Creating an emergency preparedness plan is one of the most challenging tasks a manager or executive can take. Yet, it is rarely discussed, trained for, or highlighted until an actual catastrophe arises.
What is an Emergency Plan?
The cornerstone of emergency management is meeting critical demands quickly and effectively, even when some of the necessary resources are unavailable. The first tool is knowledge about the problem, its causes, and potential solutions.
An emergency plan helps bridge the gap between unmet needs and available resources. Resources can include:
- Human resources or personnel: emergency managers and responders
- Equipment: floodlights, tents, water pumps
- Communications: radios, portable telephones, and satellite communications
- Vehicles: fire engines, ambulances, and helicopters
- Supplies: fuel, medicines, medical supplies, food, and blankets
- Premises: command centres, medical centres, fire and ambulance stations, etc.
Thus, the emergency plan serves several purposes.
- Facilitate the efficient and timely allocation of resources
- Distribute responsibilities among rescue workers
- Aid in the process of emergency preparation
- Be the focus of civil defence training programs
- Unite different teams
Every company should have an emergency plan in place. Knowing what your employees can and cannot do during an emergency is essential. You should also designate an emergency contact or point of contact responsible for communications during the crisis. Other preparations include:
- A clear evacuation policy, including a designated place where all staff will meet.
- Designated meeting points.
- An established list of essential safety equipment that must always be on hand.
Contingency plans have always been a feature of most security programs. But the need for them has increased due to many reasons. For one, more organisations are victims of security incidents, whether natural disasters or workplace occurrences cause them.
The nature of the incidents that can affect a business is also evolving. Theft, assault in the workplace, vandalism, and even terrorist acts can happen in every sector of the economy. All these things should motivate and require you to ensure your own company is prepared for emergencies of this type.
We’re here to help you put together a reliable emergency response program ready to go in the event of an emergency.
The goal is to equip you with the methods and tools necessary to respond adequately to various emergencies, even if your executive management lacks formal security training or in-house expertise.
Without this preparedness, your company won’t be able to recover from setbacks that would have a significant impact on its operations.
Here’s a simple, easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to emergency preparedness. One that lays out precisely what you need to consider, what supplies you need, who needs to be notified, rehearsal drills, and improvement actions.
The 5 Steps to Prepare Your Company for an Emergency
1. What emergency situations need to be considered
2. Roles and responsibilities
3. Supplies Required
5. Drills and Rehearsals
Situations to Consider for Emergency Planning
Depending on your organisation, some situations you might consider in your emergency plan are:
- If you have premises – fire, personal threat, bomb threat, flood
- If your business uses dangerous goods – you might consider spills or fire – the SDS will provide you with what needs to be considered
- If your business has vehicles – consider vehicle accidents
- For construction sites, consider trench collapse, access, and egress
- Workplace injuries
Roles and Responsibilities when an emergency occurs
After identifying potential emergencies, you must decide what actions to take and what training is necessary. When used effectively, forming a Crisis Management Team can help with the entire emergency response program’s planning and preparation and the personnel’s reactions during a real emergency.
The establishment of roles and responsibilities amongst the many staff will help to divide the tasks, including the following:
- Identifying risks and vulnerabilities
- Selecting and obtaining the right mitigation measures
- Developing and drafting plans and procedures
- Making what could become a massive job of implementing your organisation’s emergency response program more manageable.
The Crisis Management Team ensures the company is ready for emergencies. It is important to remember that the team may also help with planning and preparation. It makes sense for this group to lay the framework and create the organisational emergency response program. If an incident occurs, they’re the first responders.
Emergency Planning Equipment
There are various items to consider in terms of supplies, including emergency equipment maintenance. Building of a specific size requires a fire indicator panel and an annual fire safety statement. It includes the regular inspection and maintenance of emergency lighting and fire extinguishers, first aid kits and spill kits—the regular inspection of clear access and egress to emergency exits.
Notifications of specific emergency situations
It is essential to follow any regulatory requirements regarding notifications, including Workcover, Department of Environment, and the Client. Some notifications have significant penalties if they are not completed promptly and correctly.
Emergency Drills /Rehearsal
The value of rehearsing a variety of emergency situations is often underestimated. And it does not become evident until the actual drill is completed simulating identified situations. The drill must be documented with actions identified to improve the preparedness for the situation.
Why Does Your Company Need an Emergency Response Plan?
After discussing the many components of an emergency response plan, it’s clear that developing a strategy for your firm might take a lot of time. Because of the time and effort involved, many managers will take a chance that their firm will not face an emergency. Or they will bury their heads in the sand and hope nothing terrible happens.
Another excuse CEOs provide for not creating an emergency response plan is the belief that they will be able to handle any crisis that arises because of their extensive knowledge of the company and its inner workings.
The difficulty with these justifications is that doing nothing might have disastrous results for the business. Failure to react to a crisis in a for-profit corporation with no planned emergency response will likely ruin the company.
Your corporation should prepare for emergencies because of the following:
- Any disruption in business capability will hurt public opinion and cost a lot.
- Any emergency occurrence will cost a company money in lost production, vital workers, or equipment.
- You’ll be more prepared and ready to resume full operations faster, lowering expenses.
- You’ll reap the rewards of people’s overwhelmingly positive impression of the company.
What are the possible factors to consider in an emergency plan?
An organisation’s emergency response planning aspects are the most important. These planning considerations include mitigation steps before an incident, preparation of an organisation’s emergency response plans and procedures, how the firm will respond in an emergency, and how to recover business operations after an incident.
This is a starting point for your organisation’s emergency preparedness. Review your risk register, test your plans and continue to iterate. It’s a process you get better at the more you practice. FocusIMS has developed an emergency plan that covers a range of situations. It’s available and included in the 2-week free trial along with a full suite of policies and procedures to help your organisation meet the requirements for ISO certification.