What happens during an evacuation?

What happens during an evacuation?

An evacuation is the emergency exodus of a building, city or any other location. Most commonly, evacuation drills in South Africa are used to exit in the event of a fire or natural disaster or bomb scare. If there is an imminent threat, then evacuation is usually facilitated by several appointed Marshalls. They include the office’s Health and Safety Officers, Fire Marshalls, First Aiders, with the police usually also called. Special provisions and exits are provided for people with disabilities, as well as pregnant women.

The sequence of an evacuation can be divided into the following phases, Wikipedia explains.

– Detection

– Decision

– Alarm

– Reaction

– Movement to an area of refuge or an assembly station

– Transport

– The time for the first four phases is usually called pre-movement time.

There are different evacuation protocols for different situations.


In a fire evacuation, the first step is to activate any fire alarms. Then, from closest to the door, occupants are required to walk, in an orderly fashion, to the building’s marked exits.
Provision should also be made for people who are physically impaired. Most companies have emergency maps displayed in their offices. Companies are required to do emergency fire drills twice a year in order to train each floor how to take the quickest, safest route out of the building.

Once outside, everyone is to remain in the demarcated area so that roll call can be taken to ensure that no one has been left inside the building.

Natural disaster

Usually when a country is prone to natural disasters like tornados, tsunamis and earthquakes, there are national plans in place such as safe havens, shelters and routes out of the city. Most times, weather experts will send out a warning days before a storm or event and people are encouraged to leave their hometown as soon as possible.

Pack only necessities. Make a list of shelters and safe havens beforehand, especially if you don’t know where to find shelter at the homes of family or friends. Take an emergency supply kit and enough food for a long journey. Be sure to charge all devices and have extra batteries for things like radios and flash lights. Fill your tank – you don’t want to run out of petrol halfway out the city.




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