5 Emergency Scenarios All Facilities Managers Should Plan For

Plan for office emergency scenarios

As a facility manager, you know that anything can happen when you’re least expecting it. That's why you plan for these unforeseen events with regular maintenance, testing and inspections, building continuity planning and the right facilities management software. The trick to being proactive and anticipating these situations is as simple as expecting the unexpected.

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Explosions and fires

Fire evacuation plan

Fire danger might be the most lethal threat your office faces, but it is preventable with the right precautions. We recommend scheduling your maintenance team to undertake regular checks of electrical wiring and smoke alarms. You should also effectively communicate emergency exit plans to your staff. You can design an evacuation plan tailored to your office setup with software that allows you to track and manage your entire office space.

Chemical threats

Don’t make the mistake of not properly preparing for chemical threats by believing they’re improbable. Purchasing protective equipment—such as respiratory masks and other protective apparel—might seem like an unnecessary investment, but it could mean the difference between life and death. One way to ensure preparedness is to be able to manage your staff and your space from a mobile device should you have to evacuate the building.

Workplace violence

Violent acts and altercations can be difficult to anticipate, but certain resources can equip you for necessary action. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides specific guidance for facility managers on their website regarding how to handle physical assaults or threatening behavior. During such incidents, it’s essential to know where to direct affected individuals—whether it’s the threatening individual or those who can be potentially harmed—to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Floods, hurricanes and earthquakes

OSHA also provides guidance on how to handle natural disasters such as extreme flooding, earthquakes and other hazards incurred by severe weather.

Tragedies like the recent hurricanes in the southern United States show us that we must be ready at all times to avoid loss of assets, and even injury or death.

Some ways to prepare include putting together emergency kits, reviewing your insurance policies and familiarizing yourself with the zone where you live, including where to evacuate to if necessary. Should you be displaced by a natural disaster, you’ll need to make an in-depth plan for moving to a temporary location or a new one altogether.

Utility disruptions and failures

Internal communication is essential should electricity go out without notice—and employees will be looking for direction during what can become a chaotic situation. Plans and procedures for how to act in blackouts or power outages should be organized in advance, and made available for all employees to review. As the facility manager, it is also your job to gather and put in place important emergency supplies such as flashlights, battery operated radios and a backup power supply for any essential medical equipment. Keep track of and instantly locate these important materials using effective resource tracking software.

Utility disruptions and failures

The ability to think quickly in a crisis starts long before a situation arises. Communication, thorough information gathering and the ability to stay calm will be essential to helping your organization manage risks effectively. Your preparedness as a facility manager can lead to heroic actions that save resources and even lives.

For more information on making sure your workplace is prepared for the worst, check out our interview with Paul Sullivan, SVP Product and Operations at Agility Recovery. He has over 25 years of experience in disaster recovery and information technology industries.

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