How To Plan for Warehouse Emergencies

How To Plan for Warehouse Emergencies
  • Opening Intro -

    “The best offense is a good defense.” Speakers typically apply this expression to war or sports.

    The idea here is that being proactive instead of reactive will put you in a better position to “attack” problems head-on.


While not all of us will march on the battlefield or sprint across a baseball diamond, we can all apply this same sentiment to our everyday lives—especially during warehouse emergencies. Knowing how to plan for warehouse emergencies is the best way to go “on the defensive” to keep your employees safe.

Establish Solid Safety Foundation

The warehouses that are most prepared for emergencies are those that have already established a culture of safety.

For instance, if a warehouse has traffic control issues between pedestrians and forklifts, an emergency will leave both parties at greater risk.

This warehouse should focus on increasing regular pedestrian safety before creating emergency plans.

To increase general warehouse safety, assess these aspects of your warehouse:

  • Traffic control
  • Lighting
  • Visibility
  • Employee PPE
  • Shelving Stability
  • Cleanliness

These things will create a solid foundation to build emergency plans on.

Know How To Identify a Workplace Emergency

You won’t be able to respond to an emergency if you don’t know that it is happening. While many emergency scenarios are obvious, such as a fire or forklift accident, some are not. For instance, employees may not be aware of a tornado outside a facility without many windows until it’s too late.

Train employees on what various scenarios look like. Also, establish alarm systems for situations that may be less obvious and train workers to know what to listen for.

Create a Plan

From here, creating a warehouse emergency plan becomes a relatively simple task. Most emergencies merit one of three responses: evacuate, shelter, or respond. If employees are trained in all three, they will be well equipped to act quickly to keep themselves and their coworkers safe.

  • Evacuate

    Evacuations are necessary when being inside the building is no longer safe, such as during a fire. Because warehouses are large, cavernous spaces, finding the exit isn’t always as easy as one would think. This is especially true for new employees. Post indoor maps throughout the facility and highlight the routes to get to the nearest exit.

  • Shelter

    Scenarios when sheltering is necessary are typically during extreme weather situations, such as tornados, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Designate small, enclosed areas away from glass or the building’s outer walls to protect employees from wall or building collapse.

  • A Note on Active Shooters

    In the past, experts have told people to respond to active shooter scenarios by sheltering in place. However, these days, experts recommend evacuating first, if it is safe to do so. If evacuation is not possible, employees should use A.L.I.C.E protocols to make themselves as difficult a target as possible.

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  • Respond

    In a health emergency such as a heart attack or accident, employees need to respond quickly and appropriately to save lives. Post instructions on basic first aid and CPR throughout the building and provide training in basic medical response, such as how to administer an EpiPen.

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