IS YOUR FACILITY READY? Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. The first step when developing an emergency response plan is to conduct a risk assessment to identify potential emergency scenarios. An understanding of what can happen will enable you to determine resource requirements and to develop plans and procedures to prepare your business. Your emergency plan should be consistent with your performance objectives. Some severe weather events can be forecast hours or days before they happen, providing valuable time to protect a facility. A plan should be established and resources should be on hand to quickly prepare. Your plan should also include a process for damage assessment, salvage, protection of undamaged property and cleanup following an incident to minimize further damage and business disruption.
What You Should know
- Know what to do before, during, and after a disaster.
- Identify your risks. Know what disasters are most likely to affect your business.
- Develop a workplace emergency plan and be sure employees know it.
- Create a crisis communications plan to keep in contact with customers, suppliers and employees during and after a disaster.
- Test and practice your preparedness plans.
- Have emergency supplies available at the workplace.
- Check your insurance policies to ensure you have enough coverage.
- Listen to local officials.
Know your Risk
Understand the type of hazardous weather that affects you and your business: Floods, Thunderstorms & Lightning, Damaging Winds and Tornadoes are some examples of severe weather that can wreak havoc on your facility. Identify the potential for flooding and plan to relocate goods, materials and equipment to a higher floor or higher ground. Clear storm drains and check sump and portable pumps. Raise stock and machinery off the floor. Prepare a plan to use sandbags to prevent water entry from doors and secure floor drains. Inspect roof coverings, gutter installation, and flashing, backup electronic data and vital records off-site. If you find something wrong with your roofing and need a roof replacement, contact roofing services or roofing contractors near you.
Take Action: Be informed about emergency alerts
Warning, Notifications, and Communications Plans should define the most appropriate protective action for each hazard to ensure the safety of employees and others within the building. Determine how you will warn building occupants to take protective action. Develop protocols and procedures to alert first responders including public emergency services, trained employees and management. Identify how you will communicate with management and employees during and following an emergency.
Roles and Responsibilities for Building Owners and Facility Managers
Assign personnel the responsibility of controlling access to the emergency scene and for keeping people away from unsafe areas. Others should be familiar with the locations and functions of controls for building utility, life safety and protection systems. These systems include ventilation, electrical, water and sanitary systems; emergency power supplies; detection, alarm, communication and warning systems; fire suppression systems; pollution control and containment systems; and security and surveillance systems. Personnel should be assigned to operate or supervise these systems as directed by public emergency services if they are on-site.
Site and Facility Plans and Information
Public emergency services have limited knowledge about your facility and its hazards. Therefore, it is important to document information about your facility. That information is vital to ensure emergency responders can safely stabilize an incident that may occur. Documentation of building systems may also prove valuable when a utility system fails—such as when a water pipe breaks and no one knows how to shut off the water. Compile a site-plan and plans for each floor of each building. Plans should show the layout of access roads, parking areas, buildings on the property, building entrances, the locations of emergency equipment and the locations of controls for building utility and protection systems. Instructions for operating all systems and equipment should be accessible to emergency responders. Provide a copy of the plan to the public emergency services that would respond to your facility and others with responsibility for building management and security. Store the plan with other emergency planning information such as chemical Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), which are required by Hazard Communication or “right to know” regulations.
Training and Exercises
Train personnel so they are familiar with detection, alarm, communications, warning and protection systems. Review plans with staff to ensure they are familiar with their role and can carry out assigned responsibilities. Practice the plan, familiarize personnel with the plan and identify any gaps or deficiencies in the plan.
10 Steps for an Emergency Response Plan
- Review performance objectives.
- Review hazard or threat scenarios identified during the risk assessment.
- Assess the availability and capabilities of resources for incident stabilization including people, systems and equipment available within your business and from external sources.
- Talk with public emergency services (e.g., fire, police and emergency medical services) to determine their response time to your facility, knowledge of your facility and its hazards and their capabilities to stabilize an emergency at your facility.
- Determine if there are any regulations pertaining to emergency planning at your facility; address applicable regulations in the plan.
- Develop protective actions for life safety (evacuation, shelter, shelter-in-place, lockdown).
- Develop hazard and threat-specific emergency procedures using guidance from the resource links on this page.
- Coordinate emergency planning with public emergency services to stabilize incidents involving the hazards at your facility.
- Train personnel so they can fulfill their roles and responsibilities.
- Facilitate exercises to practice your plan.