In an ideal world, emergency plans wouldn’t be necessary. But, when you’re a property manager or business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure these plans are in place to keep your tenants and employees safe during the worst-case scenarios.
Emergency planning is about more than just ensuring working fire exits are in place. Creating the perfect plan comes only after fully understanding how your property and tenants interact. Only then can you recognize the best paths for your property and its inhabitants to stay safe.
If you’ve never planned for emergencies before in a commercial space, you may be unsure of where to start. Don’t worry — CTG Real Estate Services is here to help. Chris Gardner’s experience in managing commercial spaces can help you create the perfect emergency plan for your property, tailored to your region, your employees and your space. No two emergency plans should be the same, but our team has the experience to know where to start.
When you schedule a consultation, Chris Gardner will walk you through every step of the process. There are a few important tips that he’ll have for you:
1. Think about your property’s most likely emergency.
When people think “emergency planning,” their first thought usually goes to fire. But, there are a lot of situations that fall under emergencies in an office space. During your planning stage, you will be asked to think about the steps your team would take if there were:
- Natural disasters (such as tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.)
- Active shooter situations
- Toxic gas releases
- Chemical spills
- Civil disturbances or workplace violence
While your emergency planning should take into account every potential emergency, a great deal of your effort will go into those emergencies most likely to occur. For example, if you live in the Midwest, your building and team will focus more on tornado planning than you would earthquake planning. Because CTG Real Estate Services has completed facility planning around the country, we can provide guidance for your specific region.
2. Don’t forget about human behavior.
It’s easy to create a best-case-scenario emergency plan, but you have to remember that human behavior is unpredictable, especially when people are stressed or panicked. For example, it’s common knowledge that people tend to try to exit a building in the same way they entered as a force of habit — but that may not always be the easiest or fastest route to safety.
What are the steps to take if someone is injured and can’t descend stairs? How will you make sure a building is completely empty after evacuation, especially if someone is injured or hiding out of fear? How will you alert employees with disabilities of emergency plans and help them reach safety?
CTG Real Estate Services can help you answer these questions as part of your facility management services, but you and your team are the only ones who know what works best for your space.
3. Go beyond building codes.
Building codes in your area ensure that you meet basic requirements to keep your tenants and employees safe in your properties. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires certain plans to be in place and certain safety equipment to be on site at every commercial building.
But, often doing the bare minimum doesn’t answer all of your employees’ questions and plan for all of the potential situations that could arise. That’s why creating an emergency plan with a facility planner like those at CTG Real Estate Services is so important. It’s easy to meet building codes and OSHA guidelines (especially if you are moving into an established property), but not going above and beyond can be something that you will regret when an unexpected emergency arises.
4. Don’t just think about design — create a dynamic evacuation plan with those directly affected.
While a facility manger such as CTG Real Estate Services can often help you plan the basics of your commercial emergency and evacuation plans, the ultimate effectiveness of those steps will depend upon how well they work with your tenants and employees. That’s why it’s so important to bring on members of your office building to the planning team; they can give input you may not be aware of yourself.
The emergency preparedness doesn’t stop after a plan is made. Your emergency plan should be a living, breathing exercise. You and your employees or tenants should implement a training routine to make everyone aware of the emergency plan, and emergency drills should be completed on a regular schedule to ensure all are aware of the steps to take. During these processes, you may even find that changes are necessary to be the most productive for your space; take those into account, and don’t be afraid to change your plan as needed over the months and years to come.
Ready to start your emergency planning today? Schedule a consultation with CTG Real Estate Services to learn more.