Technology and evacuation plans: taking your team’s safety to the next level
Your smartphone can download technology that can be key to improve evacuation plans and simulations, that are of course very important practices related to safety. Procedures that nowadays count with almost no data and analytics.
The technology gap between industries: let’s level that up
If we talked about the Internet in the early nineties, when millennials were born, most people didn’t know very well what we were talking about. They used to reduce its potential to some sort of post office replacement, and sending emails was seen as something cool and even looked up in admiration. Nowadays, we are already talking about internet addiction. Work, education, health, and all aspects of our lives have been modified by the use of the internet. It is amazing to realize how our world and day to day has changed in only 30 years.
Analyzing how technology has modified almost everything, it is easy to identify the gap between heavy industries and other enterprises, mostly related to workforce’s tools and safety. Safety, for instance, is a major concern for industrial companies, but it is not taken very much into account within other industries. Maybe that’s the reason why it wasn’t improved by the use of new technologies, while office workers count with a wide range of options for their everyday work and wellness.
How are safety and evacuation procedures managed today?
How can technology really assure secure industrial employees and contractors’ safety? The biggest opportunity comes with evacuation plans. Evacuation is the most important aspect regarding safety. Organizations such as OSHA, the National Safety Council and many others around the world provide industries with guidelines and instructions on how to plan them, providing the safest environment for their employees. This is important in every working environment , but industrial areas are more likely to face different types of dangers or hazards , and thus, safety is an important concern and even taken into account in every year’s budget.
Guidelines around evacuation and emergencies are reviewed every year. Nowadays, they mostly consist of indications referred to construction instructions or communication planning: Floor diagrams, routes and exits, chains of commands. Where must arrows go, where to place fire extinguishers and how to designate wardens or meeting points. All this is important, since it sets the needed basis for a successful evacuation . But isn’t there something that could improve these procedures?
Another important aspect in the Safety guideline has to do with accountability. Accounting for employees during emergencies is one of the critical and most important parts of the plan, taking care of the integrity of all teams in the first place. Identifying the names and locations of anyone missing and passing them to officials in charge are the next necessary steps, alongside with establishing certain methods of accounting suppliers or contractors.
When an evacuation begins, evac leaders must print lists and go to the meeting points, where they start yelling names and counting who is missing. The difficult part is that each employee must attend to the closest meeting points, but this depends on where he was in the first place. There is not a designated place for each employee. This means that you must reconcile the information (Where they are and who is missing ) from different assembly areas, maybe really separated from each other, in order to be able to evacuate the place. There is no real time visibility, no information, and this causes the loss of many minutes that might be the difference between life and death.
Another important part of an evacuation is the designation of wardens. These are employers that may be responsible for checking offices, bathrooms, and other spaces before being the last person to exit the area. They might also be tasked with ensuring that fire doors are closed when exiting certain work zones and make sure everyone gathers in the assembly area, for a proper head count. But, with so much technology available, how can it be possible that the identification of missing employees relies on certain specific people that could be unable to respond, due to a variety of cases in such a challenging and stressful task?
How to improve evacuation planning with technology
Having a smartphone or a device makes us traceable. Almost every app we download requests our location, and we allow it without even thinking about it. But we don’t count with this kind of technology for emergency situations, where life is at stake. Also, in most of the industrial operational areas, personnel is not allowed to carry smartphones, so quick alerts,and identification cannot be done with it.
There are already existing tools available in the market that could be used to improve and boost safety processes. Precise location technologies, such as GPS and UBW, for instance, are huge game changers in this situation. They provide leaders or wardens with visibility and data that is vital for making better decisions. You can know for sure where each employee is, who is missing, who has already arrived at the meeting point. Devices that detect locations connected with certain softwares or platforms can provide not only real time information, but data and analysis in the aftermath. You can know what happened and why.
This applies to both o the moment of the emergency and the study and analysis that comes afterwards, but it is also the best way of improving evacuation plans. Every company has its own evacuation simulations, but they don’t count with relevant information after, in order to improve them. They can’t know which routes their employees took, how long it took for each of them, and any other inconveniences that could occur along the way. The best way of improving anything, always, is counting with data and visibility. And that’s what technology offers.
RFID is another wonderful tool available. It allows setting alerts in case of an emergency, and can be set to notify or trigger an action when someone is not at a previously defined zone. It also allows tracing down people who are missing, accelerating time response which can make the difference between life and death in these cases. Acting quickly is vital in an emergency situation, and having the most possible clear panorama makes everything easier.
The best way of preparing for an emergency situation is planning ahead. We can add that, nowadays, the best way would be innovating to improve evacuation plans, accelerating processes and allowing rapid response and identification of missing people, which is critical in these kinds of situations where each second counts. Employers who take the time to thoroughly develop an evacuation plan provide their employees with a safer workplace, and may even save lives. Let’s empower our teams, giving them the opportunity of being as safe as possible and protecting others.
If you want to take the next step in industrial safety and evacuations plans, click on www.drixit.com