What is a Safety Plan?

A safety plan is defined as a formal and documented procedure designed as a proactive scheme designed to be followed by individuals at a particular location in the event of some type of emergency. A plan of this nature is uniquely crafted to meet the particular needs of a business or other venue at which people congregate. A law firm will have a markedly different plan than will a construction site.

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Emergency Procedures

A key element of a safety plan is a specific delineation of emergency procedures. Emergency procedures must be comprehensive and yet concise. They must be set forth in an easy-to-understand manner.

Emergency procedures incorporated into a safety plan need to enumerate everything from evacuation protocols on one hand to when and how to shelter in place on the other. An important element of these procedures is to specifically set forth who is responsible for directing evacuation or sheltering place. Not only does this need to name the title of the individual responsible for these directives, but the actual name of that person.

Emergency procedures also need to enumerate who will contact emergency services of all types. This includes everything from law enforcement to firefighters to paramedics. Rapid response depends upon reliable transmission of requests for assistance. In this day and age, multiple people may be reaching out for assistance via mobile devices. Despite this reality, the designation of a responsible emergency communicator is vital.

Site Plan

The inclusion of a current, concise site plan is a must for a suitable safety plan. The reality is that venues of all types change regularly. Retail outlets routinely “move things around.” Offices adjust their workspaces. Construction sites are in a constant state of evolution. The overall plan needs to focus on rapid evacuation as well as secure shelter in place strategies.

These objectives are dependent on the type of emergency. Shelter in place for a weather event differs from shelter in place associated with a shooter.

Individual Safety Plans

Safety plans are not only limited to groups of people.  A safety plan can be put into place for a vulnerable individual, such as a child under the care of Child Protective Services.  In the case where a child’s safety must be ensured due to threats, a caseworker or social worker may devise a safety plan to outline the steps that are necessary to eliminate threats to the child’s well-being.

Role of Individuals with Social Work Degrees

Individuals with social work degrees can prove particularly helpful in the development of a safety plan. An overarching concern in the development of a plan is ensuring that it is constructed in a manner that takes into account the various ways in which humans respond to emergency situations. A safety plan cannot be developed in a vacuum and must be designed with recognition of the spectrum of responses exhibited in emergencies.

The creation and maintenance of a safety plan cannot be underestimated. An appropriately crafted, regularly reviewed and updated safety plan provides the best level of protection.

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