Emergency Action and Fire Prevention Plans establish frameworks for responding to workplace emergencies. But without training, employees cannot be expected to know what is written in those plans, which hazards they could face, or how to respond to emergency situations.
In an emergency, it can be hard to predict how employees will react. Training helps to increase predictability by giving employees the information that they need to make better decisions and react to emergencies faster. From determining whether they should evacuate or shelter in place to knowing who is in charge during an emergency and who can talk to reporters, the better trained that employees are to follow emergency procedures, the better the odds for a safe outcome.
Fires are one example of a potential workplace hazard that all facilities must plan for and for which they must provide training for their workforces. Because most primary and secondary schools have fire drills, by the time people enter the workforce, they can already associate hearing an alarm with evacuating the building. However, they still need to be taught how to navigate evacuation routes, where to go after they are out of the building, and whom to report to.
Facilities also must be prepared for medical emergencies and, if they handle chemicals, how to respond to spills. Some facilities may have other hazards, such as explosive or toxic gasses, that require more advanced preparations and procedures.
Additional hazards also may need to be addressed, such as preparing for tornadoes, hurricanes, or other natural weather disturbances. Unfortunately, they also need to be taught how to handle situations involving workplace violence or terroristic events, for this is also a necessity. Plans should be in place and employees should be trained to respond appropriately to each of the scenarios that is applicable to their workplace, which could mean training everyone not only to evacuate, but also to shelter in place and how to lock down areas.