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Emergency Evacuation Checklist

It is essential that occupants can quickly and safely evacuate the workplace in the event of an emergency. Workers should be involved in developing and updating the emergency plan. It is important to conduct drills on a regular basis so that staff will learn and remember what they are supposed to do. The following checklist can be used to develop an evacuation plan or evaluate the adequacy of an existing plan. 

The answer to all of the following questions should be YES.

Emergency Evacuation Plan

  • Is there a written evacuation plan for the workplace?
  • Have workers been trained on the plan?
  • Is there a map posted that shows where the exits are?
  • Have there been drills conducted in the last year?
  • Are there floor wardens or other persons available to help others in an emergency?
  • Are there procedures in place to assist individuals with disabilities leave the workplace?
  • After vacating the workplace, is there a specific area where persons are supposed to gather to be accounted for?
  • Is the plan reviewed and updated annually?


Alarm and Detection Systems

  • Can the alarm system be seen and heard?
  • Does the alarm system have more than one signal?
  • Do workers know what the different signals mean?
  • Have the alarms and detection systems been tested in the last year?
  • Does the facility have a sprinkler or other type of fire suppression system? If yes, has the sprinkler system been tested in the last year?


  • Are there at least two exit routes for staff to get out? (Some workplaces will require more than two exits.)
  • Are exits clear of clutter?
  • Are the exits clearly marked and lit?
  • Do workers know where exits are in their work area?
  • Is the route to the exit (exit access) at least 28 inches wide and kept clear of debris?
  • Are fire doors kept closed?
  • Are the exits doors unlocked, or do they automatically unlock when an alarm sounds?
  • Do the doors open outward?
  • Are the exit doors fitted with panic hardware? If yes, are they working properly?
  • Are doors that that cannot be used to leave the facility clearly labeled "Not an Exit" or otherwise marked?
  • Are the stairways wide enough to accommodate everyone in the workplace?
  • Do the stairs have non-slip treads?
  • Do the stairs have handrails?
  • Do exits lead to a public way?


  • Is trash collected on a regular basis and placed in sealed containers?
  • Is debris kept away from exit routes, exit doors and stairwells?
  • Are cleaning materials sealed and stored properly?
  • Is there an up to date list of all hazardous chemicals in the workplace?
  • Are there Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available for those chemicals?

This list is a brief summary of what should be in an evacuation plan. For more information on emergency planning and preparedness, see Are You Prepared? An AFSCME Guide to Emergency Planning in the Workplace.

May 2004

For more information about protecting workers from workplace hazards, contact the AFSCME Health and Safety Program at (202) 429-1215, or 1625 L Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036.

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