In the case of an emergency requiring evacuation of a facility, another important aspect to include in emergency plans is where occupants should go and gather in order to determine that everyone has safely left the building. To ensure the fastest, most accurate accountability of building occupants, consider including these steps in your emergency action plan:
- Designate assembly areas or areas, both inside and outside of the building, where people should gather after evacuating. Assembly locations within the building are often referred to as “areas of refuge.” Make sure your assembly area has sufficient space to accommodate everyone. Exterior assembly areas, used when the building must be partially or completely evacuated, are typically located in parking lots or other open areas.
- Take a head count after the evacuation. Identify the names and last known locations of anyone not accounted for and pass them to the officials in charge. Accounting for all building occupants following an evacuation is critical. Confusion in the assembly areas can lead to delays in rescuing anyone trapped in the building or unnecessary search-and-rescue operations.
- Establish a method for accounting for individuals who may not be residents of the facility.
- Establish procedures for further evacuation in case the incident expands. This may consist of sending people off campus by normal means or providing them with transportation to an offsite location.
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of College Planning & Management.