Design challenge of the week

Feb 03, 2012

I'm working on a project for  OSHA's "Emergency Action Plan" requirement.  Per OSHA here is what is required:

  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments.
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate.
  • Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed.
  • Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them.
  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
  • Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan.
  • No for the challenge part...we need to do this for literally hundreds of different locations/facilities which each require their own unique plan. I'm wondering what ideas all you crazy smart people might have for how you would approach this?

    13 Replies
    Zara Ogden

    Game it!

    Make a general program that walks a user through the process generally. then in the end give them what they need. 

    "This is Ted. Ted is an employee of an organization...Today you are responsible for helping Ted make the right decisions to safely run an evacuation drill. Click on the Resource tab to locate the evacuation procedures for Ted's facility."

    "Each facility has unique needs when an emergency occurs. It is important to know the procedures for the facility you work in. As you help Ted today you may refer back to him procedures by clicking on the tab at any time" 

    In the end you can finish it 2 ways. On your LMS have the individuals procedure be the next part of the program with a sign off that they have read it. Or have them click on their address to see their procedures. 

    David Lindenberg

    Hey Mike-

    I numbered your points to make it easier to refer to below.

    1. Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments.
    2. Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate.
    3. Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed.
    4. Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them.
    5. Means of reporting fires and other emergencies.
    6. Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan.

    Seems to me some of these could be universal?  Numbers 3,4, and 5 look like they could be universal and definitely put into Articulate modules.

    Number 2 may be able to be universal if the plants are all the same?  Even if they aren't, I would assume a lot of them are the same type which would at least decrease your numbers a little more.

    Number 6 could maybe just be a PDF contact list?  Not sure if that would be too big or not.

    Number 1 looks like the kicker, as I'm sure each building is different so would require its own escape route.  Although, evacuation procedures could be universal?

    Hope this helps at least a little bit.


    James Brown

    I like the game idea.. Get out of the building before it collapses..

    For one.. Do you actually need an evacuation plan in e-learning or could you simply tell the user where to locate the evacuation plan. I would start off the game with a scenario..Your are sitting in the control room of the nuclear power plant when your building has been hit by a 8.0 magnitude earth quake and you need to get out of the building. Now come up with ways to incorporate 2,3 ,4  &5.

    Module 1 -- getting out of the building which might cover where to locate the evacuation plan.

    Module 2 -- What to do if you are left behind. -- how to lock down the reactor.. etc.

    you get the jist..

    Mike Taylor

    I love these ideas...the biggest thing I'm wrestling with is the fact that every location has its own plan (or at least is supposed to) and I have no way to know what or where it is. I'm trying to think of how  to include something that asks them if they know where to find their plan and then if they don't give them a contact list so somebody can direct them to it. Ultimately I don't think they need to create one nor necessarily even remember the whole thing, but just know where to get it if/when they need it.

    What do you think about that?

    Dave Neuweiler

    Mike, every building is different, so it stands to reason that each location MUST have its own plan. And no online training is going to make any given plan work for all those locations.

    What you can do is set a standard for what any individual plan must accomplish. Your module could consist of the generic elements of an evacuation plan -- those things that must be in place. The idea then is to have each facility match their existing plan against the standard to determine whether the plan meets the standard. (Sounds like a nice Quizmaker exercise for this part.) Parts of the evacuation plan that don't meet the standard or are completely missing get "tagged" for corrective action.

    Mike, this is the kind of deal that needs to be proactive. You wrote earlier: "Ultimately I don't think they need to create one nor necessarily even remember the whole thing, but just know where to get it if/when they need it."

    I would suggest that when the building is filling with smoke, that it's too late to just know where to go and find the plan, or to start figuring out what to do.

    To put in a different light, and this could be a good opening for the training, try this scenario... There's a fire in your building and people got out. The first thing the incident commander is going to ask upon arrival is, "Is everyone out?" (That's the differnce between putting out a fire from a safe distance or having firefighters searching a burning building.) The LAST thing you want to answer is, "I don't know."  And a successfully designed and executed evacvuation plan will enable you to answer that question with confidence.

    Hope that helps!


    Marti Stemm

    Many if not most of my training modules must be created as specific to a location, they often have different policies, and often different "equipment".

    I just recently created a training module for the file alarm systems, how it works, policy even the sound, etc.  I created a generic piece that covered the common things for each site and then inserted the "notebook" PowerPoint presention slides, ( it was available a while back, I think it was from Tom and called blue tabs), and re-colored and used the tabs and the individual pages to insert the "site specific " information.   We are a security company and policies vary not only by customer policy but also by law depending on the type of facility.

    Some tabs had multiple pages because there were short video snippets, including people being evacuated, equipment in action, and people doing their assigned tasks (pictures were also used).  I also used a floor or building maps and motion path to show an errow exiting each floor. 

    It allowed me to use some of the material in the beginning without always re-doing the common factors.  Likewise I was able to use common factors in the test.

    The notebook had a title page with a picutre of the site on the front indicating it was their "special" instruction.   The user could click on the tabs to go from one section to another (using first page of section only as the "go back") 

    Bob S

    To piggyback on Dave's point...

    Not an OSHA expert, bujt I believe most evac plans have some common "elements" that you could leverage:

    • Know which zone/color/team your area is on the plan
    • Locate the primary/closest exit point for your area
    • Locate secondary/backup exit point
    • Know where the rally point is for your zone
    • Name the zone/color/team people who are responsible for counting heads/gathering folks at the rally point
    • etc

    Consider having the learners use materials (like thier own particular plan) to find these answers then record them via QM or a fact sheet they must fill out and print.

    Hope this helps,


    Kat Fardian

    Hmmm.... Building off the others ideas - but more in a technical rather than creative way. You might be able to create a generic presentation that covers all the basics and then add some specific information into engage/quizzes. Temporarily these could be blank files, basically you are creating place holders. You could then publish the document and have a basic foundation for all your courses. 

    Then go to engage and create engage files with the info specific to each place and publish. You would then make a copy of the generic presentation and swap the blank engage files for the ones created for that location. See Dave Moxons Blog which covers the basic concept of swapping files.

    I'm not positive this would do what you want cause I haven't tried it in a course but it would mean you only need to publish the large presentation once and then only republish the small engage files for each location.... but you have to do the swapping... Also not sure if this works for normal engages in a slide or only as player tabs which is what I saw in a screenr? Someone else might be able to confirm?

    Oh.... I think you can also swap files for any type of swf so you might not be limited to engage interactions. If you like the idea let me know and I'll try and find the screenrs that inspired my little ramble.... Sorry this took a lot more words than it should have

    Anyway... just an idea!

    Dave Neuweiler

    Hello Mike...

    I dug out some material I wrote several years ago. It was written at a high level for corporate-wide release. Each facility worldwide was responsible for developing their own plan. Anyway, this might give you some ideas:

    Elements of an Evacuation Plan

    The goal of an evacuation plan is twofold. First it is meant to ensure that all the occupants of a building can quickly and safely evacuate in the event of a Fire Alarm or other emergency.

    The second is to ensure that all employees and visitors are accounted for so that the Fire Department can plan an appropriate response. We’ll touch on this in a few minutes.

    Here are some common elements in Evacuation Plans:

    ·         The plan is written, published, and posted on common bulletin boards.

    ·         The plan defines Exit Routes and Evacuation Assembly Areas.

    ·         The Plan defines what an Evacuation Signal is.

    ·         The Plan gives instructions to follow when the Evacuation Alarm sounds.

    Some important “Do Nots”:

    ·         DO NOT wait for someone to verify whether the alarm is false or real.

    ·         DO NOT wait to see if you can observe flames or smell smoke.

    ·         DO NOT get in your car and leave the area unless you are directed to do so by responding firefighters or management.

    Whenever the signal is given to evacuate:

    ·         DO immediately exit the building following defined exit routes.

    ·         DO report to your assigned Evacuation Area

    ·         DO wait for instructions from Emergency Wardens or officials with the responding firefighters.

    The goal in accounting for all employees and visitors at the Assembly Area is to be able to tell the fire department whether:

    ·         ALL personnel are evacuated and accounted for. The fire department will plan to attack the fire.

    ·         NOT ALL personnel are accounted for. The fire department will perform a Search & Rescue.

    There’s a huge difference in the amount of risk that firefighters subject themselves to between fighting a fire from a safe distance or racing into a burning building to search for unaccounted-for employees.

    Aside from your own personal safety, let this be part of your motivation to learn and follow your Emergency Evacuation Plan.

    Kevin Dowd


    I don't much about emergency planning, but when you consider the way documentation generally works in most places, I'd imagine about three things are the case in at least some of the buildings' emergency plan documentation:

    • only a couple of people in each building actually know where the document is
    • it hasn't been updated in awhile
    • it isn't articulated very well

    Telling them where to go find it isn't going to be very helpful if you're working with bad resources.  I think there might be a couple key things you want to be sure to mention in each course, like:

    • where their emergency meeting place is
    • who the designated leader is

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