The best way to protect your employees is to make sure they’re prepared. If an actual emergency strikes, people may have a harder time thinking clearly. Drills can save lives by showing people what to do, before an emergency occurs.
When conducting a drill, alert employees ahead of time so they know what’s going to happen and how they should respond. Afterward, evaluate the process:
• Were doors unlocked so people could evacuate?
• Were walkways clear of hazards?
• Did employees take the fastest route and avoid the elevators?
• In a tornado drill, was there enough room for everyone in the designated safe area?
• Do you need a better way to communicate the emergency?
If you rely on emergency alarms, make sure they will still work in the event of a power loss. The same goes for exit lights.
Post the safety procedures and instructions for drills somewhere that all employees can easily access in case of an emergency.
At a minimum, your safety drill should include the fastest emergency evacuation routes. Or design a mock drill in which certain exits become “blocked,” forcing employees to find an alternate exit — similar to what could happen in an actual emergency.
Establish a meeting place so you can account for everyone after an evacuation.
Tornadoes can happen anytime, with little warning. Make sure employees know the safest places to take shelter. Identify a windowless area in the center of the building on the lowest floor possible. Basements are best but, if there isn’t a basement, direct employees to an interior closet, bathroom, or hallway.
Many states hold mock tornado warnings. Schools will be conducting safety drills, so it’s a great time to get the adults talking about weather safety at work, too.