Implementing Emergency Protocols in the Workplace
Even though it’s a difficult topic to talk about, it’s important to discuss workplace safety. We hear about mass shootings and gun violence more often through the media, so it’s important to remember emergency strategies for your place of work. Even though according to the Washington Post gun violence has been on the decline for the past 20 years, it is crucial to remain diligent. Here are a few ways you can implement an emergency strategy at work.
Front Door Safety
It’s not possible for all businesses to keep their doors locked, especially during business hours. Retail establishments can add a door chime or security cameras to your business entrance to increase security. This will alert your staff to people entering and exiting the store and will let you always observe the doorway.
For non-retail type businesses, consider installing a video doorbell system that allows staff to view who is at the door with the ability to remotely unlock for authorized individuals or know visitors. You should also consider securely seating a staff member in the reception area to act as gate keeper and early warning system. This staff person can also be tasked with keeping track of who enters and exits the business.
Remember to set protocol for times that all doors are to remain locked. Make sure all staff follows proper procedures for making sure all entryways are secured when entering and leaving the building during and outside of normal business hours.
No backs to the door
Situate your business so that your staff is always facing building or room entryways. This will increase visibility and allow everyone working to know what’s going on in the work place. If you have desks or counters, situate employees behind them. Solid surfaces can offer protection from an intruder, so use them if you have them.
Be able to contact authorities
Have any phones in your business have 911 on auto dial in the first position. Suggest that all staff do so on their mobile phones as well. If possible, also install an emergency panic button that an employee can discreetly alert the authorities if there is an intruder. The more ways you can alert authorities to unwanted presence in your business, the better.
If there is an intruder in your place of business, find a safe space them call the authorities immediately. 911 is the only call you should make in the event of an emergency – all the other calls can wait until you are safe. Stay calm and note any information you can use to help the authorities locate the intruder. This includes physical characteristics, your business location, the intruder’s location inside the building, etc. All this information will help the emergency dispatcher get you to a safe location.
Stay calm, silent, and hidden
Do not bring attention to yourself in the event of an intrusion. This can put you and your co-workers in further danger. Stay as quiet as you can and put your phone on silent while you call the emergency dispatcher. Stay on the phone with them for as long as possible while they give you instructions to move to a safer space or hide.
Above all, stay as calm as you can in this situation. Panicking will make you a more obvious target to a dangerous intruder. Stay quiet, calm, and out of sight, and always follow the directions given to you by emergency dispatchers.
Develop a Plan
Invest some time in developing an emergency strategy for your business including a policy for staff to report suspicious or concerning behavior regarding other staff, customers or vendors. Review these processes with your staff regularly. Put printed instructions of what to do in emergency situations in common areas. Any things you can do to improve the physical safety of your business and staff, you should have easily accessible. Hopefully you will never have to use it, but it is worth taking the time to create.