Emergency Procedures: A Theater’s Hidden Safety Gem

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Learn How Writing Emergency Procedures Prepares Your Movie Theater for Incidents

We know that up-to-date and well written emergency procedures are critical for schools, but they are also critical to safety at movie theaters. No matter how large or small a cinema is, it is a public place where many people gather in a confined area, making it a soft target, thus the need for well written emergency procedures.

So, what should your cinema’s emergency procedures include? The key areas that are cause for major concern are fires and weather. Fire evacuation plans should include a list of steps take to safely and quickly evacuate all moviegoers and staff. Emergency plans for weather should include procedures for a variety of scenarios including flash flooding and tornadoes. Power outages are also likely to happen at some point in your cinema, so ensure you write your plans for how to respond to power outages, including time frames, reimbursements, and employee response.

emergency proceduresTheaters are open late at night and sometimes with little staff, making them a potential victim to robbery. With the help of your security personnel, make a set of procedures to reduce the risk of robbery and how to deal with it if it happens at your theater. Unfortunately, armed intruders are a safety risk that theater owners must consider. Your emergency procedures should list the steps to take for an armed intruder and should have instructions for how staff should respond while keeping everyone safe.

Bomb threats are a safety concern for every facility nationwide, and theaters are no exception. Your emergency procedures should include response instructions for a suspicious package or telephoned bomb threat. Include information that the caller should take, who should call the authorities and how to safely evacuate moviegoers without causing panic.

General safety is critical and often times will be the most used procedures from your emergency plans. Include how to keep staff and patrons safe from slips, trips, and falls by addressing expectations for timely clean ups of spills and objects on the floors, especially in dark auditoriums. Also include AED and First Aid kit locations and how to handle medical emergencies. Only those with specialized training should administer life-saving procedures, but management should call 9-1-1 for help.

Having well written plans is great, but if no one knows what to do with those plans, they become useless. Part of your emergency procedures should be the different roles and responsibilities for your staff to take in the event of an incident or emergency. Address who has the authority to call 9-1-1 in a variety of situations, who will turn on lights during an evacuation, and what your concessions staff should do to put out or evacuate in case of fire. Each staff member or area of your theater should have assigned roles and responsibilities to attend to and be trained on those procedures to ensure effectiveness.

With the recent safety and security breaches at cinemas across the nation, it is critical to get emergency procedures up-to-date and train staff on their roles and responsibilities. Theaters have become a soft target in our society for harm to others, but by preparing emergency procedures, you can reduce the risk.

If you liked this post, you’ll also enjoy reading about how to write safety goals for your theater to start off the New Year right!

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