What emergency preparedness strategies do you have in place to ensure the safety of your employees, customers, or visitors during an emergency? Do you know the role of a visitor management system in promoting workplace emergency preparedness? Emergency preparedness is essential to ensure the safety of visitors and employees in manufacturing sites, schools, business premises, and offices.
Standard-setting organizations and authorities require enterprises to develop and implement emergency action plans that enhance emergency response efficiency.
According to the National Fire Protection Agency report, in 2020, workplace fire incidents rose by 13% in the United States. In 2021, 432 disastrous natural events globally affected 101.8 million people, accounting for more than $252 billion in economic losses. These are some emergencies that can put your visitors and employees at risk.
This article looks at workplace emergency preparedness and how visitor management systems enhance safety;
What Is Emergency Preparedness?
Emergency preparedness is an organization’s advanced activities to ensure employee or visitor safety during an accident or disaster. These disasters include earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, explosions, fires, chemical spills, and extreme weather.
Emergency preparedness is initiated in three stages, namely;
- Emergency Planning: Emergency planners outline activities and arrangements that reduce the impact during an emergency crisis
- Emergency Response: How the emergency plan is executed to limit the loss of life through seamless coordination with emergency crews during the evacuation
- Salvage and Recovery: How the affected facility resumes normal operations when the threat is under control
Why Do Workplaces Need to Be Prepared for Emergencies?
The role of developing an emergency action plan is to meet the official set standards and requirements. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards require all organizations to have an effective emergency action plan with detailed evacuation procedures. Any organization with more than ten employees must post a written copy of the evacuation plan visible to visitors and employees during an emergency.
The American National Standards Institute and the National Fire Protection Association also have additional requirements and set consensus standards and guidelines for emergency planning.
Apart from meeting compliance, workplace emergency preparedness offers the following benefits;
- Sets out clear procedures and steps during an emergency
- Emergency preparedness helps an organization to recover and reopen. According to a study, 40% of enterprises fail to resume operations after a disaster
- Ensures the availability of emergency equipment
- Enhances employee and visitors’ safety during a mass evacuation
- Prevents panic by promoting calmness and composure during emergency evacuation
- Increases emergency response and responders’ efficiency
The 8 Ways Visitor Management Systems Enhance Safety
Here are ways visitor management system enhances your employee and visitor’s safety during emergencies;
1. Easy Triggering of the Emergency Evacuation Feature
Fast response is essential during an emergency. Emergencies are accompanied by distress and stress hence the need for an efficient solution to trigger emergency evacuations. A visitor management system has an emergency evacuation feature that you can activate from any web-enabled device. It eliminates the need to use dedicated hardware to trigger emergency alerts.
2. Enhancing On-site Transparency
Modern visitor management systems come with digital reception software that allows on-premise visitor tracking in real-time. You can gain real-time insights into the guests present and generate their historical visit records at the facility.
The visitor log provides detailed information such as visitor name and host employee to track them during an emergency easily. A fully-fledged solution captures visitors’ photos for easy identification and sends the host a notification that their visitors have checked into the facility.
3. Data Availability and Protection
During an emergency, safety comes first, and there is no time to grab the paper logbook or the database management database. There is a potential loss of vital data in case of a fire. However, a cloud-based visitor management system lets you safely store the log data and office documentation off-site. You can later access your data from any mobile or desktop device to track your employees and visitors and support the search and rescue crew.
Unlike a manual paper log that exposes confidential visitors’ data, a visitor management system offers data security. Visitors only have access to their data which other guests cannot access at the reception desk. Upon registration, the data is safely processed and stored in a database.
4. Accounting for Visitors and Employees On-Site
During an emergency, it’s vital to evacuate and account for all employees and visitors. Visitor management systems send emergency alerts with a link the recipients can tap to confirm they have made it to safety. It accelerates the roll call process when accounting for those who have made it to safety and the unaccounted employees and visitors still stuck in the facility. The information is shared with emergency responders to enhance rescue mission efficiency. A front desk sign-in keeps visitors, employees, and emergency responders safe.
5. Fast and Reliable Emergency Evacuation Notifications
According to research, two-thirds of organizations’ emergency communication plans take more than five minutes to activate. It also takes more than one hour to trigger the emergency response in 10% of the cases. A visitor management system can be activated to instantly send evacuation alerts to on-site visitors and employees in the event of an emergency.
The admin triggers customized email and text messages that can include an evacuation map with the fastest route to safety. Notifications give vital information to first-time visitors and employees with limited knowledge of your facility setup.
Issuing visitor badges by hand can compromise facility security. Badges can be lost, forged, and abused. A visitor management system prints tamperproof visitor ID badges. The badge may contain the visitor’s name, photo, hostname, expiry date, and security clearance level for easy identification in an emergency. Badges enhance security by preventing re-use and limiting access.
7. Improving Coordination with Emergency Services
The visitor management system provides a mobile dashboard with pertinent information, enabling seamless coordination with emergency responders—the more information, the better the response time.
Here is some information that enables emergency responders to take appropriate action during an emergency;
- The number of unaccounted employees or visitors
- Specific locations where employees or visitors were at the start of the emergency to narrow down the search and rescue mission
- Crucial data that can aid authorities in their investigations
8. Digital Agreement Compliance
A visitor management system lets your visitor sign safety digital protocols, non-disclosure agreements, or administrative regulations digitally. It ensures that your organization meets compliance and speeds up the process if visitors have to sign an agreement or form to meet public health mandates or entry requirements.
Do you want to adopt a Visitor Management System to optimize and streamline your safety protocols? Schedule a demo today to learn more about how we can help enhance your visitor’s and employees’ safety during emergencies. We have custom solutions and products to meet your diverse industry needs. We are your tried and tested partner.
Contact or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or Twitter. Our team is on standby.