In recent years, organisations have transformed the way we prepare, respond to and manage emergency situations globally. Through the rapid uptake of new technologies, organisations can accurately account for their individuals in the event of an emergency and maintain the safety of their employees and visitors.
In the event of an emergency in an organisation, an efficient and rapid evacuation is of the utmost importance, as hundreds or thousands of people need to be evacuated as quickly as possible. The objective of the building evacuation is an efficient relocation of people from a hazardous building under imminent danger to safe areas through safe and rapid evacuation routes.
Smart building technology
While we cannot prevent some situations, organisations can take steps to mitigate risks against their personnel to ensure that their workplace safety comes from a properly designed emergency evacuation plan. To minimise evacuation–related casualties in a building emergency evacuation, smart building technologies can be used to share or relay information in real-time among evacuees.
Technology is beginning to dominate many aspects of the emergency management profession. This is particularly evident during disaster response. The role of technology in emergency management is to connect, inform and ultimately save the lives of those impacted by an emergency.
In whatever industry you operate in, employee safety and lone-worker protection are critical. The advancement in security technology enables responders to coordinate rescue missions and work efficiently from the minute they arrive. It can help organisations analyse, track and study emergency preparedness so that we can always be learning and developing better solutions — and prepare to keep employee safety as a priority.
Challenges to emergency evacuation
A primary challenge in emergency evacuation situation is communication. From an organisation point of view, the ability to articulate a situation to emergency responders is of the utmost importance when an incident occurs. A breakdown in communication could be a result of lack of emergency planning.
Having a clear Emergency Action Plan (EAP) that staff are well informed of and well-prepared for limits panic and ensures that employees, visitors and contractors arrive safely and as quickly as possible to the outside of the building in the case of an emergency.
Your plan must identify your organisation has:
- A clear passageway to all escape routes
- Clearly marked escape routes that are as short and direct as possible
- Enough exits and routes for all people to escape
- Emergency doors that open easily
- Emergency lighting where needed
- Training for all employees to know and use the escape routes
- A safe meeting point for staff
In addition to having a carefully planned EAP, the use of technology in your organisation can only further strengthen your emergency planning efforts.
Advancements in emergency management
When it comes to considering advancements in emergency management, past procedures must be taken into account to realise how far we’ve come. Think of the stock market - imagine a newspaper published stock prices a day later. Old technologies are like that newspaper: out-dated and obsolete.
|When an emergency begins, all personnel exit the building and use their staff or visitor badges to swipe safe at designated muster points located at the assembly point|
Manually recording mustered personnel such as paper-based roll calls, building sweeps and word of mouth are not only slow but are a high-risk, time-consuming and ineffective process. They do not provide 100% accuracy when it comes to accounting for all personnel that were on-site when the emergency began.
By 21st century standards, these methods are outdated. Organisations need to use the power of the digital world not just to connect people though social media platforms but more importantly use it to keep our people safe by improving how our evacuation plans are executed.
Automated emergency evacuation technology
Having an automated emergency evacuation solution can drastically improve emergency communications. In the event of a building evacuation, the most important process is ensuring that all personnel are accounted for and marked safe.
Installing a digital emergency
Building intelligence gives first responders and the incident commander 20/20 foresight as they approach a fire or other non-fire emergencies in a complex structure, allowing better decision-making as an incident is unfolding and ultimately, better outcomes. Presently, the information that reaches first responders about an emergency is minimal. Installing a digital emergency evacuation solution improves emergency response drastically. Real-time updates can provide critical knowledge to an incident commander and real-time access to building systems data holds the potential to improve fire service safety and response capabilities.
When an emergency begins, all personnel exit the building and uses their staff or visitor badges to swipe safe at designated muster points located at the existing assembly point. The transition over to new technology methods is eased by leveraging the use of existing technology in an organisation such as access control cards.
As personnel swipes safe, a digital missing list is produced on all smart mustering devices associated with the emergency evacuation. This real-time information provides automatic updates on who is still missing or unaccounted for and pinpoints their last known location.
Benefits to the organisation
Most organisations understand the value of providing a safe and secure working environment for their employees. By investing in workplace safety and health measures, employers can expect to reduce fatalities, injuries and illness. It can also have a cost savings benefit such as lowering worker’s compensation costs and medical expenses, and health and safety penalties.
By investing in new technology, such as a digital emergency evacuation system, it sets the standard of security within your organisation. It fosters better communication within a company and helps to improve workplace safety.