Emergeny Response Plan
Is Your Emergency Response Plan a Living System or Just Gathering Dust?

All too often, health and safety professionals find their company’s emergency response plans are outdated or incomplete due to lack of time or staff turnover. Or perhaps they may be unsure about which best practices to incorporate into the plan to create a culture of safety within their organizations. The good news is that there are many resources available to help create an effective emergency plan. Here are some tips, best practices, and training suggestions to ensure that you, your staff, and your company are well prepared to face an emergency or disaster situation.

Regardless of whether you have an existing plan or are creating a new one, there are key components every plan must contain (as required by OSHA). These include on-site training of your emergency response team, orientation for the general workforce about the specifics of each facility's plan, and the implementation of an emergency-specific alert system to notify employees when an emergency arises.

If your organization doesn't yet have a plan in place, templates are available online. Although these generic templates can be a good starting place, many organizations find it more helpful to confer with specialists in order to create a practical plan that is customized for their organizational needs, resources and logistics.

Strategy Matters! Moving Beyond the Nuts and Bolts

As with creating or updating any program, the first step is to establish goals. First and foremost, the primary goal of an emergency response plan is to protect the health and safety of employees and minimize property damage. After establishing goals, brainstorm to identify the risks facing your organizations—for example, fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, bombs, and shootings. Be thorough, because omitting a risk can leave your organization unprepared and vulnerable, should that eventuality occur.

Next is the important process of assessing and evaluating the anticipated actions, personnel, processes, and equipment your organization needs to successfully respond to an emergency. Consider the:

  • Sequence of anticipated actions in an emergency
  • Personnel available to perform the anticipated actions
  • Training required to enable successful performance
  • Equipment and supplies required to perform anticipated actions
  • Communications needed to convey/alert response team
  • Reporting requirements

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