Five Guidelines for an Emergency Exit Plan

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Keeping your employees safe is one of an employer’s responsibilities. To help do this, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Government requires that every business have an emergency exit plan. From having your stairwells equipped with stair nosing to having a gathering place, the plan should be well-thought out and written down. OSHA has several suggestions for a good plan, including the following five items:

Identify primary and secondary exits.

Use wide passages for exits.

Use exit signs to show the way.

Designate a gathering area.

Avoid the elevators.

Primary and Secondary Exits

It is wise to have two different exits, a primary and a secondary one. These exits need to be located far enough apart from each other to help avoid clogs as people try to make their way to an exit. In addition, both need to be easily accessible to the entire floor in case one of the exits is blocked by fire or another hazard.

Wide Passages

When an emergency occurs, several people will be trying to exit through the same place at the same time. Therefore, an emergency exit should be wide enough for several people to pass through at one time. Narrow passages will slow down the exiting process and could be the source of injuries and other problems as people rush to exit the building.

Exit Signs

Every building should be equipped with exit signs that both show where the exits are located as well as directions pointing to an exit. The signs should be illuminated and close to the ceiling so that people can locate them easily.

Gathering Area

When everyone leaves the building, they should gather in a designated area and stay there. This allows management time to assess whether there is anyone left in the building. It also helps to provide quick access to first aid if it is needed.

Avoid the Elevators

An emergency plan should avoid all use of the elevators. This means that every plan needs to have access to the stairs from every floor. In addition, it is important for the stairs to be well-maintained. Using a feature like a stair nosing can help prevent slips thus making the journey up or down the stairs safer and faster.


  1. Mary Happymommy says:

    It’s definitely a good idea to do a fire drill at home with the kids once in a while.

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