“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold H. Glasow
Disruptive occurrences, emergency circumstances, situations defined by relentless crises, sudden industrial accidents, Black Swan events – these comprise unfortunate incidents that pose sudden dangers to human civilization, demolish the established order of modern society, and present unique sets of challenges to governments, administrators, first responders, policy makers, frameworks of law and order, and other such persons. In response, various modes of protocol dictate the advance formulation of a safe evacuation plan that enables the preservation of human life, limits the scope of damage to the natural environment, seeks to reduce fatalities, elevates the objective of creature safety, and spurs a return to normalcy.
These plans must gain definitive shape through acts of careful consideration, must hinge on assessments of real world circumstances, seek inspiration in global best practices evolved over time, garner the use of emergency funds and resources, gain deep buy-in from local and federal governments, and win the approval of specialists and experts from the domain of modern emergency services. Flowcharts – and their unique mechanisms and spaces – can ably assist in ideating, planning, and executing various lines of response as part of developing safe evacuation plan.
Modern organizations must deploy portions of their annual operating budgets to create, develop, and sustain a safe evacuation plan. The core objectives of such plans include intent to rapidly re-locate masses of employees in response to an emergency, evacuate buildings and clusters of work areas in the face of imminent threats, preserve the health of workforces, outline alternative modes and routes of rapid mass exits, and put in place localized emergency response systems. Flowchart-based diagrams and illustrations could gain the attentions of designers and planners to output versions of coherent evacuation plans. Each illustration of safe evacuation plan could present a clear formulation of different editions; alternatively, individual diagrams could project sections of a coherent entirety that embodies detailed plans. Such a stance enables organizational planners to deal effectively with disruptions such as accidental combustion inside buildings, sudden flooding events, and gale force winds assailing urban and semi-urban locations, incidents of civic unrest, among others.
Exit routes and safe areas depicted by lines clad in deep green tints are mandatory when planners outline safe evacuation plan. Flowchart diagrams designed to outline said plans must posit routes and safe areas prominently. This element of design stems from assertions that green indicates unimpeded movement, helps spotlight paths unencumbered by obstacles and hindrances, indicates the real possibility of rapid transit on foot, and resonates with ideas of human safety. For instance, workers dispersed across an industrial location must regularly review evacuation plans as part of efforts to build awareness about safe routes. This promotes their knowledge of safety protocols, reduces confusion in times of emergency exits, lowers the scope of human fatalities, contributes to industrial best practices, and shields sponsor organizations from potential allegations of laxity in implementing safety measures. Exit routes must terminate in open areas, designated safe spots, medical assistance zones, local transit hubs, and other such spots.
A chain of command – specifically designated for operationalization during emergencies – could secure positive outcomes of a modern safe evacuation plan. The appropriate use of trained and qualified human resources remains a key enabler in such chains. In line with this, organizational planners must locate, select, train, and certify specific individuals that will work to accelerate implementation of emergency evacuation plans. The flowcharts depicting plans must spotlight (the location, composition, and structure of) the chain of command, mandate evacuees to follow instructions issued by commanders, and depict different connections on various floors, sections, or levels of building/plant/facility. Legends positioned inside flowcharts could enlighten readers about the identity of different individuals that populate the chain of command, thereby enabling high levels of awareness that can contribute critical constructive momentum during every phase of an orderly emergency evacuation.
Modern high-rise buildings, also known as skyscrapers, pose specific challenges owing to their “unique characteristics involving location, design, construction, and occupancy.” In light of this, a safe evacuation plan must include evacuation drills conducted every two months across the entire facility, allocate floor wardens to every section of the high-rise facility, print emergency numbers at different locations of the building, describe floor plans and safe routes, post emergency evacuation plans in all public areas inside the building, spotlight safe areas, stock appropriate quantities of firefighting equipment at key locations, develop specific areas and procedures for the specially abled, and others. These measures must find image and text-based representation inside flowcharts, thereby allowing readers to review plans rapidly. Digital editions of these plans must find transmission to the email inboxes of every occupant of high-rise buildings, thereby promoting familiarity. Additionally, new elements must gain a steady introduction inside plans as part of efforts to reinforce the operational aspects of a graded emergency response.
In terms of routes, best practices recommend the creation of primary and secondary routes for rapid exit from buildings, locations, industrial plants, and commercial facilities. Therefore, the formulation of safe evacuation plan must include clearly marked primary and secondary routes, the use of fire escape mechanisms attached to adjacent buildings/structures, cautionary notes to associates and employees to avoid panic and stampedes, the imperative to move rapidly without bulky bags or belongings, and clear directions to arrive and remain at designated safe areas. In addition, floor wardens must conduct headcounts to account for every employee that arrived at safe areas. Such a stance encourages orderly congregations of human capital in response to disruptive events. Intelligent designers of flowcharts could fashion additional instructions to spotlight the use of communication devices to establish linkages between groups of evacuated personnel dispersed across multiple safe locations.
Employee training and sensitization must find outsize representation inside flowcharts that describe working models of safe evacuation plan. This aspect of planning is crucial, because it equips organizations to mount systematic, calibrated responses to the sudden and the unforeseen. Pursuant to this, organizational planners could develop training regimens focused on creating employee responses, conditioning the minds of employees to reduce the incidence of haphazard response patterns, and igniting a sense of responsibility towards fellow workers and colleagues. Such regimens could include instructor-led training sessions that enlighten workers and employees to different types of workplace emergencies, coach attendees on appropriate tactics to cope with the non-routine, and equip them with skills and techniques that promote survival under adverse conditions. These forms of controlled conditioning empower enterprises, organizations, and businesses to minimize the loss of human life during evacuation processes.
Attentive meditations on the ideas, suggestions, and concepts stated above helps underline the importance of developing, refining, and implementing safe evacuation plan. The core thoughts and stances that help formulate (the outlines and content of) such plans must focus on attaining a complete preservation of human life under extraordinary circumstances. Flowcharts can admirably assist in the planning stages and designing the modes of implementation; thereafter, these diagrams may take shape as blueprints that mark certain ongoing stages of civilizational progress. Interestingly, such plans reflect positively on modern sensibilities endorsed at the level of human society, contemporary organizational culture, and various paradigms of thought. Having said that, we could state that safe evacuation plan enables modern organizations to safeguard workforces and inspire higher levels of confidence in the minds of individual employees.