Evacuation planning… is it 5 P’s or 6 P’s?

Evacuation planning… is it 5 P’s or 6 P’s

There’s a good chance you’ve heard about the 6 P’s for evacuation – especially if you live or work in a disaster-prone area. It is perhaps less likely that you’ve heard about the 5 P’s. If you haven’t heard of either, fear not! We’re about to take a look at both…

The 6 P’s for evacuation

The 6 P’s for evacuation

The 6 P’s of evacuation were developed to provide an easy way for residents to remember the essential items they needed to pack in preparation for an emergency evacuation situation, such as fire, hurricane, flood or tsunami.

The California fire department heavily promoted the 6 P’s during the devastating California wildfires of 2020, disseminating checklists through local radio stations, news outlets, and social media. In Australia, where we frequently battle the elements and can bounce from fire to flood in next to no time, the 6 P’s may be less well known but are no less applicable.

The helpful checklists can be used to prepare a “grab-bag” or kept in a handy location so that, if residents are told to evacuate, they don’t find themselves in a mad panic trying to mentally run through all the things they might need to take with them.

What are the 6 P’s for evacuation?

The “6 P’s of evacuation” is an acronym for the list of important items to pack or grab in a last-minute dash out of their house. While there are a few (slight) variations in circulation – with order or item changes, and even the addition of extra P’s – the basic premise is the same:

  1. People and pets
  2. Papers, phone numbers and important documents
  3. Prescriptions, vitamins, and eyeglasses
  4. Pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia
  5. Personal computer, hard drive, and USB
  6. “Plastic” (credit cards, atm cards) and cash

What do the 6 P’s for evacuation mean?

As you might expect, first place on the list goes to people and pets – it’s critical to ensure your loved ones (human and animal) aren’t left behind and that arrangements are made for their wellbeing if you can’t all stay together. While that may seem like a no-brainer, when you find yourself in an emergency evacuation situation, you’re likely to be stressed and may not be thinking clearly.

Other items on the list are fairly self-explanatory:

  • Take important documents and paperwork, like birth certificates, marriage certificate, passports, etc;
  • Take a supply of prescription medications, prescription repeats, and a spare pair of glasses or contact lenses;
  • Pack any irreplaceable photographs or memorabilia that you hold dear;
  • Grab your laptop. If you have a desktop PC rather than a laptop, backup everything on a portable external hard drive or USB stick/s that you can easily take with you or make use of cloud-based storage;
  • Grab your ‘plastic’ – and remember it could be helpful to have some cash on hand too if the disaster is more widespread.

Of course, everyone can make their own changes to that basic list – not every ‘P’ is applicable to every person, nor is the list exhaustive… for example, specific mention isn’t made of important ID cards, like your driver’s license or Medicare card, though these are presumably included under “Papers (etc.)” or “Plastic”. However, the 6 P’s for evacuation provide an excellent base from which to work.

The 5 P’s for evacuation planning

The 5 P’s for evacuation planning

As you read through the 6 P’s for evacuation you probably thought of a few more P’s that you would add to your personalised list of evacuation P’s, such as “Phone (& charger)”, “Pillow” or “Purse”. You might therefore be wondering which P you could possibly remove from the list to cut it back to just 5 P’s… So, let’s take a look at the 5 P’s of evacuation planning.

What are the 5 P’s for evacuation?

The “5 P’s for evacuation” are entirely different to the “6 P’s for evacuation”, standing for
Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.”

Mostly aimed at businesses, where emergency plans and evacuation procedures are in place and designated individuals are responsible for ensuring emergency evacuations are undertaken in a timely and organised fashion, the 5 P’s serve as a reminder that emergency planning is essential, and preparation is key to ensuring a successful evacuation.

Effective training in emergency and evacuation procedures, and conducting regular evacuation drills:

  • enables wardens and safety officers to act quickly and correctly in an emergency situation, helping to save precious time, keep themselves and others safe, and minimise disruptions to business operations; and
  • ensures employees know what to do in an actual emergency, which can help to keep people calmer, prevent injuries, and save lives.

Putting the 5 P’s for evacuation into practice

Under the NSW Work Health and Safety Regulation (2017), employers are legally required to prepare, maintain, and implement an emergency plan that enables an effective response to any emergency. The emergency plan must include:

  • Emergency procedures
  • Requirements for testing those procedures, including how often testing should occur
  • Requirements for the provision of information, training and instruction to relevant workers, regarding implementation of the emergency procedures.

Emergency procedures should allocate roles and responsibilities for certain actions (e.g., fire and area wardens), and include evacuation procedures that specify the requirements for:

  • activating alarms and alerting people at the workplace;
  • notifying emergency services as soon as possible;
  • medical treatment and assistance; and
  • effective communication between the business’s emergency response coordinator and everyone at the workplace.

The Managing the Work Environment and Facilities – Code of Practice further states:

  • Emergency procedures should cover the dissemination and display of a site plan showing the location of fire protection equipment, emergency exits and assembly points.
  • Evacuation procedures should be prominently displayed in the workplace.
  • Regular evacuation practice drills should occur at least every 12 months.

Adair Evacuation Consultants Can Help Your Business Nail The 5 P’s for Evacuation Planning

Adair Evacuation Consultants are committed to working with you to develop emergency management programs to safeguard your workplace and protect the viability of your business.

Our experienced evacuation consultants and accredited trainers can help you put your evacuation plans into practice. Our evacuation training and warden training is compliant with current Australian Standards and tailored to your workplace needs, so that your employees are fully prepared for any emergency.

Adair Evacuation Consultants has all of your evacuation planning needs covered, from consultancy services to staff training to specialised evacuation equipment, printed materials and signage.

For more information, visit us at adairevac.com.au, call one of our evacuation specialists today on 1300 213 000, or complete our contact form to have an Adair representative contact you as soon as possible.