Take this opportunity to join Trade Show Safety Professionals. This body is dedicated to a safer Trade Show Industry. Best practices, consulting, legislative updates, networking, safety awareness, side-by-side assistance, and training are all things with which TSSP can assist.
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The Alarm Has Sounded !
Any training, drills, or exercises used should be evaluated for functionality and results. Based on what you find out, you may need to adjust your plan or even totally revise your plan. All problem areas should be considered as valuable future drill topics. The plan should be re-evaluated at least yearly and preferably after each session, drill, or exercise. In addition, re-evaluation should take place after any emergency, with responsibility changes, when facility design or operation changes, and when policies or procedures change. Don't leave anything to chance!
Before you have this happen for real and your business world falls apart, it is very important to have an emergency plan in place, one that includes your various response steps and business resumption techniques. And, make sure you practice it! No matter if you call them Fire Drills or Evacuation Drills, you will find that these rehearsals are the most important part of your plan. During the 911 disaster, for the most part, the companies that rehearsed their escapes, were the ones who got out alive. Many of the groups that waited till the event happened to try and figure out what to do, suffered a much higher degree of casualties and fatalities.
Once your company has its "evacuation plan" completed and approved, the document needs to be distributed to all the players involved (ie: every person in every department). Remember, we are calling this an evacuation plan here, but a truly comprehensive plan will consolidate other safety related plans (ie: spill prevention, HazMat control, fire protection, health & safety, etc.). And, distribution is not enough; the secret is implementation of the plan into regular company operations. The final test, short of an actual emergency, will be whether the rank and file employees at every level of the organization know what they should do in an emergency.
It is extremely important to train, drill, and exercise employees in the plan. Remember, cross-training can be vital in this scenario. Plot out who will be trained? Who will do the training? What will the activity used be? When and where will the session take place? And (this is important), how will the training be evaluated and documented? Also, strongly consider involving the community in any full blown exercises. Don't forget to tap resources that your municipality has and groups such as the Salvation Army or Red Cross.
Types of training and drills:
1. Orientation Training to all management and key personnel
2. Education Sessions to all employees in conjunction with other meetings. This type of classroom oriented training provides an avenue to best handle basic response information. This general training should cover: roles and responsibilities, hazards, protective actions, sample notifications and warnings, general emergency procedures, family notification techniques, accountability procedures, roll-call reconciliation, etc.
3. Tabletop Exercises involving specific managers and supervisors (representative of various aspects of the company's operations).
4. Walk-Throughs will enable the group being trained to go step-by-step through a situational response or process. This type of training can be very valuable in working out the kinks. Much like a video player, the drill can stop, fast forward, reverse, pause and rewind; thus enabling the instructor to get the exact outcome desired.
5. Functional Drills test specific routines (ie: medical response, emergency notifications, equipment move procedures, etc.). Remember, what works one one shift may not be the answer for another shift. Test every aspect of your processes and procedures.
6. Evacuation Drills allow personnel to practice their exit (and shut-down proceedures) from beginning to end and evaluate the timeline. It is important to note that these particular drills can involve the entire operation or modular portions (ie: just the office personnel or warehouse personnel, etc.). These drills must be taken seriously; employees should not stroll to an assembly area with their work and coffee in hand, for example; that would never happen during a real emergency.
7. A Full-Scale Exercise best simulates a real-life situation. It's best if outside auditors are used as the evaluators on this type of exercise. Independent thinking will provide your best feedback.
Trade Show Safety Professionals
P.O. Box 247
Anaheim, CA 92815
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