What Is An Emergency Action Plan & Why Is It Important?

Being a property owner comes with risks, no matter the type of property you own. When you own commercial real estate however, you always need to be prepared for whatever may come your way, at any time, of any day. To help with this, every property should have a detailed Emergency Action Plan in place. Let’s look at what an Emergency Action Plan is, and the importance of keeping it up to date and practiced with your staff.

What Is An Emergency Action Plan?

An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document and plan that details what the employees in a building should do in the case of an emergency. The EAP should cover various types of emergencies, and what to do in each one. Creating and practicing an EAP is a great way to ensure calmness and increase the protection of your employees, tenants, and property in the event of an emergency. Including your management team and employees in the creation of the plans is a great way to collaborate and make sure every option is covered, as well as understood. Also, if your property consists of multiple buildings, each building should have its own plan.

What should you include in an Emergency Action Plan?

There are a few important pieces that should be included in every Emergency Action Plan. First, an EAP should detail your preferred method for reporting fires and other emergencies. In every instance, this should include calling 911 first, before anyone else. You would be surprised at how many people call their manager or property manager first. This should never be the case in an emergency! Call 911 first.

Secondly, your EAP should include an evacuation policy and accompanying procedure, as well as an emergency escape procedure and route map. This should include floor plans, exit routes for each floor, and locations of safety areas such as safe rooms or tornado shelters.

Next on the list is a list of the names, titles, and telephone numbers of those people to be contacted for additional information regarding the emergency plan. This may include members of management, your property manager, maintenance technician, or a non-emergency contact at your local police or fire department.

Read More: 9 Emergencies Property Owners Should Prepare For

You should also include a detailed description of procedures to have on-hand for employees who may be on the premises during the emergency. As we all know, anxiety gets the best of us and even though we may think we will be fine under emergency circumstances, things can drastically change in an instant. Having the full EAP, complete with directions, readily available for anyone on duty can be key in making sure everything runs smoothly when something arises. The types of emergencies that should be covered in your EAP include (but are not limited to) fire, medical emergency, bomb threat, chemical spill, severe weather, armed disturbance, etc. Carefully consider anything that could occur on your property and lay out any specific instructions to keep your personnel and property protected.

Lastly, you should designate an outside assembly location in the event of an evacuation, as well as a set of procedures to account for all employees or tenants after an evacuation. This will ensure that any rescue teams will have an accurate number of people that will need to be accounted for.

You created an EAP. Now what?

Once you have come up with your Emergency Action Plan, it should be reviewed and practiced with your entire staff at least once a year. As you have new management join the team, you should always have them review the plan, as well. To take your preparation a step further, contact your local authorities to schedule a practice drill. Most police and fire departments will gladly come assist you with a real-time practice drill. This can be especially helpful if your property is a high rise or other large building. Ensuring that every employee really understands the emergency procedures you have defined can mean lives and property saved.

Have you had to experience an emergency while at a business? How was it handled? What could they have done differently? Use your personal experience to build a better Emergency Action Plan. You can also check out our blog post 9 Emergencies Property Owners Should Prepare For for additional helpful information.

For an in-depth consultation or for more information about Melan, please reach out to Byrdy Kelley 301-985-2555.

Melan Property Management - Emergency Action Plan