Best Practices & Code

OSHA® Logo  EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN (EAP): Best Practices - Facility Evacuation
EMERGENCY ACTION PLAN (EAP):
Best Practices - Facility Evacuation

Planning:
  • Where required by some Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, firms with more than 10 employee must have a written emergency action plan; smaller companies may communicate their plans orally. Employers should review plans with employees when initially put in place and re-evaluate and amend the plan periodically.

Chain of Command:
  • The employer should designate an Emergency Response Coordinator. In addition to the Coordinator, you may want to designation Evacuation Wardens to help move people from danger to safe areas during an emergency. Generally one Warden for every 20 employees should be adequate.

Training:
Every Employee needs to know details of the EAP, including the evacuation plan.
  • Employee training should occur upon hire, and when their job or location changes
  • Clear understanding of Egress Routes and Assembly Location (Rally, Muster Points)
  • Drills should be held at random intervals
  • Accounting for all employees away from affected areas
  • Communication procedures back to Emergency Response Coordinator

Response Activities:
Effective emergency communication is vital. An alternate area for a communication center other than management offices should be established in the plans
  • An updated list of key personnel and off-duty telephone numbers should be maintained
  • Accounting for personnel following an evacuation is critical
    • Designate Assembly areas (Rally/Muster Points) that employees should gather at after evacuating
    • Take a head count, identify names and last known locations of anyone not accounted for and pass on to official in charge
    • Establish a method for accounting for non-employees such as suppliers and customers


Click to Download (PDFs):
OSHA® How to Plan for Work Place Emergencies and Evacuations
How to plan for Workplace Emergencies & Evacuations
OSHA®  Emergency Action Plan Checklist
Emergency Action Plan Checklist


FEMA - US Department of Homeland Security Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry
Emergency Management Guide for Business & Industry
NFPA 72® National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code logo

NFPA 72® National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code
Chapter 24 Emergency Communications Systems (ECS)

24.1.2* The requirements of this chapter shall apply to emergency communications systems within buildings and outdoor areas.
24.2.3 An emergency communications system is intended to communicate information about emergencies including, but not limited to, fire, human-caused events (accidental and intentional), other dangerous situations, accidents, and natural disasters.
24.3.1* Intelligible Voice Messages. Emergency communications systems shall be capable of the reproduction of prerecorded,synthesized, or live (e.g., microphone, telephone handset, and radio) messages with voice intelligibility in accordance with Chapter 18.
24.3.3* Required Emergency Communications Systems. (1) The fire command center or the central control station as applicable shall be constantly attended by trained personnel, and selective paging is permitted by the authority having jurisdiction. (a) The loudspeakers and associated audio equipment are installed or located with safeguards to resist tampering or misadjustment of those components essential for intended emergency notification.
24.3.10.7 Anticipated Threat. The risk analysis shall consider the following types of potential events. The list is not all inclusive but reflects the general categories that shall be considered in the risk analysis.
  • (1) Natural Hazards - Geological Events
  • (2) Natural Hazards - Meteorological Events
  • (3) Natural Hazards - Biological Events
  • (4) Human Caused - Accidental Events
  • (5) Human Caused - Intentional Events
  • (6) Technological - Caused Events
24.3.11* Emergency Response Plan Elements. A well-defined emergency response plan shall be developed in accordance with NFPA 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs, and NFPA 1620, Standard for Pre-Incident Planning, as part of the design and implementation of a mass notification system 24.4.2.1.1 When the monitoring location is constantly attended by trained operators, and operator acknowledgment of receipt of a fire alarm or other emergency signal is received within 30 seconds, automatic response shall not be required.
24.4.2.1.2 If acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction, the system shall permit the application of an automatic evacuation signal to one or more evacuation signaling zones and, at the same time, shall permit manual voice paging to the other evacuation signaling zones selectively or in any combination.
24.4.2.2 Voice Evacuation Messages.
24.4.2.2.1 Unless otherwise permitted by 24.4.2.8, evacuation messages shall be preceded and followed by a minimum of two cycles of the emergency evacuation signal specified in 18.4.2.
  • (1) The loudspeaker layout of the system shall be designed to ensure intelligibility and audibility
24.4.2.2.2.3 Audibility shall be required in all areas in accordance with Chapter 18.
24.4.2.8.2 Under a fire condition, where the system is used to transmit relocation instructions or other fire emergency non evacuation messages, a 1-second to 3-second alert tone followed by a message (or messages where multi-channel capability is used) shall be provided.
24.4.3.2 System Operation.
24.4.3.2.1* Authorized personnel shall be permitted to control message initiation over the mass notification system.
24.4.3.2.2* Where required by the emergency response plan, the mass notification system shall provide the capability for authorized personnel to remotely activate live and prerecorded emergency messages.
24.4.3.3.1* The mass notification system shall provide for live voice and prerecorded localized messaging within a protected individual building, areas surrounding the building, and other outdoor designated areas. visible notification.
24.4.3.22.3 Interfaces with Wide-Area Mass Notification Systems.
24.4.3.22.3.1* Individual building mass notification systems shall be permitted to interface with wide-area mass notification systems.
24.4.3.22.3.2 The in-building mass notification system shall not be activated or controlled by a wide-area mass notification system, unless the wide-area mass notification system also meets the design and performance requirements of this chapter or has been deemed to be acceptable by the risk analysis and the authority having jurisdiction.
24.4.3.24 Public Address (PA) Systems Used for Emergency Communications.
24.4.3.24.1 The voice communications or public address system that is to be used for mass notification shall be evaluated by the emergency communications system designer, as defined in Chapter 10, to determine applicability and compliance.
24.4.3.24.2 A document signed by the emergency communications system designer attesting to the fact that the public address system has been evaluated and meets the requirements determined by Chapter 24 and the emergency response plan, and is therefore deemed reliable and acceptable to provide emergency communications for the particular facility, shall be maintained with the fire alarm record drawings.
24.4.4* Wide-Area Mass Notification Systems.
24.4.4.1 Voice Messages.
24.4.4.1.2 Where required by the emergency response plan, multiple languages shall be permitted to be used.
24.4.4.1.3 Where required by the emergency response plan, specific warning tones shall be provided.
24.4.4.3* External Connections. Wide-area mass notification systems shall be permitted to connect to regional mass notification systems, public emergency alarm reporting systems, as defined in this Code, and public reporting systems as defined in NFPA 1221, Standard for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Emergency Services Communications Systems
24.6* Information, Command, and Control. The requirements of Section 24.6 shall apply to the communications methods and equipment used to receive and transmit information between premises sources or premises systems and the central control station(s).
24.6.1.1* The location of the central control station shall be defined in the emergency response plan and as approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
24.6.1.2 The level of security at the central control station shall be defined in the emergency response plan.
24.6.1.3* Staffing.
24.6.1.3.1 Central control station personnel requirements shall be defined in the documentation in the emergency response plan.
24.6.1.3.2* Individuals expected to operate an emergency communications system shall be properly trained in the purpose, functions, procedures, and anticipated actions of such systems.
24.6.1.4 The central control station shall be capable of receiving voice messages by telephone or radio and transmitting via equipment at the central control station.
24.6.1.5 The central control station operator shall have the ability to monitor inputs/sensors and control output devices automatically, manually, or automatically with operator override.
24.6.2 Emergency Communications Control Unit (ECCU).
24.6.2.1 An emergency communications control unit (ECCU), where identified by the risk analysis, and defined in the emergency response plan, shall be provided at each central control station.
24.6.2.2 The system operator shall be able to send live voice signals or activate prerecorded voice messages, tones, and other signals.
24.6.2.3 The signals shall be selectable to individual buildings; zones of buildings; individual outdoor speaker arrays; zones of outdoor speaker arrays; or a building, multiple buildings, outside areas, or a combination of these, in accordance with the emergency response plan established for the premises.
24.6.2.4 The central control emergency communications control unit shall automatically or manually assign priorities to all transmitted signals.

Click to Download (PDF):
Entire NFPA 72® National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code Chapter 24 Emergency Communications Systems