Emergency Planning and Management

Emergency response planning (ERP)

Emergency Response Planning by definition is to have a structure program to deal with emergency which may have grave impact on life safety and property for business continuity.

The first step when developing an emergency response plan is to conduct a risk 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. The emergency plan should be consistent with your performance objectives.

At the very least, every facility should develop and implement an emergency plan for protecting 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 (fire drills), sheltering from severe weather such as tornados/typhons, earthquakes, “shelter-in-place” from an exterior hazard such as a chemical release or explosion as in oil or gas refineries.

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.

All ERP must be drill to fine tune for maximum efficiency and update with time to cater for any changes in the building or organization structures.

Emergency response management (ERM)

Emergency management is the organization and management of the resources and responsibilities for dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergency (preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery). The aim is to reduce the harmful effects of all hazards, including disasters.

WHO (World Health Organization) defines an emergency as the state in which normal procedures are interrupted, and immediate measures need to be taken to prevent that state turning into a disaster. Thus, emergency management is crucial to avoid the disruption transforming into a disaster, which is even harder to recover from. Emergency management is a related term but should not be equated to disaster management.

Emergency Response Team (ERT)

Emergency response team are inhouse firefighting team trained with resources to handle the outset of an emergency which may turn into a potential disaster. They can be fully employed staff (normally as security personnel) or they can be selected for employees. They should be trained in firefighting skills and crowd handling capability. For highrise, super highrise buildings and mega size shopping complexes, ERT is essential for initial fire investigation and firefighting process before the arrival of fire bridge. They should also aid in mass evacuation should the need arise. They can be a useful resource for firefighters since they are familiar with the building layout, all fire protection systems and their locations.

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