Emergency Evacuation

How to Plan for Home Emergencies

Emergency Evacuation - Having a successful plan

An emergency can be defined as an unplanned event that is likely to cause death or significant injury to a person or persons and or also result in environmental damage. Emergencies can come about due to natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, floods and volcanic eruptions or man made disasters such as road accidents, fires, collapse of buildings.

Emergencies can be classified in 3 main categories. A level one disaster is an emergency that affects a wide region and government intervention is required. Examples are natural disasters, health epidemics or large scale chemical spills. Level two disasters are major emergencies that may also require state intervention but the damage is not to such a big extent as level one. Situations such as hostage situations, fires and civil disturbance fall in this category. A level three disaster is one that can be dealt with internally such as a small home fire or road accident.

Whatever the emergency, evacuation of the victims is the first response to sorting the issue. Emergency evacuation can be defined as the swift and immediate removal of people from an emergency site to reduce the occurrence of death or injuries. Emergency evacuations are carried out before, during and after the disaster, depending on the cause of the disaster.

A successful emergency evacuation must have a plan. This will ensure that evacuations are done in the most efficient and safe way possible for the victims. The state as well as building owners should have a clear modus operandi in place for managing evacuations to ensure public safety.

There is a sequence of events that an emergency evacuation should follow for it to be carried out successfully. The first step is detection or recognition of the threat or hazard. The next step is decision making where those in authority weigh the potential cost of evacuation against the potential loss of life and property so as to decide whether evacuation is necessary. If evacuation is deemed necessary, an alarm is sounded and the evacuation begins.

In case of a family evacuation, ensure that all family members know the emergency exits. The same applies to any building. Ensure all those in the building are aware of where the emergency exits are. Whenever possible, seek a location where all people can gather to receive emergency services. This will also help to account for all persons and easily note if anyone is missing. Some natural disasters such as hurricanes can be predicted early and in such regions, clear escape routes can be marked ahead of time, so that the community is familiar with evacuation procedures.

Identify and contact emergency services once you identify a potential hazard that requires emergency evacuation. Call 911 as soon as possible. This should be done once people have moved to a secure designated location.

An emergency can occur anywhere and it is crucial for all to be prepared to handle emergency situations efficiently. Having a clear emergency evacuation plan can greatly increase chances of saving lives and property.