Does Your Office Have a Refuge Point?

Does your office have a safety plan in case of an emergency? Do you know where to exit the building in case of fire, power-out, flood, or security threat? Who are your designated evacuation directors or staff? Is there a clear refuge point? Are there any provisions in mind for staff who may have mobility or visual issues, like an emergency evacuation chair?

Establishing a robust safety plan might not be top-of-mind for every business, but doing so will pay off if there is an environmental or security issue that threatens the welfare of your team.

Preparing and following through with a solid plan won’t take much of your time or resources and likely won’t cost too much money (for example, today’s evacuation chair prices are quite reasonable, given the level of safety and reassurance they’ll provide).

Here are a few key features to include in your building’s safety plan — including the allocation of a ‘refuge point’— so that your team can be safe, no matter what happens.

Incorporating Key Details in Your Office Safety Plan

  • evacuation routes may be needed based on specific types of crises.
  • poison control. Phone numbers and secondary phone numbers for these contacts should also be included.

Talking to Your Colleagues About Your Plan

You should clearly articulate your emergency response plan to your team; it’s recommended you do this on a regular basis. Copies of your plan should be sent to inboxes, and feedback and questions should be welcomed and encouraged. You may also consider having a Health and Safety officer host a talk to relay emergency plan details — like the location of your refuge point — and answer questions and concerns.

Preparing for Emergency Isn’t Just for Businesses

While it’s important for places of business (like offices) to prepare in case of emergency, other locations (like service industry locations or accommodations) should also designate a refuge point. These include:

In public areas such as these, visual maps must be clearly displayed and showcase a defined plan with an obviously designated refuge point for those who need it.

Places of accommodation (like assisted living facilities and apartment buildings) should follow a similar protocol to office buildings in that residents should be regularly made aware of your emergency protocol. This could be done via your community newsletter or by staff chatting with residents at annual general meetings.

Lastly, feedback is key. If your team, clients, or residents are foggy on the details of your emergency plan, it’s setting you up for failure should an emergency arise. Send out surveys and get the conversation started!


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