Here’s a quick test that most people fail at their workplace:
Name all of the locations of the fire extinguishers and first aid kits within your facility.
Can you do it? Unless you were the person who created the evacuation plan or you are part of the health and safety committee (or if you’re a safety professional, of course), there’s a good chance that you walk past the fire extinguishers affixed to the walls and don’t even give them a second thought.
But why do the majority of people glaze over such an important element of workplace safety? Complacency. If you don’t need something out of the first aid kit or the location of these items isn’t part of your everyday job, you don’t really see a need to know where they are… and eventually you forget about them entirely. Emergencies don’t happen every day, and the rarer they are, the less employees think about them.
Making an emergency response program is a lot of work and once created they’re often put on a shelf and forgotten. It is important to regularly practice your workplace’s emergency response plan, because when an emergency strikes, rushing, panic and fear can take over. The reason your emergency plan needs to be practiced is to make these actions a habit. Once an action is a habit, no matter what state you’re in you’ll be able to stick to the plan without thinking about it.
So the next time your workplace has a fire drill, encourage employees take it seriously. Pay attention to the roles assigned during an emergency. Help others know who the backups are in case of an absence and provide reminders about the locations of fire extinguishers, emergency exits and first aid kits.
Human factors training can help in emergency preparedness by allowing employees to identify the states they’re in (like rushing and complacency) and reduce the number of errors they commit because of them. Sign up for the next free intro webinar to learn how this type of training can help out when there’s an emergency, and can improve your company’s safety performance in other areas too.