5 Ways Floorplans Mitigate Risk for Emergency Planning

5 Ways Floorplans Mitigate Risk for Emergency Planning

In navigating the complexities of emergency preparedness, floorplans (aka plan views), are indispensable tools. They are both the foundation and the communication medium that facility manager can use to create resilient emergency preparedness plans that help keep workers, students, patients, customers, and everyone on site safe.

For facility professionals, preparedness against unforeseen emergencies is critical to ensure the well-being of their people and assets, whether they manage a mid-size campus, an amusement park, or a distributed portfolio of hospitals. Among these tools, floorplans are the backbone of emergency planning and preparedness efforts. These detailed schematics serve not just as blueprints for architectural design, but as strategic maps for risk mitigation, emergency response plans, and safety protocols for various scenarios, including active shooter drills, fire safety measures, evacuation processes, and natural disaster preparedness.

Your Emergency Plan Is Only as Good as The Floorplan It’s Built On

It is imperative to capture existing conditions within a facility that take into account renovations, abandoned spaces, and accurate measurements. Most record drawings (floorplans that are created for construction records) are incomplete and inaccurate, if they exist at all.

Side-by-side images of a virtual tour and a floorplan.
GPRS provides you with both floorplans and 3D virtual tours via our WalkThru 3D and FLRPLN products

A facility manager cannot create an effective emergency response or evacuation plan unless they build it on accurate existing conditions. GPRS provides both floorplans and 3D virtual tours for facility managers via our WalkThru 3D and FLRPLN products. Learn more about how we Intelligently Visualize The Built World®, here.  

5 Ways Floorplans Streamline Risk Mitigation in Emergency Planning

  1. Accurate Facility Layouts: Floorplans offer precise representations of building layouts, ensuring that emergency planners and facility managers have a clear understanding of the space they are working with. This accuracy is vital for identifying the most effective routes for evacuation and the best places to seek shelter during emergencies.
  2. Identification of Vulnerability Points: By reviewing detailed floorplans, potential hazard zones within a facility can be easily identified. This might include areas that are prone to overcrowding, limited access points, or regions that could become hazardous in specific emergency scenarios, enabling preemptive action to address these vulnerabilities.
  3. Tailored Emergency Response Strategies: With a comprehensive view of the entire facility, emergency planners can develop customized response plans that cater to the unique features of the building. This customization can significantly improve the effectiveness of emergency responses, ensuring they are optimized for the specific layout and needs of the space.
  4. Analysis of Space Utilization: Floorplans allow for a thorough analysis of how spaces within a facility are used, which is crucial for planning safe evacuation routes and shelter-in-place locations. Understanding space utilization helps in directing occupants away from potentially dangerous areas to designated safe zones efficiently.
  5. Location of Critical Infrastructure: Knowing the exact location of fire extinguishers, emergency exits, safe assembly points, and other critical infrastructure is crucial in an emergency. Floorplans provide this information, enabling both the facility management team and the occupants to familiarize themselves with these important details ahead of an emergency, facilitating quicker and safer responses.
A GPRS Project Manager looks at a laser scanner while holding a tablet.
GPRS' reality capture technologies allow us to convert photogrammetry into 2D floorplan views, delivered digitally and shareable via SiteMap® so that they can be downloaded, saved, and shared to any laptop, tablet, or smartphone and are accessible 24/7.

Enhance Workplace & Student Safety During Active Shooter Drills

In the worst-case scenario of an active shooter situation, every second counts. Floorplans empower facility managers and law enforcement agencies by providing clear, detailed layouts of the premises. These drawings enable precise coordination and strategizing of law enforcement response movements and shelter-in-place locations for occupants, significantly reducing response times and enhancing the efficiency of drills and actual emergency responses. Detailed floor plans aid in visualizing and implementing barricade and evacuation strategies tailored to the specific architectural nuances of a facility.

Facilitate Fire Safety & Evacuation Protocols

Fire safety is a fundamental aspect of facility management, requiring meticulously planned evacuation routes and strategies. Detailed floorplans provide a foundation for developing comprehensive fire safety plans, delineating clear paths of evacuation and highlighting the locations of fire safety equipment. By leveraging these drawings, facility managers can conduct thorough fire drills, ensuring that occupants are familiar with evacuation routes and procedures, thereby minimizing panic and confusion in actual emergencies.

Create Preparedness for Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are unpredictable, so they require thoughtful preemptive planning and preparedness to mitigate risks and ensure the safety of occupants. Floorplans contribute to this preparedness by facilitating the analysis of structural vulnerabilities and the planning of evacuation routes and safe zones specific to different types of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods. These detailed plans enable facility managers to devise customized emergency response strategies, taking into account the unique challenges posed by various natural disasters.

Concise, Professional & Accessible Communication: The Key to Successful Planning

While the technical nature of emergency planning requires considering numerous terrifying scenarios, the communication of emergency plans in a way that encourages buy-in among customers or students, occupants, and staff is crucial. Facility managers must strive to translate these detailed schematics and strategies into accessible, easily understandable formats. Through clear signage, intuitive symbols, and regular emergency drills, occupants can become familiar with the nuances of the plans, so that they can respond effectively in emergencies.

Rescue workers in a dark, smoky building.
Sharing your facility emergency response plans with first responders like police and firefighters, getting their specialized input, and asking for a community relations officer to come speak to your staff and/or students, and even participate in drills, can provide additional layers of confidence.

Include First Responders in Your Safety Plans

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), sharing your facility emergency response plans with first responders like police and firefighters, getting their specialized input, and asking for a community relations officer to come speak to your staff and/or students, and even participate in drills, can provide additional layers of confidence. “Including emergency management and first responders in your training and practice will enable them to:  

  • Be familiar with your site and plans and give you feedback from a professional perspective.
  • Know your evacuation locations.
  • Teach you how to best communicate with them and understand what to expect once they arrive.
  • Tell you how you can be alerted to emergencies in your area.
  • Help you improve your plan and your procedures.
  • Teach the children about safety and inspire them to practice.

Detailed schematics like floorplans and plan view drawings are so much more than architectural design tools; they are instrumental in risk mitigation.

Accurate floorplans enhance a facility manager’s ability to provide a set of actionable processes that anyone can follow, and literally provide the road map their workers, students, and first responders can use to help keep everyone safe. Leveraging the detailed insights provided by plan view drawings, in conjunction with clear, accessible communication and regular drills, can significantly enhance the safety and preparedness of facilities, ensuring the well-being of all occupants in the face of emergencies.

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