Building emergency plans are safety plans for specific facilities. These include evacuation plans for fire and other emergencies, shelter plans for tornadoes or hazardous materials releases, etc.

Consider creating plans for the following:

  • Evacuation—What is the best route for employees and customers get out of the building? Consider designating an assembly spot outside of the building, at least 100 feet away, where employees can meet and make sure everyone is accounted for.

  • Accountability Systems—How will you know who is in your building if you have to evacuate? Do you have the means of identifying what employees, customers or visitors are in the facility at any time? An accountability system can help you ensure that everyone has gotten out safely in an emergency.

  • Shelter In Place—Shelter in place is most common in tornado warnings, but could also be required for a hazardous materials release or another event where it is not safe to be outdoors. Designate a shelter in place location that is big enough for everyone in the building to wait comfortably for at least 45 minutes.

  • Fire—Evacuation is one part of a fire plan. If you have an evacuation route map posted, consider adding fire extinguisher locations. Also add information about fire doors and fire safe areas. Make sure that everyone knows not to use elevators in a fire. Talk to your local Fire Marshal about potential areas of refuge where people with disabilities who cannot evacuate because of stairs or other barriers, can safely wait for fire personnel to arrive.

  • Emergency Evacuation Team/CERT Team—Consider training staff members as a Community Emergency Response Team. This 20 hour training can equip your personnel to respond to emergencies and safely implement emergency plans. Visit to find more information about CERT training in your area.

Include employees in the planning process. It’s especially important to include employees with disabilities in planning for evacuation and areas of refuge. They will be able to offer valuable insight.