Emergency Management Planning
4 STEPS IN THE
- Step 1 -- Establish a Planning Team
- Step 2 -- Analyze Capabilities and Hazards
- Step 3 -- Develop the Plan
- Step 4 -- Implement the Plan
STEP 1 -- ESTABLISH A PLANNING TEAM.
There must be an individual or group in charge of
developing the emergency management plan. The following is
guidance for making the appointment.
- Form the Team - the size of the planning team will
depend on the facility's operations, requirements and
resources. Usually involving a group of people is best
- a. It encourages participation and gets more people
invested in the process.
- b. It increases the amount of time and energy
participants are able to give.
- c. It enhances the visibility and stature of the
- d. It provides for a broad perspective on the issues.
- Determine who can be an active member and who can serve
in an advisory capacity. In most cases, one or two people
will be doing the bulk of the work. At the very least, you
should obtain input from all functional areas:
- a. Upper management
- b. Line management
- c. Labor
- d. Human Resources
- e. Engineering and maintenance
- f. Safety, health and environmental affairs
- g. Public information officer
- h. Security
- i. Community relations
- j. Sales and marketing
- k. Legal
- l. Finance and purchasing
Have participants appointed in writing by upper
management. Their job descriptions could also reflect this
Establish Authority - demonstrate management's
commitment and promote an atmosphere of cooperation by
"authorizing" the planning group to take the steps
necessary to develop a plan. The group should be led by the
chief executive or the plant manager. Establish a clear line
of authority between group members and the group leader,
though not so rigid as to prevent the free flow of ideas.
Issue a Mission Statement - have the chief executive or
plant manager issue a mission statement to demonstrate the
company's commitment to emergency management. The statement
- Define the purpose of the plan and indicate that it will
involve the entire organization
- Define the authority and structure of the planning group
Establish a Schedule and Budget - establish a work
schedule and planning deadlines. Timelines can be modified
as priorities become more clearly defined.
Develop an initial budget for such things as research,
printing, seminars, consulting services and other expenses
that may be necessary during the development process.
STEP 2 -- ANALYZE CAPABILITIES AND
HAZARDS. This step entails gathering information
about current capabilities and about possible hazards and
emergencies, and then conducting a vulnerability analysis to
determine the facility's capabilities for handling
- WHERE DO YOU STAND RIGHT NOW?
- Review Internal Plans and Policies
Documents to look for include:
- a. Evacuation plan
- b. Fire protection plan
- c. Safety and health program
- d. Environmental policies
- e. Security procedures
- f. Insurance programs
- g. Finance and purchasing procedures
- h. Plant closing policy
- i. Employee manuals
- j. Hazardous materials plan
- k. Process safety assessment
- l. Risk management plan
- m. Capital improvement program
- n. Mutual aid agreements
Meet with Outside Groups
Meet with government agencies, community organizations
and utilities. Ask about potential emergencies and about
plans and available resources for responding to them.
Sources of information include:
- a. Community emergency management office
- b. Mayor or Community Administrator's office
- c. Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
- d. Fire Department
- e. Police Department
- f. Emergency Medical Services organizations
- g. American Red Cross
- h. National Weather Service
- i. Public Works Department
- j. Planning Commission
- k. Telephone companies
- l. Electric utilities
- m. Neighboring businesses
While researching potential emergencies, one facility
discovered that a dam -- 50 miles away -- posed a threat to
its community. The facility was able to plan accordingly.
Identify Codes and Regulations
Identify applicable Federal, State and local regulations
- a. Occupational safety and health regulations
- b. Environmental regulations
- c. Fire codes
- d. Seismic safety codes
- e. Transportation regulations
- f. Zoning regulations
- g. Corporate policies
Identify Critical Products, Services and Operations
You'll need this information to assess the impact of
potential emergencies and to determine the need for backup
systems. Areas to review include:
- a. Company products and services and the facilities and
equipment needed to produce them
- b. Products and services provided by suppliers,
especially sole source vendors
- c. Lifeline services such as electrical power, water,
sewer, gas, telecommunications and transportation
- d. Operations, equipment and personnel vital to the
continued functioning of the facility
Identify Internal Resources and Capabilities
Resources and capabilities that could be needed in an
- a. Personnel -- fire brigade, hazardous materials
response team, emergency medical services, security,
emergency management group, evacuation team, public
- b. Equipment -- fire protection and suppression
equipment, communications equipment, first aid supplies,
emergency supplies, warning systems, emergency power
equipment, decontamination equipment
- c. Facilities -- emergency operating center, media
briefing area, shelter areas, first-aid stations, sanitation
- d. Organizational capabilities -- training, evacuation
plan, employee support system
- e. Backup systems -- arrangements with other facilities
to provide for:
(4) Customer services
(5) Shipping and receiving
(6) Information systems support
(7) Emergency power
(8) Recovery support
One way to increase response capabilities is to identify
employee skills (medical, engineering, communications,
foreign language) that might be needed in an emergency.
Do an Insurance Review
Meet with insurance carriers to review all policies. (See
Section 2: Recovery and Restoration.)
Conduct a vulnerability analysis
The next step is to assess the vulnerability of your
facility -- the probability and potential impact of each
emergency. Use the Vulnerability Analysis Chart in the
appendix section to guide the process, which entails
assigning probabilities, estimating impact and assessing
resources, using a numerical system. The lower the score the
List Potential Emergencies
In the first column of the chart, list all emergencies
that could affect your facility, including those identified
by your local emergency management office. Consider both:
- a. Emergencies that could occur within your facility
- b. Emergencies that could occur in your community
Below are some other factors to consider:
- Historical -- What types of emergencies have occurred in
the community, at this facility and at other facilities in
- a. Fires
- b. Severe weather
- c. Hazardous material spills
- d. Transportation accidents
- e. Earthquakes
- f. Hurricanes
- g. Tornadoes
- h. Terrorism
- i. Utility outages
Geographic -- What can happen as a result of the
facility's location? Keep in mind:
a. Proximity to flood plains, seismic faults and dams
b. Proximity to companies that produce, store, use or
transport hazardous materials
c. Proximity to major transportation routes and airports
d. Proximity to nuclear power plants
Technological -- What could result from a process or
system failure? Possibilities include:
a. Fire, explosion, hazardous materials incident
b. Safety system failure
c. Telecommunications failure
e. Computer system failure
f. Power failure
g. Heating/cooling system failure
h. Emergency notification system failure
Human Error -- What emergencies can be caused by
employee error? Are employees trained to work safely? Do
they know what to do in an emergency? Human error is the
single largest cause of workplace emergencies and can result
a. Poor training
b. Poor maintenance
e. Substance abuse
Physical -- What types of emergencies could result from
the design or construction of the facility? Does the
physical facility enhance safety? Consider:
a. The physical construction of the facility
b. Hazardous processes or byproducts
c. Facilities for storing combustibles
d. Layout of equipment
f. Evacuation routes and exits
g. Proximity of shelter areas
Regulatory -- What emergencies or hazards are you
regulated to deal with?
Analyze each potential emergency from beginning to end.
Consider what could happen as a result of:
a. Prohibited access to the facility
b. Loss of electric power
c. Communication lines down
e. Ruptured gas mains
f. Water damage
g. Smoke damage
h. Structural damage
i. Air or water contamination
k. Building collapse
l. Trapped persons
m. Chemical release
In the Probability column, rate the likelihood of each
emergency's occurrence. This is a subjective consideration,
but useful nonetheless.
Use a simple scale of 1 to 5 with 1 as the lowest
probability and 5 as the highest.
Assess the Potential Human Impact
Analyze the potential human impact of each emergency --
the possibility of death or injury.
Assign a rating in the Human Impact column of the
Vulnerability Analysis Chart. Use a 1 to 5 scale with 1 as
the lowest impact and 5 as the highest.
Assess the Potential Property Impact
Consider the potential property for losses and damages.
Again, assign a rating in the Property Impact column, 1
being the lowest impact and 5 being the highest. Consider:
- a. Cost to replace
- b. Cost to set up temporary replacement
- c. Cost to repair
A bank's vulnerability analysis concluded that a
"small" fire could be as catastrophic to the
business as a computer system failure. The planning group
discovered that bank employees did not know how to use fire
extinguishers, and that the bank lacked any kind of
evacuation or emergency response system.
Assess the Potential Business Impact
Consider the potential loss of market share. Assign a
rating in the Business Impact column. Again, 1 is the lowest
impact and 5 is the highest. Assess the impact of:
- a. Business interruption
- b. Employees unable to report to work
- c. Customers unable to reach facility
- d. Company in violation of contractual agreements
- e. Imposition of fines and penalties or legal costs
- f. Interruption of critical supplies
- g. Interruption of product distribution
Assess Internal and External Resources
Next assess your resources and ability to respond. Assign
a score to your Internal Resources and External Resources.
The lower the score the better.
To help you do this, consider each potential emergency from
beginning to end and each resource that would be needed to
respond. For each emergency ask these questions:
- Do we have the needed resources and capabilities to
Will external resources be able to respond to us for
this emergency as quickly as we may need them, or will they
have other priority areas to serve?
If the answers are yes, move on to the next assessment.
If the answers are no, identify what can be done to correct
the problem. For example, you may need to:
a. Develop additional emergency procedures
b. Conduct additional training
c. Acquire additional equipment
d. Establish mutual aid agreements
e. Establish agreements with specialized contractors
Add the Columns
Total the scores for each emergency. The lower the score
the better. While this is a subjective rating, the
comparisons will help determine planning and resource
priorities -- the subject of the pages to follow.
When assessing resources, remember that community emergency
workers -- police, paramedics, firefighters -- will focus
their response where the need is greatest. Or they may be
victims themselves and be unable to respond immediately.
That means response to your facility may be delayed.
STEP 3 -- DEVELOP THE PLAN
You are now ready to develop an emergency management
plan. This section describes how.
Your plan should include the following basic components.
- Executive Summary
The executive summary gives management a brief overview
of: the purpose of the plan; the facility's emergency
management policy; authorities and responsibilities of key
personnel; the types of emergencies that could occur; and
where response operations will be managed.
Emergency Management Elements
This section of the plan briefly describes the facility's
approach to the core elements of emergency management, which
- a. Direction and control
- b. Communications
- c. Life safety
- d. Property protection
- e. Community outreach
- f. Recovery and restoration
- g. Administration and logistics.
These elements, which are described in detail in Section
2, are the foundation for the emergency procedures that your
facility will follow to protect personnel and equipment and
Emergency Response Procedures
The procedures spell out how the facility will respond to
emergencies. Whenever possible, develop them as a series of
checklists that can be quickly accessed by senior
management, department heads, response personnel and
Determine what actions would be necessary to:
- a. Assess the situation
- b. Protect employees, customers, visitors, equipment,
vital records and other assets, particularly during the
first three days
- c. Get the business back up and running.
Specific procedures might be needed for any number of
situations such as bomb threats or tornadoes, and for such
- a. Warning employees and customers
- b. Communicating with personnel and community responders
- c. Conducting an evacuation and accounting for all
persons in the facility
- d. Managing response activities
- e. Activating and operating an emergency operations
- f. Fighting fires
- g. Shutting down operations
- h. Protecting vital records
- i. Restoring operations
Documents that could be needed in an emergency include:
- Emergency call lists -- lists (wallet size if possible)
of all persons on and off site who would be involved in
responding to an emergency, their responsibilities and their
24-hour telephone numbers
Building and site maps that indicate:
- a. Utility shutoffs
- b. Water hydrants
- c. Water main valves
- d. Water lines
- e. Gas main valves
- f. Gas lines
- g. Electrical cutoffs
- h. Electrical substations
- i. Storm drains
- j. Sewer lines
- k. Location of each building (include name of building,
street name and number)
- l. Floor plans
- m. Alarm and enunciators
- n. Fire extinguishers
- o. Fire suppression systems
- p. Exits
- q. Stairways
- r. Designated escape routes
- s. Restricted areas
- t. Hazardous materials (including cleaning supplies and
- u. High-value items
Resource lists -- lists of major resources (equipment,
supplies, services) that could be needed in an emergency;
mutual aid agreements with other companies and government
In an emergency, all personnel should know: 1. What is my
role? 2. Where should I go?
Some facilities are required to develop:
- Emergency escape procedures and routes
- Procedures for employees who perform or shut down
critical operations before an evacuation
- Procedures to account for all employees, visitors and
contractors after an evacuation is completed
- Rescue and medical duties for assigned employees
- Procedures for reporting emergencies
- Names of persons or departments to be contacted for
information regarding the plan
THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
The following is guidance for developing the plan.
- Identify Challenges and Prioritize Activities
Determine specific goals and milestones. Make a list of
tasks to be performed, by whom and when. Determine how you
will address the problem areas and resource shortfalls that
were identified in the vulnerability analysis.
Write the Plan
Assign each member of the planning group a section to
write. Determine the most appropriate format for each
Establish an aggressive timeline with specific goals.
Provide enough time for completion of work, but not so much
as to allow assignments to linger. Establish a schedule for:
- a. First draft
- b. Review
- c. Second draft
- d. Tabletop exercise
- e. Final draft
- f. Printing
- g. Distribution
Establish a Training Schedule
Have one person or department responsible for developing
a training schedule for your facility. For specific ideas
about training, refer to Step 4.
Coordinate with Outside Organizations
Meet periodically with local government agencies and
community organizations. Inform appropriate government
agencies that you are creating an emergency management plan.
While their official approval may not be required, they will
likely have valuable insights and information to offer.
Determine State and local requirements for reporting
emergencies, and incorporate them into your procedures.
Determine protocols for turning control of a response
over to outside agencies. Some details that may need to be
worked out are:
- a. Which gate or entrance will responding units use?
- b. Where and to whom will they report?
- c. How will they be identified?
- d. How will facility personnel communicate with outside
- e. Who will be in charge of response activities?
Determine what kind of identification authorities will
require to allow your key personnel into your facility
during an emergency.
Determine the needs of disabled persons and
non-English-speaking personnel. For example, a blind
employee could be assigned a partner in case an evacuation
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a
disabled person as anyone who has a physical or mental
impairment that substantially limits one or more major life
activities, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing,
performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself or
Your emergency planning priorities may be influenced by
government regulation. To remain in compliance you may be
required to address specific emergency management functions
that might otherwise be a lower priority activity for that
Maintain Contact with Other Corporate Offices
Communicate with other offices and divisions in your
company to learn:
- a. Their emergency notification requirements
- b. The conditions where mutual assistance would be
- c. How offices will support each other in an emergency
- d. Names, telephone numbers and pager numbers of key
Incorporate this information into your procedures.
Review, Conduct Training and Revise
Distribute the first draft to group members for review.
Revise as needed.
For a second review, conduct a tabletop exercise with
management and personnel who have a key emergency management
responsibility. In a conference room setting, describe an
emergency scenario and have participants discuss their
responsibilities and how they would react to the situation.
Based on this discussion, identify areas of confusion and
overlap, and modify the plan accordingly.
Seek Final Approval
Arrange a briefing for the chief executive officer and
senior management and obtain written approval.
Distribute the Plan
Place the final plan in three-ring binders and number all
copies and pages. Each individual who receives a copy should
be required to sign for it and be responsible for posting
Determine which sections of the plan would be appropriate to
show to government agencies (some sections may refer to
corporate secrets or include private listings of names,
telephone numbers or radio frequencies). Distribute the
final plan to:
- a. Chief executive and senior managers
- b. Key members of the company's emergency response
- c. Company headquarters
- d. Community emergency response agencies (appropriate
Have key personnel keep a copy of the plan in their
homes. Inform employees about the plan and training
Consolidate emergency plans for better coordination.
Stand-alone plans, such as a Spill Prevention Control and
Countermeasures (SPCC) plan, fire protection plan or safety
and health plan, should be incorporated into one
STEP 4 -- IMPLEMENT THE PLAN.
Implementation means more than simply exercising the plan
during an emergency. It means acting on recommendations made
during the vulnerability analysis, integrating the plan into
company operations, training employees and evaluating the
INTEGRATE THE PLAN INTO COMPANY OPERATIONS
Emergency planning must become part of the corporate
Look for opportunities to build awareness; to educate and
train personnel; to test procedures; to involve all levels
of management, all departments and the community in the
planning process; and to make emergency management part of
what personnel do on a day-to-day basis.
Test How Completely The Plan Has Been Integrated By
- a. How well does senior management support the
responsibilities outlined in the plan?
- b. Have emergency planning concepts been fully
incorporated into the facility's accounting, personnel and
- c. How can the facility's processes for evaluating
employees and defining job classifications better address
emergency management responsibilities?
- d. Are there opportunities for distributing emergency
preparedness information through corporate newsletters,
employee manuals or employee mailings?
- e. What kinds of safety posters or other visible
reminders would be helpful?
- f. Do personnel know what they should do in an
- g. How can all levels of the organization be involved in
evaluating and updating the plan?
CONDUCT TRAINING, DRILLS AND EXERCISES
Everyone who works at or visits the facility requires
some form of training. This could include periodic employee
discussion sessions to review procedures, technical training
in equipment use for emergency responders, evacuation drills
and full-scale exercises. Below are basic considerations for
developing a training plan.
- Planning Considerations
Assign responsibility for developing a training plan.
Consider the training and information needs for employees,
contractors, visitors, managers and those with an emergency
response role identified in the plan.
Determine for a 12 month period:
- a. Who will be trained?
- b. Who will do the training?
- c. What training activities will be used?
- d. When and where each session will take place?
- e. How the session will be evaluated and documented?
Use the Training Drills and Exercises Chart in the
appendix section to schedule training activities or create
one of your own.
Consider how to involve community responders in training
Conduct reviews after each training activity. Involve both
personnel and community responders in the evaluation
Training can take many forms:
- a. Orientation and Education Sessions -- These are
regularly scheduled discussion sessions to provide
information, answer questions and identify needs and
b. Tabletop Exercise -- Members of the emergency
management group meet in a conference room setting to
discuss their responsibilities and how they would react to
emergency scenarios. This is a cost-effective and efficient
way to identify areas of overlap and confusion before
conducting more demanding training activities.
c. Walk-through Drill -- The emergency management group
and response teams actually perform their emergency response
functions. This activity generally involves more people and
is more thorough than a tabletop exercise.
d. Functional Drills -- These drills test specific
functions such as medical response, emergency notifications,
warning and communications procedures and equipment, though
not necessarily at the same time. Personnel are asked to
evaluate the systems and identify problem areas.
e. Evacuation Drill -- Personnel walk the evacuation
route to a designated area where procedures for accounting
for all personnel are tested. Participants are asked to make
notes as they go along of what might become a hazard during
an emergency, e.g., stairways cluttered with debris, smoke
in the hallways. Plans are modified accordingly.
f. Full-scale Exercise -- A real-life emergency
situation is simulated as closely as possible. This exercise
involves company emergency response personnel, employees,
management and community response organizations.
General training for all employees should address:
- a. Individual roles and responsibilities
- b. Information about threats, hazards and protective
- c. Notification, warning and communications procedures
- d. Means for locating family members in an emergency
- e. Emergency response procedures
- f. Evacuation, shelter and accountability procedures
- g. Location and use of common emergency equipment
- h. Emergency shutdown procedures
The scenarios developed during the vulnerability analysis
can serve as the basis for training events.
Evaluate and Modify the Plan
OSHA training requirements are a minimum standard for many
facilities that have a fire brigade, hazardous materials
team, rescue team or emergency medical response team.
Conduct a formal audit of the entire plan at least once a
year. Among the issues to consider are:
- a. How can you involve all levels of management in
evaluating and updating the plan?
b. Are the problem areas and resource shortfalls
identified in the vulnerability analysis being sufficiently
c. Does the plan reflect lessons learned from drills and
d. Do members of the emergency management group and
emergency response team understand their respective
responsibilities? Have new members been trained?
e. Does the plan reflect changes in the physical layout
of the facility? Does it reflect new facility processes?
f. Are photographs and other records of facility assets
up to date?
g. Is the facility attaining its training objectives?
h. Have the hazards in the facility changed?
i. Are the names, titles and telephone numbers in the
j. Are steps being taken to incorporate emergency
management into other facility processes?
Have community agencies and organizations been briefed on
the plan? Are they involved in evaluating the plan?
In addition to a yearly audit, evaluate and modify the
plan at these times:
- a. After each training drill or exercise
- b. After each emergency
- c. When personnel or their responsibilities change
- d. When the layout or design of the facility changes
- e. When policies or procedures change
- f. Remember to brief personnel on changes to the plan.
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