The actions taken in the initial minutes of an emergency are critical. Prompt action and warnings can save lives, minimize physical damage to structures and property, and allow for better resilience. Every business should develop and implement an emergency plan for protecting employees, contractors and visitors.
Developing an Emergency Plan
Developing an emergency plan begins with an understanding of what can happen. Consider the following actions when reviewing your risk assessment and considering the performance objectives that you established for your program.
- Assess what resources are available for incident stabilization. Consider internal resources and external resources, including public emergency services and contractors.
- Document available resources. Determine whether external resources have the information they would need to handle an emergency. If not, determine what information is required and be sure to document that information in your plan.
- Prepare emergency procedures for foreseeable hazards and threats.
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.
10 Steps for Developing the Emergency Response Plan
- Review performance objectives for the program.
- 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 the Emergency Response Plan for Businesses.
- 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.
Emergency Planning Resources
- Fire Service Features of Buildings and Fire Protection Systems - U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Publication 3256-07N
- Standard on Pre-Incident Planning - National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1620