The Truth About Evacuation Drills

July 1, 2011 No Comments

By Allen F. Weitzel

In my 45 years in this business, I have heard it hundreds of times, “We can never complete evacuation drills because we can never schedule the whole crew together for training at one time.” Evacuation training does not have to be worrisome. Here are some tips about evacuations.

Why Would You Evacuate?

When danger to people is obvious, evacuations should begin. You are responsible for the safety of your guests, employees, contractors and vendors. You may need to evacuate all or parts of your facility due to a natural disaster, advisories from local agencies, or on-site emergencies.

What Kind of Drills Are Used?

The most common drills are full or partial facility drills and small workspace drills. You can conduct a live or a verbal drill. Live drills require people on the property to stop their work and practice an evacuation walk through. A verbal drill involves talking employees through the evacuation without the physical tour. A single room drill might be practiced with the trainer and one or two employees in that workspace.

How to Start?

Create an evacuation checklist. List what you need to do. Name a drill coordinator to oversee the plan. Establish assembly sites and list recovery steps to get the facility back to normal after the crisis. For evacuations completely off your property, prepare and have available easy-to-understand road maps and evacuation instructions that indicate routes to safety. Make them available to everyone.

Conducting a Drill

It is true that it is not easy to schedule the entire crew for a live drill. There are always excuses as to why employees cannot stop work to take part in a drill. To solve this, start small and work up.

Some training is better than no training. The best evacuation training is that which can be done in 30 minutes, year around, involving small groups of employees. Your instructors can teach workers to exit their workspace. Map out all the exits that a person can use. The instructor and trainees should walk the route(s) several times, to make sure the trainees are comfortable and know the way. If you can recreate some adverse conditions, then do so, such as turning off hallway lights to simulate a route that may be dark or smoke filled. Pre-place signs along the pathway to describe obstructions, such as: flames, smoke, heat, fallen debris, locked doors, dark hallways, etc. The instructor must establish a person who trails behind to make sure everyone is out. Make notes if obstacles or concerns are discovered that need to be abated. Your whole company might end up being trained by the use of these small-to-medium size groups.

Eventually hold surprise drills. Tell employees that in the next few weeks, the instructor will appear, blow a whistle, yell out the type of emergency and order an evacuation. The drill may not run perfectly. Use the information you learn to improve future drills. The more practice you provide, the calmer your employees will be during a real evacuation.

What Else Must You Do?

All employees should have access to a whistle and a flashlight. The whistle is to be used if a person is trapped somewhere. Flashlights should be nearby so employees can easily grab them during an evacuation. Many facilities have supervisory personnel always carry a belt-size flashlight.

On their first day of work, new employees must be shown the evacuation maps. Within two weeks, they must be trained in detail on evacuation procedures and how to use the nearest fire extinguisher.

Teach employees the buddy system. They must stay low and crawl during a fire or if there is heavy smoke, closing doors behind them to contain the fire, yet leaving doors unlocked for emergency personnel access. Never allow evacuees to re-enter any areas until the Incident Commander has given the all clear.

The Bottom Line

Each person on your property must know how to get out of a building or off the property safely. It is not difficult to train your staff to be prepared.

Allen F. Weitzel has spent 45 seasons in the recreation field and is safety and training manager at a California amusement park.

Back

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Sponsors

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

American Changer

Bill and coin dispensers and counters, ticket machines and more.

Embed

Provides innovative IT products and services with a primary focus on card-based solutions and database applications for the leisure and retail industries.

Deltronic Labs Inc.

Ticket dispensers.

Empex Water Toys

Aquatons Water Toys

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Barron Games

Redemption air hockey games.

Precision Dynamics (PDC)

Wristbands with no hidden costs, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Wristband System.

Lakeshore Merchandise (Smart Vending)

Premier vending supply for all of your vending equipment and supply needs.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Mahoning Valley Mfg.

A complete line of Imperial strollers, wagons and safari utility vehicles.

Money Tree – ATM

ATM machines.

Berk Paper & Supply

Concession supplies.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Spectrum Sports

Climbing walls, ropes courses, go-karts and more.

Subway

Fresh food and sandwich options.

Quik N\’ Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Tube Pro

Waterpark tubes.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

Midway Concepts (Circus Tops)

Premier designers of stainless steel food service equipment.

R&R Creative Amusement Design

Designers of unique themed parks, attractions and environments for the entertainment business.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Perfect Fry

Innovative and simple-to-operate countertop deep fryer Perfect Fryers.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Formula K Raceways

Go-karts, kiddie cars and bumper boats, go-kart parts and tires.

Look Solutions

Fog machines.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Splashtacular

Manufacturer of waterslides

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

Gold Medal Products Co.

Concession equipment, foods and beverages, popcorn, pretzels and snack foods.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Family Fun Corp.

Waterpark walls for rivers, bumper boat and splash down pools.

Bulbtronics

A premier source for lamps, LEDs, batteries and lighting-related and electrical products.

West Coast Netting, Inc.

Experienced netting manufacturer on the leading edge of innovation.

Hamilton Manufacturing Corp.

Manufacturer of unattended entry systems and change machines.

Chestnut Identity Apparel

Uniform supply, embroidered apparel and flag manufacturing.

Comstock – Castle Stove

Commercial cooking equipment.

Lil Orbits Inc.

Food equipment, donut machines and vendor carts.

Broaster Co., The

Food programs and food service equipment.

Challenger Industries

Sports surfaces, carpets and mini-golf surfaces.

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Spectrum
LMap Powered by Silvercrest
Extreme Engineering
Funovation
Rebound Unlimted, Inc.
Embed
LAIGames