Emergency Response Planning Tasks

There are numerous risks a company can face that will require an Emergency Response Plan. Rather than creating a separate plan for every type of event that could occur, it is advisable to create a basic emergency response checklist that can be used regardless of the emergency. A response plan can cover a variety of emergencies. Emergencies that require similar actions can be grouped together so you can limit the number of emergency responses that need to be developed. The following is a basic set of emergency tasks:

Protect Personnel

Contain Incident

Implement Command and Control (Emergency Response Team, Crisis Management Team step in)

Your emergency response team should have defined roles and responsibilities for team members. Each person should clearly know the bounds of their authority and to whom they should turn to help for escalation of issues.

Emergency response team (ERT) members should receive training on all aspects of the job they’ll be expected to perform in an emergency. Training is critical to ensure team members’ safety and effectiveness in an emergency. For example, if team members are expected to fight small fires by using fire extinguishers, they should be trained not only on how to use a fire extinguisher but on how to fight fires as well. This includes safety procedures as well as methods for fighting different types of fires.

Emergency response training may include:

  • Relocation and evacuation safety and techniques
  • Firefighting equipment, safety, and techniques
  • Search and rescue safety and techniques
  • Hazardous material handling
  • Chemical spills or leaks
  • CPR, first aid and emergency medical skills
  • Water safety and rescue
  • Cold weather survival
  • Emergency shut off/shutdown procedures
  • Damage assessment and control

Obviously, the type of training required depends largely on your company, the nature of its business, and the geographical location. It is important to identify the types of emergency response team training that would be helpful for your staff. Use them to develop training plans to ensure training occurs periodically.  And remember, skills should be tested, rehearsed, and refreshed from time to time.

Read more about emergency response teams, and what characteristics your crisis management team should have in our Crisis Management Team Characteristics blog.

Emergency response and triage (medical, evacuation, search, and rescue, etc)

Create an Emergency Operations Center

An Emergency Operations Center (EOC), sometimes called a “war room” is a physical place where all communications of the recovery effort are focused. It is the known place where all interested parties can report on the status of a recovery. It provides communication to stakeholders such as executives, general public, suppliers, and customers that are most likely external to the recovery process. It also provides administrative support to the recovery effort, such as public relations, safety, purchasing, and site security. Because there is not usually time or availability to announce where the Emergency Operations Center will be after disaster strikes, it is crucial for it to be “a known place” ahead of time. It should be a logical place where people would turn for information and/or assistance. A few options include the facilities security office, if available, or the data center’s help desk. The Emergency Operations Center has three essential functions:

  1. Command & Control – This is where you will find the person in charge of the containment and recovery efforts. They will set objectives and priorities and have overall responsibility at the incident.
  2. Operational Control – An hour-by-hour control should be exercised from here by various functional areas including security, HR, purchasing, communications, logistics, etc.
  3. Recovery Planning – (separate from emergency containment) will begin at the EOC but quickly transfer to its own office.

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Michael Herrera
Michael Herrera is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MHA. In his role, Michael provides global leadership to the entire set of industry practices and horizontal capabilities within MHA. Under his leadership, MHA has become a leading provider of Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery services to organizations on a global level. He is also the founder of BCMMETRICS, a leading cloud based tool designed to assess business continuity compliance and residual risk. Michael is a well-known and sought after speaker on Business Continuity issues at local and national contingency planner chapter meetings and conferences. Prior to founding MHA, he was a Regional VP for Bank of America, where he was responsible for Business Continuity across the southwest region.