Action Steps to Create a Plan for Handling Emergencies
Preplanning is essential for successfully minimizing any adverse effects of an emergency or disaster on a business and its operations. Emergencies and disasters can take many forms, including physical perils, work accidents, or deliberate acts of terrorism or sabotage. This article presents the steps in developing plans to help a business survive an emergency.
- Select/appoint an individual to be responsible for creating the plan.
- Identify the exposures needing controls. Some examples are terrorism; bomb threats; natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods; fires; workplace violence; and hazardous chemical spills.
- Decide if ONE plan, or separate plans for each exposure, needs to be developed.
- Build a list of organization names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, points of contact names of emergency response resources. Examples of emergency resources include: police, fire, alarm service, hospitals, insurance broker, poison center, public health department, telephone company, utilities, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FMEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and insurance carriers.
- Draft the plan(s), covering prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery issues.
- Establish target dates for completing each section of the plan and one date for the entire plan.
- Build plans as either Action Guides, Response Plans, or Emergency Management Plans.
- Action Guides are usually in a checklist format listing the steps that need to be accomplished when an event happens. It generally outlines those company personnel and outside agencies to be called, what information is to be collected, and what actions are to be taken. These guides are generally part of a more comprehensive emergency management plan.
- Response Plans are also called contingency plans and contain a more detailed description of the steps listed in the Action Guides. Response Plans will generally provide more information on the actions that must be implemented to limit damage from an emergency and do not deal with pre-emergency or recovery planning.
- Emergency Management Plans are comprehensive documents that include the Action Guides and Response Plans. It describes the methods used to prevent emergencies, actions when event happens, activities needed to keep the organization operational, and steps to bring company back to full operation.
- After the plan is drafted, take inventory of the equipment required, employee knowledge and skill levels, and develop a shortfall list. This list documents the equipment that has to be purchased or, if purchase is not an option, how the plan can be modified. Also, develop all training requirements needed for execution of the plan.
- Consider these special issues while building the plan. Does the business operate outside of normal hours and thus need additional, trained personnel? Are there subcontractors working in the facility and are they accounted for in the plan? Are workflow and processes stable or do they change frequently? Have backup personnel been identified and trained for each critical emergency action? Does the facility rely only on commercially supplied electrical power?
- Select/appoint individuals responsible to implement the plan and conduct training.
- Finally, setup a schedule to exercise the plan and audit the success of each step or action. The more frequently the plan is exercised, the better prepared personnel will be, the more easily potential problems will be identified, and corrections made before any real emergency occurs.
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COPYRIGHT @2001, ISO Services, Inc. CH-45-01 12/07/01
The information contained in this publication was obtained from sources believed to be reliable. ISO Services Properties, Inc., its companies and employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with either the information herein contained or the safety suggestions herein made. Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedure.
Great American Insurance Group, 580 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. The information presented in this publication is intended to provide guidance and is not intended as a legal interpretation or any federal, state or local laws, rules or regulations applicable to your business. The loss prevention information is provided is intended only to assist policyholders in the management of potential loss producing situations involving their premises and/on operations based or generally accepted state practices. In providing such information Great American does not warrant that all potential hazards or conditions have been evaluated or can be controlled. It is not intended as an offer to write insurance for such conditions or exposures. The liability of Great American and its affiliated insurers is limited to the terms, limits and conditions of the insurance policies underwriter by it. The Great American Insurance Group stylized eagle logo is a registered service mark of Great American Insurance Company.