7 Steps to Conducting a Successful Evacuation Search

by | 14 May 2024

Conducting an efficient and effective evacuation search should be carefully considered as part of every organisation’s emergency management planning. The process requires careful planning, coordination, and execution.


We have provided seven steps to conducting a successful evacuation search below:


  1. Establish clear evacuation protocols and procedures as part of your emergency response plan. This includes defining roles and responsibilities for designated search teams, establishing communication channels, and outlining evacuation routes and assembly points on displayed evacuation diagrams. Training sessions should be conducted regularly to ensure all personnel understand their roles and are familiar with the emergency management procedures.


  1. Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the area, identifying potential obstacles, hazards, and areas of concern that may impact the search and evacuation process. This assessment will help inform decision-making and resource allocation during an emergency.


  1. Based on the risk assessment, develop a comprehensive search plan that outlines the specific steps and strategies for conducting the evacuation search. This plan should include details such as search team assignments, search priorities, search methods (for example, floor-by-floor, room-by-room), and communication protocols. When devising the search plan, consider building layout, occupancy, and potential hazards.


  1. Implement effective communication systems to ensure coordination and timely information is shared among search teams and other stakeholders. Establish robust communication systems, including two-way radios, mobile phones, or other communication devices, to enable real-time communication between search teams, the emergency control organisation (ECO), and other personnel involved in the evacuation process.


  1. Conduct thorough and systematic searches by dividing the area into zones and assigning search teams to cover each zone thoroughly. Ensure that search teams follow predefined search patterns and techniques, such as sweep patterns or grid searches, to maximise coverage and efficiency. Pay close attention to areas where individuals may be trapped or hidden from view, such as stairwells, fire escapes, or crawl spaces.


  1. Account for individuals and report findings to the ECO. The ECO should use standardised methods for recording and reporting information, such as log sheets and mapping, to keep track of all individuals and zones. If individuals are found, assist if it is safe to do so and guide them to safety following established evacuation routes.


  1. Regular reviews and evaluations of the evacuation procedures should be conducted to identify areas for improvement. Request feedback from personnel involved in the evacuation search, analyse performance metrics and incorporate lessons learned from past incidents into future planning and emergency management training efforts. Continuously update and refine procedures based on evolving threats, environmental changes, and stakeholder feedback.


If you would like to learn more about how Bounce Readiness can assist your organisation with evacuation procedures or take our Conducting Evacuation Searches e-learning short course, please get in touch.

School Resilience Survey

This specific survey focuses on lessons learnt from incidents over the last 12 months, and takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.