Training for Emergencies

September is National Preparedness Month

If there is a fire in the building, would employees know what to do? Are they familiar with the system that would alert them to evacuate, shelter, or lockdown? Do they know who is in charge during an emergency? Do they know who is authorized to speak with the news media? Are employees familiar with their responsibilities for building and information security? Can they carry out their assigned responsibilities during an emergency or business disruption?

Training is essential to ensure that everyone knows what to do when there is an emergency, or disruption of business operations. Everyone needs training to become familiar with protective actions for life safety (e.g., evacuation, shelter, shelter-in-place and lockdown). Review protective actions for life safety and conduct evacuation drills (“fire drills”) as required by local regulations. Sheltering and lockdown drills should also be conducted. Employees should receive training to become familiar with safety, building security, information security, and other loss prevention programs.

Members of emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications teams should be trained so they are familiar with their role and responsibilities as defined within the plans. Team leaders should receive a higher level of training, including incident command system training, so they can lead their teams. Review applicable regulations to determine training requirements. Records documenting the scope of training, participants, instructor and duration should be maintained.

If emergency response team members administer first aid, CPR or use AEDs, they should receive training to obtain and maintain those certifications. If employees use portable fire extinguishers, fire hoses or other firefighting equipment, they should be trained in accordance with the applicable OSHA regulation. If employees respond to hazardous materials spills, they also require training.