October is Fire Safety Month – Here are Some Helpful Tips
Train to Improve Resiliency
Assembling a disaster response team comprised of multiple departments from the organization guarantees the entire business is involved in the process of plan development and training. The response team should designate roles and responsibilities for all personnel. Make sure each employee knows his or her roles and responsibilities and understands the different aspects of the response plan.
Take time to discuss the specific hazards within your organization, such as flammable materials, toxic chemicals, radioactive sources, or water-reactive substances, as well as the protective actions employees can take should they come in contact with said hazards. Be sure employees know who their team leaders are and clearly communicate who is in charge during an emergency to minimize confusion. Include updated response plan procedures in orientation programs to keep all employees on the same page and prepare them to remain calm during an emergency.
Depending on the size of your organization, you may want to take the time to train employees on how to use a fire extinguisher or execute first aid procedures. Once everyone is properly trained, knows their responsibilities, and understands the disaster response plan, hold a practice drill involving the entire organization. After each drill, gather the teams and evaluate the effectiveness of the drill and specify any areas that need improvement. Hold regular practice drills to continuously improve the evacuation process and fix any holes in the plan. As a result, the resiliency of the whole organization will be improved.
After a fire, a business still needs to maintain operations even though the physical location may be compromised. The disaster response plan should detail actions that need to be taken after the fire to enable the company to continue maintaining critical operations. Begin by detailing the organization’s functions, services, and who is being served to determine the kind of temporary space the business will need to occupy during the recovery process. If equipment is needed to carry out job functions, have a plan to access the equipment and make arrangements to set up an alternative workspace. Setting up remote access so employees can work from home is another viable option for certain industries.
Seeking Third-Party Services
Disaster planning, training, and recovery management can be a draining process for organizational leaders. Seeking help from a third-party service provider can alleviate the stress and take the burden off your company. A third-party service provider can help design a disaster response plan to fit your organizational needs and structure training sessions that prepare the entire workforce for crises. Engaging outside expertise also helps to identify things your organization may have missed and guides the development of drills that will make fire safety second nature for employees.
In addition to keeping your organization resilient, your employees may need help recovering, too. Surviving a fire can be a traumatic event that leaves a lasting impact. Employers should provide the option of an employee assistance program, or EAP, to help staff adjust back to their daily routines after a life-changing event. EAP services provide access to counseling, management consultation, and local resources to ensure employees are supported after a fire or other crisis.
Organizations across all industries must be prepared for the threat of fire. Preventative steps, designing the right disaster response plan, and implementing regular training sessions and drills will help mitigate the risk of a fire and keep your employees safe.
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