Does Your Company Have an Emergency Evacuation Plan?

September 28, 2005

OAK BROOK, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE) -- As recent tragic events in London, Egypt and New Orleans have made clear, disasters - both man-made and natural - can strike without warning anywhere, anytime, underscoring the urgent need for companies to have in place effective evacuation plans for their employees. Yet many don't.

To help companies throughout the world jump-start this critical planning process, GMAC Global Relocation Services - a division of global giant General Motors and a leader in worldwide relocation and assignment management services - has researched and written a comprehensive article outlining steps companies can begin taking today to protect their employees around the globe.

Titled "Emergency Evacuation -- Is Your Company Prepared?" the article is featured in the October issue of Strategic Advisor, a monthly publication GMAC Global Relocation Services introduced earlier this year. Researched and written by Kirsten Kubala Cleveland, the company's manager of Strategic Services, the article discusses what she calls companies' "fundamental responsibility to protect their employees," then offers a step-by-step approach to creating an effective emergency evacuation plan.

"Employees are the heart and soul of any company, large or small, and having a comprehensive emergency evacuation plan in place is essential," said Rick Schwartz, president and CEO of GMAC Global Relocation Services. "Our hope is that companies never, ever have to use their plans. But at the same time, knowing they are in place and prepared will give companies peace of mind and send a powerful message to employees that they are valued and that their safety and the safety of their loved ones is paramount."

In her wide-ranging and easy-to-read article, Kubala Cleveland discusses the steps companies and their employees can and should take in creating an emergency evacuation plan, beginning with four key stages:

Putting the plan together

Implementing the plan in an emergency

Providing post-emergency evacuation assistance

Ongoing monitoring and development of the plan.

Kubala Cleveland's article covers steps for both large and small companies. From a broad perspective, for example, she discusses the importance of identifying key personnel who will be responsible for putting a plan together and then assembling the company's Crisis Management Team.

She then bores down to the employee level, discussing the importance of having employees assemble and have handy a "Departure Kit" for themselves and their families that they could quickly retrieve during an evacuation. Suggested contents of the kit include passports, visas, birth certificates, bank account information and medical records, among other key personal items.

Other topics discuss transportation challenges that may arise during an evacuation; evaluating the level of danger and when and how to act to protect employees and their families; how to maintain communications during an emergency, when phone lines and computers may not be available; and how to handle medical emergencies that may arise during the course of an evacuation.

As its name implies, Strategic Advisor explores and offers guidance on a wide breadth of global business trends, challenges and opportunities. Strategic Advisor is researched, written and produced by GMAC Global Relocation Services' Strategic Services Group, which provides clients with expert research and guidance in policy development, policy benchmarks and implementation, group move planning and other key human resource guidance involving global relocation and assignment management. The company will be distributing copies of Strategic Advisor at the Employee Relocation Council (ERC) Global Workforce Symposium this week in Chicago.

Source: GMAC Home Services

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