Evacuation Diagrams
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Do I really need to post evacuation diagrams in my clinic?

Neither OSHA's Fire Prevention Standard nor the Employee Emergency Plan Standard specifically require the posting of any evacuation diagrams in the workplace. However, both require the employer to develop a plan that includes a description of the evacuation procedures staff members are expected to follow. And, as the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” It’s so much easier to show the exit route than it is to explain it in writing.

Of course, there is an argument that the layout of veterinary hospitals are usually easy to learn and once someone has worked in a place more than a couple of days, they instinctively know their way out. But the fallacy to that position is twofold:

  1. we never know when a fire or emergency will require evacuation, and maybe it will be on someone’s first day at work, and
  2. human beings tend to forget simple, basic things under extreme duress, and something as simple as a diagram could be the difference to someone temporarily confused in an extreme situation.

If an exit diagram is used, it should be posted in a sufficient number of places in the hospital so that employees can orient themselves and escape easily. Generally speaking, posting an evacuation diagram is recommended in the following areas:

  • staff break room or lounge;
  • treatment room or “activity center” of the practice;
  • at least once on each floor of a multi-floor building; and
  • in any area where the direction of travel is not readily apparent (like in areas with many doors and no windows to give someone “orientation”).


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The information on these pages is excerpted from
The Veterinary Safety & Health Digest,
Copyright 2003 Philip J. Seibert, Jr., CVT  All Rights Reserved
No part of this publication may be reproduced for distribution without prior permission from the publisher.


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This page was last updated on 01/24/14.

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