How to Improve Your Facility’s Emergency Response Plan

Facility management encompasses more than day-to-day operations and budgeting. The job demands that you ensure your team is prepared for worst-case scenarios onsite, including natural disasters, major equipment failures, unexpected downtime, and all other circumstances that put stress on the facility. One of the most important things you can do as a facility manager is to create and train for emergency response. 

MaintenX works with our clients to create comprehensive emergency response plans. We believe preparedness in the face of disaster is what separates the functional facilities from the thriving ones. Below are just a few tips we recommend all clients use to design better emergency response tactics for all situations. 

Choose team members.

An emergency response plan is only as good as the people who implement it. You need to work with leaders from all departments to ensure that your plan can be executed at all levels. Your emergency response team should include leaders from your facility management team, as well as members from security, HR, communications departments, and other people to whom your employees look for leadership. 

Define your risks. 

What emergencies are most likely to cause damage to your facility? You should propose this question to your emergency response team, and brainstorm which risks should be prioritized. For example, MaintenX includes hurricane preparedness in our emergency response plans for clients because we are headquartered on the Florida coast. We also prepare for major systems (such as HVAC and plumbing) emergencies because these can shut down a facility instantly. Work with your team to determine the highest-risk emergencies before working on your response plans. 

Collect and organize information. 

Before you begin addressing your identified risks, collect outside information to better educate your team. Your company or local public authorities may already have solutions outlined to common emergencies such as facility fires, natural disasters, or security issues. Look for: 

  • Fire safety plans and local fire department requirements
  • Detailed facility floor plans
  • Building lockdown and shelter in place protocols
  • Natural disaster plans 

Include communications planning. 

Your disaster response plan should include methods and responsible parties for internal and external communications. Breakdowns of communication during an emergency can be detrimental to the safety and sense of security for employees. Your clients and community will also want to be informed of the steps you are taking to address the emergency. Having a communications plan in place before an emergency ever occurs is essential to effective disaster response. 

Schedule staff training. 

Planning for a disaster is only the first step for true preparedness at your facility. You must also take the time to train every staff member on the pertinent parts of your emergency response plan. This training should be ongoing and more detailed for management. If you are thorough in your training, your team will remain calm and proactive in the event of an emergency. 

Updating your plan.

It’s important to update your emergency response plan as changes in the layout, maintenance, or internal team structure of your facility changes. Proactive emergency preparedness looks like regular meetings throughout the year or when changes occur to update your plan and reinvest in proper training for staff. 

Using these tips you can create a highly effective disaster response plan for your facility. Contact MaintenX for further questions.

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