats
- Hazardous material spills
- Heavy storms such as tornadoes
- Hostile intruder situations or workplace violence
- Structural failure
These are all situations in which confusion can lead to mayhem, and the organization of an EAP can save lives.
How To Write an Emergency Action Plan
The more thorough your emergency action plan, the safer your company will be:
Step 1 – Emergency Phone Numbers
Set out emergency numbers, including not just the police and paramedics but security and building services as well as any other relevant service.
Step 2 – Emergency Response Personnel
You should also designate who on your team will make up your emergency response personnel, from officials and coordinators to floor wardens and area monitors. Clearly specify the duties of each person in the event of an emergency. Make sure that there are team members designated to help those with physical disabilities. If you have remote workers or hybrid employees, ensure that you have additional designated emergency response personnel.
Step 3 – Training
What kind of training will be employed to ensure the emergency procedures are well known? Make sure your team knows their individual responsibilities during an emergency and what types of emergencies pose threats.
Step 4 – Critical Operations
Note any critical operations that may require someone to stay on-site in order to prevent further damage.
Step 5 – Evacuation
Include evacuation route maps alongside your emergency action plan and detail what types of emergencies require evacuations.
Step 6 – Emergency Procedures
Finally, the emergency procedures section will take up the bulk of your emergency action plan. You need to detail emergency instructions for all possible scenarios. Cover situations such as fires and all potential natural emergencies relevant to your location. You should also consider including situations such as bomb threats, civil disturbances, and structure failure.
Emergency Action Plan Template
An emergency action plan should read more like an outline or a form, with the steps clearly set out. Because there are so many details to include, it’s helpful to work from a premade template. A template will go into the details of all kinds of different emergencies and include several recommended steps to take. These steps are checked by OSHA regulations. Rather than spending hours or days creating your EAP, you can simply adjust a template to suit your needs.
Emergency Action Plan