Preparing: Training

How can my business create an Emergency Evacuation Plan?

It is important that every employee is knowledgeable about and trained in emergency evacuation procedures and that your business has an evacuation plan in place. Your employees might need to evacuate at a moment's notice; you and your employees should be ready to get out fast.

  • Use a copy of the building’s layout to develop your emergency evacuation plan.
  • Use a black or blue pen to mark the location of doors, windows, stairways, large furniture, etc.
  • Indicate the locations of emergency supplies kits, fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders and first aid kits.
  • Use a colored pen to draw a broken line to designate escape routes from each office and floor of the building.
  • Designate and mark a place outside of the facility where employees should meet. The gathering place should be out of the way of emergency personnel and their vehicles.
  • Practice emergency evacuation drills with all employees at least two times each year.
  • Ensure that each new employee understands the emergency evacuation plan and how it operates.

What other emergency operations and responses do my employees need to know?

  • Make sure that all employees are familiar with any procedures relating to continuity of operations, including knowing where back-up copies of important documents are located, where the business will operate from in case the facility is damaged, quarantined or destroyed. Include this information in your emergency response training materials.
  • All employees should know how to respond to specific emergencies, such as hurricanes or tornadoes. Include emergency-specific scenarios in your drills.

Training Opportunities

Community Emergency Response Team

Creating Community Emergency Response Teams in the workplace provides employees with 20 hours of disaster preparedness skills and training. CERT members are trained in response skills such as fire suppression, urban search and rescue, incident command and basic first aid. The training consists of eight modules:

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Fire Safety
  • Medical Operations Part 1 & 2
  • Light Search and Rescue
  • Disaster Psychology
  • Team Organization
  • Terrorism Awareness

CERT training enables employees to be prepared for all emergencies whether at work or at home. More about CERT.

Fire Safety Training

Any well-prepared workplace should have at least two portable fire extinguishers per floor and employees who know how to use them. Fire safety training teaches employees how to properly use a fire extinguisher using the P.A.S.S. method (Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep) and fire suppression safety.

More about fire safety. [external link -- opens in a new browser window]

Workplace Safety

Workplace safety training teaches employees about their role in creating a safe place to work, including preventative steps to ensure a safe working environment and a cleaner, healthier workplace. Workplace safety training might also include medical training, such as first aid and CPR.

Crime and Terrorism Awareness and Prevention

Crime prevention and awareness training is an excellent way to educate your employees about what crimes could occur at or near your business and how to respond to them. The Virginia Crime Prevention Association offers crime prevention training throughout the year. Courses include Basic Crime Prevention, Business Crime Prevention, and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. Visit the VCPA Training Calendar to find out more and register for courses. [external links -- opens in a new browser window]

Learning about the specific types of terrorism often reduces fear and creates a feeling of empowerment. The CERT program includes a terrorism awareness module as part of its training curriculum.

The American Red Cross

The American Red Cross offers a First Aid and Preparedness training module that discusses disaster preparedness as well as some basic first aid. A complete listing of courses available to businesses through the American Red Cross is available on their Web site.

Training is a necessary step to ensure your business is better prepared for all disasters. Contact your local fire, law enforcement, health or emergency management office or the American Red Cross to find out what other training resources might be available. [external links -- opens in a new browser window]