Promote employee safety with emergency drills

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.

Fire safety 
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.

Tornado safety 
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.