Be Prepared for Pitfalls
Despite all of your preparation, when an emergency actually happens, many things can prevent your organization from successfully executing the emergency response plan. Here are a few incidents that have occurred at companies during an actual emergency:
- The assigned incident commander was at a conference and several floor wardens were on vacation.
- Due to staff turnover, fewer trained people were available than anticipated.
- Insufficient practice drills resulted in employees being unable or unwilling to perform their assigned tasks.
- No one knew where to find the Emergency Response Plan. ("I think it's in a drawer somewhere….")
- Faced with fear and chaos, the emergency response team admitted they did not fully understand the emergency response plan.
- The emergency response training emphasized skills, not response and the emotional components that go along with it, so no one was willing to "spring into action."
- The emergency response team was trained in CPR, AED, and first aid but had not received training about how to direct a workforce evacuation or assist disabled personnel.
Ultimately, you should think of your emergency response plan as a living document—one that adapts to the ongoing needs of your organization and your environment. With frequent updates, thoughtful planning, and regular staff training and drills, your plan will help protect your workforce in an emergency by preparing them to effectively respond when the time comes.