The value of a well-organized emergency response plan in conserving life and property is generally recognized throughout industry. Historically, those businesses with an emergency response plan are more likely to survive a business interruption, such as that resulting from a fire or a natural event, like a hurricane or wildfire. When the emergency comes, proper action can make the difference between a minor incident and a major catastrophe.
An effective emergency plan needs the sustained interest and guidance of management. It is beneficial to ensure that responsibilities are clearly defined, that good communication is maintained, that rosters are kept up-to-date, and that all members periodically receive proper training. An emergency response plan should be periodically reviewed and updated as applicable.
The plan should address the major perils of fire, explosion, flood, the winter hazards of freezing and roof collapse, windstorm and earthquake. The emergency response plan team should begin by conducting a site-specific analysis of the potential hazards to their facility. The local authorities having jurisdiction should be included in the preparation of the emergency response plan. Specific training may be generated based on the site-specific hazard and who is most qualified to respond.
Creating the plan
- Prompt and effective communication to the appropriate personnel and authorities is critical. A contact list should be created and reviewed periodically for updates and should include all telephone numbers (both land lines and mobile), and email. The contact list should include the applicable local authorities. Only trained and qualified personnel should respond to the event.
- Periodic meetings and training should be conducted, particularly when new staff are part of the emergency plan.
- When an emergency plan includes the need for emergency equipment (such as pumps for water removal) the purchase should be preapproved.
- Emergency plans for locations with tenants should include both the owner and all tenants in emergency planning.
- Formal evacuation plans should be practiced with designated team leaders and gathering areas assigned for accountability.
- Evacuation procedures should include review of alarms and public address systems.
- Locations with special hazards such as flammable liquids or processes, should have a site-specific plan that includes local authorities.
- The chain of command on the plan should include backup personnel that are also trained to implement the plan.
When a disaster occurs
- Emergency procedures should include monitoring the weather to initiate preparation steps if a weather event is predicted.
- Designated facility personnel should be prepared to respond to an emergency to monitor electrical, ventilation, or other applicable utilities as warranted for safety purposes. For instance, facility personnel may be required to see that automatic sprinkler control valves are functional and fire pumps operating properly after a freeze event.
- Computer servers should be backed up and off-site designated locations assigned.
- A salvage team should be created to clean equipment and stock after an event. If the event has involved water from floods, sprinklers, or other events, water should be removed and a drying out process conducted. Priority should be given to the major production equipment or process.
- Security is an important component after an event or in preparation for potential civil unrest.
- Local authorities should be contacted for support as it pertains to threats and appropriate emergency procedures.
- Maintenance personnel should have a prearranged plan for all events. For instance, when preparing for a hurricane, preparations may include securing of the windows, roof coverings, and provision of backup power for lighting.
- Weather emergencies may require knowledgeable personnel capable of shutting off gas supplies or securing outside tanks.
- In the event a flood is expected, critical machinery may be moved to a higher elevation or floor. Perimeter openings should be provided with watertight doors or sandbags.
Preparation is the key. Management should confer with local authorities as well as their Hanover Risk Solutions Consultant. Contact your professional agent for more information regarding your insurance coverage.
This material is provided for informational purposes only and does not provide any coverage or guarantee loss prevention. The examples in this material are provided as hypothetical and for illustration purposes only. The Hanover Insurance Company and its affiliates and subsidiaries (“The Hanover”) specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that acceptance of any recommendations contained herein will make any premises, or operation safe or in compliance with any law or regulation. By providing this information to you. The Hanover does not assume (and specifically disclaims) any duty, undertaking or responsibility to you. The decision to accept or implement any recommendation(s) or advice contained in this material must be made by you.