By Frank Hart, CEO, TDS
A digitized emergency evacuation solution is now required by today’s forward-thinking organizations to deliver cutting-edge, real-time onsite accountability in the event of emergencies at their workplaces. With the right approach, an organization can simultaneously optimize rescue planning and management operations, while also embracing legislative requirements around health and safety compliance.
In the emerging, post-pandemic world, organizations are redeveloping more proactive, accurate, and intuitive solutions to ensure their emergency-situation responses are as intelligent and successful as possible.
Building A System For Onsite Accountability
The world’s leading-edge digitized solutions for emergency evacuation deliver a range of interrelated key features to optimize rescue planning, increase workplace security, and offer an organization full visibility in the event of an emergency:
- Accountability of Personnel—When personnel enter and leave a facility, a digitized solution will ideally update automatically, displaying real-time information relating to the headcount of personnel onsite at any given time.
- Evacuation Missing List—A “missing list,” which can be accessible via an intelligent mustering tablet or mobile phone, should automatically be generated upon initiation of the evacuation process in a facility. This list is key for deeming all personnel absent at the initial stage of the evacuation, reducing numbers in real time when personnel swipe safe using an identification (ID) badge. The most effective evacuation missing lists provide real-time, accurate reports while listing last-known locations and other key details. Personnel can also “swipe safe” with their staff ID, with the system considering all staff missing until swiped safe.
- Smart Mustering—In situations requiring full site evacuation, a digitized emergency evacuation system can deliver proactive counting capabilities using smart mustering technology, to ensure real-time accountability for missing persons. As personnel swipe safe at designated muster points, the missing list is then made available on intelligent mobile devices which automatically update, offering unique insight into the various stages of evacuation.
- Last-Known Location Tracking—Integrating unique reporting functionality with an emergency evacuation solution enables emergency services to pinpoint the last known location of missing persons, which dramatically improves rescue planning and management efforts. This feature provides organizations with decreased overall evacuation times, automatic missing-list updates and increased on-site visibility, while also providing response teams with critical information.
Other key considerations for a secure digitized emergency evacuation system for ensuring onsite accountability are enhanced facility management, key insights and reports on evacuation processes, and scheduled testing. For example, once control measures have been determined and implemented, the effectiveness of these measures needs to be assessed. This involves reviewing the proposed control measures with regular assessments and stringent documentation.
Executing A Successful Emergency Evacuation
In the event of an emergency in an organization, efficient and rapid evacuation is of the utmost importance as perhaps hundreds or even thousands of people will need to be evacuated as quickly as possible. The objective is an efficient relocation of people from a hazardous building under imminent danger to safe areas through safe and rapid evacuation roles. There are keys steps that should be executed to most effectively leverage the digitized capabilities and successfully deploy an evacuation:
- Emergency Status Initiated—When an emergency evacuation is initiated, all access points become open and the designated muster points become active with a reader activating and allowing people to swipe safe. As they evacuate the site, personnel should regroup at their nearest muster points where they will swipe safe by swiping their ID badge at the reader.
- Swiping Safe During the Emergency—When personnel safely make their way to designated muster points, they swipe their access cards. If a person doesn’t have their card, alternatively, a designated safety personnel can manually mark them safe using a tablet. Once swiped safe, the muster point display should automatically update to the badge holder’s unique image and confirm the individual’s successful evacuation.
- Post-Emergency Procedure—Once the site has been determined as safe, every member of personnel can return to work. All reporting insights can be available to monitor all efficiencies, etc. A digital emergency evacuation solution can also be integrated with existing fire/evacuation alarms and configured so that, once all badge-holding personnel successfully swipe safely at their designated muster point, there is a notification that all personnel are accounted for, confirming the whole site has been evacuated successfully.
Prioritizing On-Site Safety Strategy And Future-Proofing Your Organization
On-site security has become a growing priority for most organizations around the world. Having a digital emergency evacuation strategy in place is now key for organizations seeking to prepare their facilities for a full return to work, post-pandemic. Global organizations are now developing and enhancing their emergency evacuation solutions to increase overall onsite accountability and to ensure that they are fully equipped to meet legal and safety obligations with respect to their onsite employees, visitors, and contractors.
Frank Hart is the founder and CEO of Time Data Security (TDS) Ltd, a leading specialist in integrated security systems. With over 30 years of experience in the IT and security industry, Frank has been responsible for developing integrated access control and visitor management technology across 3,000 live workplaces around the world.