Do you know what to do in the event of an emergency?
Are you clear on your facility's evacuation plans for fire, severe weather event or health crisis? Emergencies can take many forms, and it's important for a facility to have a response plan in place for as many of them as feasibly possible.
Most buildings have disaster response plans in place, but keeping them up to date and, more importantly, accessible to all tenants and occupants, is another matter entirely. September is National Preparedness Month, and facility managers are urged to take this opportunity to reinforce the value of having a plan.
Disaster by the numbers
Though we often are only aware of disasters when they make news headlines, the reality is that disasters of all kinds can be more common than many realize. According to statistics from the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, natural disasters alone - floods, storms, droughts and extreme temperatures - occur in the thousands annually. These figures don't even take into account other types of emergencies, such as fire, disease outbreak or other unforeseen factors.
For instance, FacilitiesNet reported that in 2009 alone, there were more than 1.3 million reported fires nationwide. Infectious diseases aren't as common, but recent outbreaks of Ebola have brought contagion control and response back into the public consciousness. Even responding to an active shooter situation is important to plan for, as the Department of Homeland Security pointed out.
Knowing the cost
Safety is a primary concern in emergency situations, but facility managers should understand that there is also a significant financial cost associated with disasters of any kind. As FacilitiesNet noted, fire alone led to $12.5 billion in property damage in just one year. Aside from the initial property damage, emergencies can also lead to potentially expensive legal costs and other liability-related expenses.
Not only can disasters inflict damage to the structure of the facility itself, but they can also have implications on building maintenance with regard to essential equipment. This can range from physical assets like boilers to essential infrastructure such as computers and servers. In the latter case, not only is there a cost associated with repairing or replacing the hardware itself, but oftentimes this can affect the sometimes-sensitive data stored within as well.