The actions taken in the initial minutes of an emergency are critical. A prompt warning to employees to evacuate, shelter or lockdown can save lives. A call for help to public emergency services that provides full and accurate information will help the dispatcher send the right responders and equipment. An employee trained to administer first aid or perform CPR can be lifesaving. Action by employees with knowledge of building and process systems can help control a leak and minimize damage to the facility and the environment.
An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document for the purpose of facilitating and organizing employer and employee actions through pre-determined guidelines during workplace emergencies. The reason for having an emergency plan is simple -- to save lives and protect property.
The first step when developing an emergency action plan is to conduct an 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. This emergency plan should be consistent with your organization's performance objectives.
Every facility should develop and implement an emergency action plan for protecting their employees, visitors, contractors and anyone else in the facility. This part of the emergency plan is called “protective actions for life safety” and includes building evacuation (“active shooter drills" or "fire drills”), sheltering from severe weather such as tornadoes, “shelter-in-place” from an exterior airborne hazard such as a chemical release and lockdown. Lockdown is protective action when faced with an act of violence.
When an emergency occurs, the first priority is always life safety. The second priority is the stabilization of the incident. There are many actions that can be taken to stabilize an incident and minimize potential damage. First aid and CPR by trained employees can save lives. Use of fire extinguishers by trained employees can extinguish a small fire. Containment of a small chemical spill and supervision of building utilities and systems can minimize damage to a building and help prevent environmental damage.
Some severe weather events can be forecast hours before they arrive, providing valuable time to protect a facility. A plan should be established and resources should be on hand, or quickly, available to prepare a facility. The plan should also include a process for damage assessment, salvage, protection of undamaged property and cleanup following an incident. These actions to minimize further damage and business disruption are examples of property conservation.
The aim of emergency planning is to reduce the risk to, and potential impact from, emergencies and disasters. It is far easier to prepare for an emergency situation before an incident occurs than during the confusion that normally accompanies disastrous events. An EAP addresses significant emergency incidents including Natural, Technological, and Personal Safety crises, which could severely disrupt the day-to-day operations of your facility. This plan will help to ensure the safety and well being of employees and visitors who utilize these facilities.
Well developed emergency action plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies. A poorly prepared plan, likely will lead to a disorganized evacuation or emergency response, resulting in confusion, injury, and property damage. The commitment and support of all employees is critical to the plan's success in the event of an emergency.
Emergency action plans contain, but are not limited to, the following information:Emergency Action ResponsibilitiesEmergency Contact/Notification InformationReporting Fire and Emergency SituationsEvacuation Routes/ProceduresSecuring Property and EquipmentAdvanced Medical CareAccounting for Employees/Visitors after EvacuationBuilding Re-entrySheltering in PlaceWorkplace ViolenceActive Shooter ResponseSevere WeatherHazardous MaterialsPower OutagesBomb ThreatsSuspicious PackagesBiological HazardsLost Persons/Child Abductions
Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in the preparation of an Emergency Action Plan designed specifically for your facility or organization.