NEW BOOK! Emergency Evacuation Planning for Your Workplace From Chaos to Life-Saving Solutions, by Jim Burtles

First ever, all-in-one, practical resource for evacuating people of all ages and health conditions from all kinds of workplaces, including small offices, skyscrapers, business and college campuses, industrial plants, stores, hospitals, and schools!

Emergency Evacuation Planning for Your Workplace

From Chaos to Life-Saving SolutionsBook Cover

By Jim Burtles, KLJ, CMLJ, FBCI


    • First ever, all-in-one, practical resource for evacuating people of all ages and health conditions from all kinds of workplaces, including small offices, skyscrapers, business and college campuses, industrial plants, stores, hospitals, and schools.
    • Based on the Business Continuity Institute’s proven 6-Phase Business Continuity Lifecycle Model that encompasses development, delivery, and maintenance of organization-wide plans – to ensure that your methodology aligns with best practices, relevant regulations, sound governance, and corporate responsibility.
    • Comprehensive package of 600+ pages of book and BONUS DOWNLOADS containing tools, templates, case studies, sample plans, forms, checklists, articles, and practical tips.
    • Authored by an internationally acclaimed consultant in Business Continuity Management, with 35+ years’ experience in 24 countries and recipient of the Business Continuity Institute’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
    • Thought-provoking discussion questions requiring application of principles to solve problems, numerous real-life case studies and examples, comprehensive index and detailed glossary facilitate both college and professional instruction.

Published 2013 by Rothstein Associates Inc. 340 pages book + 300 pages of downloads, glossary, index, 6 x 9 hardcover, $69.95, ISBN 978-1-931332-56-9


Chaos ensues. Crowds become hysterical. Workers and visitors flee the burning building amid falling debris, run frantically through seemingly endless, smoke-filled hallways and stumble down crowded stairwells as fire alarms shriek through the darkness.

Panic sets in. No time for reflection. No time to figure out where to go!

Recent world events – such as the deaths of hundreds of factory workers trapped by barricaded fire doors – make it painfully obvious that NOW is the time to commit to planning, testing, and practicing evacuation procedures. Your own life may depend on it. The lives of your employees, colleagues, patients, and even the general public — most definitely do.

In this must-have, industry-defining book, Jim Burtles takes a disciplined, no-nonsense approach – well beyond the routine of your basic fire drill.

Driven by memories of 9/11, Burtles pours 10+ years of international research into lifesaving solutions for any facility of any size under extreme conditions. From a review of building materials, floor plans, and architectural conditions, to a precise “how-to” for testing and training the people in charge of an actual evacuation, Burtles leads you step-by-step through the kind of planning that saves lives.

This comprehensive package of 600+ pages of book and downloads offers the first ever, all-in-one resource — packed with globally researched, innovative, and field-tested plans, tips, and tools for workplace evacuation, including:

  • Comprehensive approach covering all kinds of personal conditions and facilities. Provides full details on how to deliver an effective evacuation solution for people of varying ages, health conditions, and special needs, including how to develop Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs) for employees who need them. Shows how to develop plans for evacuating a variety of facilities ranging from small offices, skyscrapers, business campuses and industrial plants to stores, hospitals, schools and colleges.
  • Practical and compassionate insights for dealing with emotional reactions and physical difficulties, both pre- and post-event. Includes planning for and managing both the immediate reactions and, very importantly, any long term care for employees that may be required in the wake of major trauma.
  • Tools, templates, case studies, sample plans, forms, checklists, articles, and practical tips that will spare you pitfalls and costly mistakes in designing your own evacuation plan. Burtles has literally “been there, done that” over many years, so take advantage of his hard-won expertise and field-tested tools to enhance the plan you have or create one from scratch.

You are responsible for your people’s safety. Put emergency evacuation on the top of your priority list. Use Burtles as a guide to practice (and practice and practice and practice) realistic evacuation drills and procedures, create strong policies, and get management buy-in with clearly understood and agreed-upon methods to increase the chance of survival for those at risk. With this book and accompanying EEP Toolkit, you now have the tools to develop and implement a comprehensive Emergency Evacuation Plan.

“You MUST have a plan. You MUST practice it, “says Burtles. “But most importantly, at that critical moment, your people MUST be able to get out!”

Jim Burtles, KLJ, CMLJ, FBCI is an internationally acclaimed consultant in Business Continuity Management, with 35+ years’ experience in 24 countries. Along with technical assistance in 90+ disasters and guidance for clients in 200+ emergencies, he has orchestrated recoveries for victims of bombings, earthquakes, storms, and fires. A founding Fellow of the Business Continuity Institute, he received the Freedom of the City of London Award in 1992 and a Lifetime Achievement Award from his peers in 2001.

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“This is the book that Jim Burtles was destined to write. My colleagues at the BCI and myself recommend this book to all those who care about the safety of themselves and their colleagues in a time of crisis. I think that must be everyone.”

– Lyndon Bird, FBCI, Technical Director, The Business Continuity Institute

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“This new book will be a wakeup call, not only for those involved with BCM and EEP, but also anyone involved with employee safety, emergency response, physical security, and facilities management.

“What has been painfully lacking or inadequate is a single source of good practical explanations, tips, examples, and customizable documentation. In this book, Burtles addresses that need. Not only does he give insights into what should be covered in an emergency evacuation plan, but he also provides a wealth of downloadable documentation that can be customized for an organization’s specific needs.

“Burtles covers topics often not addressed in detail elsewhere, including:

  • Regional evacuations, evacuation of downtown business areas, evacuation of college campuses and recreational complexes – not just evacuation of individual buildings. He covers EEP for areas which are occupied by the same population most of the time, as well as those occupied primarily by visitors, shoppers, and guests.
  • Potential post-evacuation employee issues and considerations, emphasizing that it entails every step that needs to be taken from the moment the alarm sounds until all the people involved are safely back at their desks, back in their homes, safe in an emergency shelter, or have become the responsibility of some other agency.
  • Importance of Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) versus Required Safe Egress Time (RSET). Use Burtles’ formulas to compare your ASET and RSET under various scenarios and see the results.
  • Use of a clear development lifecycle similar to BCI’s business continuity management model. This model emphasizes the integration of BCM and EEP, applying the best practices reflected in the BCI model to researching, planning, and exercising a formal EEP.
  • Reference, explanation, and use of the Plan-Do-Check-Act concept in EEP. This has already become a central point of reference for ongoing management systems and is now very much referenced in current business continuity standards.”
– Melvyn Musson, FBCI, CDRP, Retired Senior Business Continuity Planning Manager, Edward Jones

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Jim Burtles’ book is so important and long-overdue. It provides a carefully wrought framework to formalize an activity that needs to be both structured and managed. With his long experience in business continuity planning, Burtles has applied his in-depth knowledge to emergency workplace evacuations. He demonstrates a six-phase methodology for developing, testing, and maintaining an effective evacuation plan.

“Burtles’ real-world experience also enables him to provide insights into best practices to ensure that your plan is sustained via effective management. He covers policy development along with processes for ongoing assurance and feedback. This approach creates an all-important management system that continues in place to protect the investment made in creating your plan.

“The process of emergency evacuation has been overlooked for far too long. We cannot expect to evacuate our workplaces effectively without a commitment to time and resources to develop appropriate processes to support it. Yet, most traditional business continuity and incident management plans tend to assume that an effective evacuation will take place somehow, even when the plans have given very little attention to the process of actually getting staff and visitors out of the building to a place of safety. Burtles offers a reliable approach to ensure the safety and protection of our people in the workplace – who are, after all, our greatest asset.”

– Steve Dance, CISA, Owner, Risk Centric Chair, Business Continuity and Security SIG for the British Institute of Facilities Management

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“Sometimes there just isn’t enough time, when only seconds count. Jim Burtles gives us a comprehensive blueprint for best chances for physical survival during any event that demands evacuation. It takes energy and stamina to be willing to stand up for human safety and survival, physical and emotional, and you can take this book as a strong ally into the fray. It’s a cutting edge methodology to plan and prepare for emergency evacuations.

“As a trauma counselor who has worked at the sites of major disasters, I know that sudden emergencies can trigger extreme altered mental states that can lead to completely unpredictable behaviors. This is why I believe that excellent planning isn’t optional. In an altered state, most people don’t think clearly about options and are overwhelmed by their sudden powerlessness. In this book, Burtles provides a strong framework for the practice (and practice, practice, practice!) of well-planned evacuation drills and procedures, the writing and re-writing of strong policies, buy-on from top to bottom and from bottom to top, good signage, and clearly understood and agreed-upon methods that can give people at risk a sense of personal power that can significantly increase their chance of survival.

“People with options tend to make different and better decisions than victims who feel powerless. If something unexpected happens and someone remembers the plan, others will also. Someone does the smart thing because a well constructed, relentlessly drilled plan is already in place, based on as many possible scenarios as humanly imaginable. Others will snap back to clear thinking, take the prepared action, and support others in shock and confusion to apply the plan. This clarity provides the best hope that the majority of people will follow to safety. These well-rehearsed behaviors become the default, the normal action in the middle of massive abnormality.”

– Vali Hawkins Mitchell, PhD, LMHC, certified traumatologist, consultant, executive coach, and author of The Cost of Emotions in the Workplace.

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About the Author

Jim Burtles, KLJ, MMLJ, FBCI, is a highly regarded global leader and practitioner in the Business Continuity profession with over 35 years of experience spread across 24 countries. He was one of founders of the Business Continuity Institute (BCI) and as its Standards Officer was heavily involved in the evolution of its professional standards and ethics. As an honorary fellow he now serves on the Global Membership Council representing the interests of the worldwide membership.

He received the freedom of the City of London in 1992 and his peers presented him with BCI’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. In2005, he was granted the rank of a Knight of Grace in the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, an ancient charitable body concerned with the treatment of skin diseases.

His first involvement with disaster recovery was in 1974 as a field engineer responsible for repairing and recovering a critical banking system struck by lightning. He went on to become IBM’s disaster recovery country specialist before joining a disaster recovery service as their principal emergency management consultant in 1987.

In 2001 he set out on his own as the principal of Total Continuity Management, where he now focuses on executive level training and the development of specialist emergency response skills.

Throughout all these years he tended to specialize in serving the personal needs of those involved in emergency situations. He trained and served as a trauma counselor before developing a counseling technique aimed at helping the victims of disaster-related trauma. This was published in 1998 as A Counselor’s Guide to the Restabilization Process. His practical experience includes hands-on recovery work with victims of such violent events as riots, bombings, earthquakes, storms, and fires. This includes technical assistance and support in 90-odd disasters, as well as advice and guidance for clients in over 200 emergency situations.

Through his activities as a trainer and consultant, he has helped to introduce the personal aspects of business continuity, emergency planning, and related disciplines into both the public and private sectors. He is the author of Principles and Practice of Business Continuity: Tools and Techniques (Rothstein Associates, 2007).


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Foreword by Melvyn Musson, FBCI, CDRP

Foreword by Steve Dance, CISA

Foreword by Vali Hawkins Mitchell, Ph.D., LMHC

Introduction: The Essentials of Emergency Evacuation Planning

 0.1 Are You Prepared?

0.1.1 Does Your Company Have Effective Emergency Evacuation Plans and Procedures in Place?

0.1.2 Does Your Organization Have a Formally Agreed Upon Policy Regarding Emergency Evacuation of Your Premises?

0.1.3 Could Your Company be Deemed Guilty of Negligence in Regard to Protecting the Health and Safety of Those Who Use, Visit, or Reside in Your Premises?

0.2 Summary of How the Emergency Evacuation Planning Lifecycle Works

0.2.1 Phase 1 — Set up the Emergency Evacuation Planning Program

0.2.2 Phase 2 — Embed EEP into an Aware and Prepared Corporate Culture

0.2.3 Phase 3 — Explore, Assess, and Understand the Environment

0.2.4 Phase 4 — Agree Upon an Evacuation Strategy

0.2.5 Phase 5 — Develop Evacuation Plans and Procedures

0.2.6 Phase 6 — The Ongoing Program: Exercise and Maintain the EEP

0.3 EEP Is an Ongoing Process

Discussion Questions — Introduction

 PHASE 1: – Set Up the Emergency Evacuation Planning Program

 1.1 A Formal Methodology

1.1.1 The Lifecycle Model

1.1.2 Prerequisites

1.2 Program Management

1.2.1 Policy

1.2.2 Strategy

1.2.3 Tactics

1.2.4 Plans

1.2.5 Signage

1.2.6 Program Management Viewed as a System

1.3 Policy Development and Management Approval

1.3.1 A Practical Approach to Developing Policy

1.3.2 Gaining Support

1.3.3 Terms of Reference

1.4 Management Approval

1.4.1 The Initial Approach

1.4.2 Bidding for Permission

1.4.3 The Basic Argument

1.5 Making the Business Case

1.5.1 Create a Strong Business Document

1.5.2 Establish the Costs and Benefits

1.6 Managing EEP

1.6.1 Liaison with Other Services

1.6.2 Single Point of Contact

1.6.3 Communications

1.6.4 Security

1.6.5 Access Control

1.6.6 Inventory Control

1.7 Evacuation Triggers

1.7.1 Classes of Incidents that Warrant Evacuation

1.7.2 Six Emergencies Likely to Warrant an Evacuation

1.8 Coordination with Business Continuity Management

1.8.1 Similarities and Differences Between BCM and EEP

1.8.2 Key Differences

1.8.3 Common Ground

1.9 Obligations and Responsibilities

1.9.1 Legal Obligations

Phase 1 — Key Actions

Discussion Questions — Phase 1

 PHASE 2 – Embed EEP Into An Aware and Prepared Corporate Culture

 2.1 BCI Good Practice Guidelines

2.1.1 What Is the message?

2.2.2 Training as an Ongoing Requirement

2.2 Developing the Training Program

2.3 Presenting the Training

2.4 Publicizing Within the Company

2.4.1 Message Strategy

2.4.2 Conveying the Message within the Organization

2.5 Aligning With Business Continuity

2.5.1 What to Do When a BC Program Is in Place

2.5.2 What to Do When No BC Program Is in Place

2.5.3 What to Do If You Decide to Take on BC

Phase 2 — Key Actions

Discussion Questions — Phase 2

 PHASE 3 – Developing an Understanding of the Environment

 3.1 Data Collection Parameters

3.1.1 Techniques

3.1.2 Physical Risk Assessment (PRA)

3.1.3 Emergency Impact Analysis (EIA)

3.1.4 Escape Requirements Analysis (ERA)

3.2 Physical Risk Assessment (PRA)

3.2.1 The Tour

3.2.2 The Outcome

3.2.3 Risk Register

3.3 Emergency Impact Analysis (EIA)

3.3.1 Facilitated Emergency Impact Analysis

3.3.2 Other Tactics

3.3.3 An EIA Checklist

3.4 Escape Requirements Analysis

Phase 3 — Key Actions

Discussion Questions — Phase 3

PHASE 4 – Determining Evacuation Strategy

4.1 Gathering a Dimension of Environmental Data and Analyzing Necessary Information

4.1.1 Site Review Process

4.1.2 Assembly Area Requirements

4.1.3 Assembly Area Assessment and Selection

4.1.4 Characteristics of the Ideal Escape Route

4.2 Concerns for the Disabled

4.2.1 Elevators

4.2.2 Fire Compartmentalization

4.2.3 Temporary Waiting Space or Refuge

4.2.4 Managing Reasonable Adjustments

4.2.5 Mobility Impaired People

4.2.6 Hearing Impaired and Deaf People

4.2.7 Visually Impaired and Blind People

4.2.8 People with Cognitive Impairment

4.3 Planning for the Disabled

4.3.1 Plans for Mobility Impaired People

4.3.2 Plans for Hearing Impaired People

4.3.3 Plans for Visually Impaired and Blind People

4.3.4 Plans for People with Cognitive Impairment

4.4 Personal Emergency Egress or Escape Plans (PEEPs)

4.4.1 Communication and Training

4.4.2 Tailoring Plans to Suit Individual Needs

4.4.3 People with Special Requirements

4.4.4 People with Variable Requirements

4.4.5 People with Short-Term Requirements

4.4.6 Format for PEEPs

4.5 High-Rise Buildings

4.5.1 Categories of High-Rise buildings

4.5.2 Evacuation and Escape Ideas

4.5.3 Escape Chutes

4.5.4 Understanding EEP in the High-Rise Environment

4.5.5 A Practical Approach to Multi-Story Buildings

4.6 Signs and Signage

4.6.1 Styles of Signs

4.6.2 World-Wide Developments

Phase 4 Key Actions

Discussion Questions — Phase 4

 PHASE 5 – Developing Plans and Procedures

 5.1 Evacuation and Assembly

5.1.1 Preparation and Distribution of Emergency Evacuation Plans

5.1.2 Strategic and Tactical Planning — EMPs and ERPs

5.1.3 Operational Level Plans

5.1.4 Adapting Plans

5.1.5 A Standard Plan

5.1.6 Generic Plans

5.1.7 Tailored Plans

5.1.8 Emergency Evacuation Process and Timing

5.1.9 Emergency Evacuation Checklists

5.2 Making Sure Everybody is Safe

5.2.1 Emergency Marshals

5.2.2 Two Emergency Evacuation Scenarios

5.2.3 Pick the Right People

5.2.4 Train Them

5.2.5 Tools for the Job

5.2.6 Making Sure No One Is Left Behind

5.2.7 Refusing to Leave

5.2.8 Tracking Systems

5.3 Evacuation Plan Content

5.3.1 Common Content

5.3.2 Strategic Evacuation Planning

5.3.3 Triage

5.3.4 Tactical Concerns

5.4 Types of Premises

5.4.1 Large Building

5.4.2 Multi-Tenanted

5.4.3 Factory

5.4.4 Business Park

5.4.5 Retail Park

5.4.6 School

5.4.7 College Campus

5.4.8 Theatre or Cinema

5.4.9 Entertainment Complex

5.4.10 Secure Environments

5.5 Helping People Afterwards

5.5.1 Loss of Personal Property

5.5.2 Staff Help Desk

5.5.3 Reactions and Recovery

Phase 5 Key Actions

Discussion Questions — Phase 5

PHASE 6 – The Ongoing Program: Exercise and Maintain the EEP

6.1 Peer Group Review

6.1.1 Review and Update

6.2 Test and Exercise Defined

6.2.1 Element Testing

6.2.2 End-to-End Testing

6.2.3 Exercising

6.3 A Delivery and Service Regime

6.3.1 Distribution

6.4 Conducting Tests and Exercises

6.4.1 Testing

6.4.2 The Launch Test

6.4.3 Exercising

6.5 Review and Update

6.6 “Smart” Fire Drills

6.6.1 On the Way Out

6.6.2 While They Are Out

6.6.3 Fire Exposure Analysis

6.6.4 Available Safe Egress Time (ASET) and Required Safe Egress Time (RSET

6.7 Case Study: United Grand Lodge of England

6.7.1 Hypothesis

6.7.2 An Estimation Procedure

6.7.3 The Final Plan

6.8 Emergency Notification

6.8.1 Signaling Protocol

6.8.2 Instructions

6.8.3 Coded Signals

Phase 6 Key Actions

Discussion Questions — Phase 6


Appendix A

Appendix B



About the Author

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