Evacuation Policies and Procedures at Casinos

evacuation casino image
Evacuation. Image Credit: Shutterstock

While a full-scale evacuation from our favourite casino might be the last thing on our mind, such events do occur and knowing how to react in those circumstances is critical for your safety.

Casino emergencies in the form of fires or natural disasters can put the lives of employees and players in jeopardy, as well as cause largescale structural damage and business interruptions. When a disaster strikes, casinos need to ensure that employees and players are evacuated promptly, in a safe and orderly manner. 

Every casino needs to have an evacuation policy in place and have staff regularly briefed on handling such emergencies.  Additionally, routine drills need to be conducted to test the effectiveness of evacuation plans in place.  

Here is a checklist of things that casinos focus on when devising an effective evacuation policy:

1. Practice Preventative Maintenance

The first step towards effective crisis prevention is having emergency lights, fire extinguishers, exit signs, sprinkler systems, kitchen suppression systems, and alarms in place. Another critical factor is finding a licensed fire inspector for conducting routine testing, inspection, and maintenance of fire protection equipment.

2. Maintain Right Documentation

Casinos must document all the emergency protection equipment installed on their premises. These documents serve as a checklist of all the equipment. In addition, insurance adjusters and authorities require documentation when undertaking certifications and inspections.

3. Train Employees

Emergency equipment is useless if the employees don’t know how to use it. For maximum protection, employees need to undertake emergency training such as using fire extinguishers. This training could be conducted periodically or annually.

4. Create Emergency Prevention Plan

All casinos should have a visible emergency prevention plan in writing. The elements that should be covered in the programme include:

  • A list of all the emergencies and hazardous materials in the casino
  • Proper handling and storage procedures of the hazardous materials
    • The type of emergency equipment required to control a hazard
  • Procedures for regular equipment maintenance
  • The job title and name of employees responsible for equipment maintenance
  • The job title and name of employees responsible for fuel source control in case of a fire

5. Creating Emergency Action Plan

Everyone must know their duties and responsibilities when an emergency strikes. The scout watchword of “be prepared” should be applied by every casino as a guide to crisis prevention. An emergency action plan includes escape routes and procedures that are usually illustrated by work-area maps or floor plans, a description of medical first aid duties, as well as a rollcall system.

Unannounced drills should be performed twice a year to help familiarise the employees with exit strategies and outdoor meeting areas. The drills should include all the departments, and a headcount should be carried out each time.

6. Creating Emergency Response Team

An emergency response team should be set up and undergo preparedness training such as handling fire emergencies. The team should be willing to aid others during an emergency, guide them to safety, and enforce emergency prevention and safety policies within the casino.

It is also essential to appoint a spokesperson to disseminate information to all employees, guests, and news media. The spokesperson should be present, reliable, and able to react speedily in case of an emergency.

7. Ensure Proper Housekeeping

Proper casino housekeeping is vital, especially during fire emergencies. Proper housekeeping entails:

  • Use metal containers with tight lids to dispose of trash
  • Place extra equipment and storage away from fire exits
    • Equipment, storage, and hazardous materials should never be stacked so high to interfere with the automatic sprinkler systems
  • Cleaning up of chemical spills and oils should take place immediately

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