Emergency Management Guide for Business & Industry

Do you have a Business Continuity Plan?  If a disaster would strike your business would you and your employees know how you would continue operations?  There are several helpful sites on the internet to get you started in making a plan. Many of our insurance carriers also have templates available to assist you in your planning. If you don’t have a plan I would encourage you to make a plan before it is needed.  Please contact us for additional planning tools.

Dave Lucas, CIC

Introduction

A hurricane blasts through South Florida causing more than $25 billion in damages. A fire at a food processing plant results in 25 deaths, a company out of business and a small town devastated. A blizzard shuts down much of the East Coast for days. More than 150 lives are lost and millions of dollars in damages incurred.

Every year emergencies take their toll on business and industry — in lives and dollars. But something can be done. Business and industry can limit injuries and damages and return more quickly to normal operations if they plan ahead.

About This Guide

This guide provides step-by-step advice on how to create and maintain a comprehensive emergency management program. It can be used by manufacturers, corporate offices, retailers, utilities or any organization where a sizable number of people work or gather.

Whether you operate from a high-rise building or an industrial complex; whether you own, rent or lease your property; whether you are a large or small company; the concepts in this guide will apply.

To begin, you need not have in-depth knowledge of emergency management. What you need is the authority to create a plan and a commitment from the chief executive officer to make emergency management part of your corporate culture.

If you already have a plan, use this guide as a resource to assess and update your plan. The guide is organized as follows:

  • Section 1: 4 Steps in the Planning Process — how to form a planning team; how to conduct a vulnerability analysis; how to develop a plan; and how to implement the plan. The information can be applied to virtually any type of business or industry.
  • Section 2: Emergency Management Considerations — how to build such emergency management capabilities as life safety, property protection, communications and community outreach.
  • Section 3: Hazard-Specific Information — technical information about specific hazards your facility may face.
  • Section 4: Information Sources — where to turn for additional information.

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or significant injuries to employees, customers or the public; or that can shut down your business, disrupt operations, cause physical or environmental damage, or threaten the facility’s financial standing or public image. Obviously, numerous events can be “emergencies,” including:

  • Fire
  • Hazardous materials incident
  • Flood or flash flood
  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Winter storm
  • Earthquake
  • Communications failure
  • Radiological accident
  • Civil disturbance
  • Loss of key supplier or customer
  • Explosion

The term “disaster” has been left out of this document because it lends itself to a preconceived notion of a large-scale event, usually a “natural disaster.” In fact, each event must be addressed within the context of the impact it has on the company and the community. What might constitute a nuisance to a large industrial facility could be a “disaster” to a small business.

What Is Emergency Management?

Emergency management is the process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from an emergency.

Emergency management is a dynamic process. Planning, though critical, is not the only component. Training, conducting drills, testing equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other important functions.

Making the “Case” for Emergency Management

To be successful, emergency management requires upper management support. The chief executive sets the tone by authorizing planning to take place and directing senior management to get involved.

When presenting the “case” for emergency management, avoid dwelling on the negative effects of an emergency (e.g., deaths, fines, criminal prosecution) and emphasize the positive aspects of preparedness. For example:

  • It helps companies fulfill their moral responsibility to protect employees, the community and the environment.
  • It facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements of Federal, State and local agencies.
  • It enhances a company’s ability to recover from financial losses, regulatory fines, loss of market share, damages to equipment or products or business interruption.
  • It reduces exposure to civil or criminal liability in the event of an incident.
  • It enhances a company’s image and credibility with employees, customers, suppliers and the community.
  • It may reduce your insurance premiums.

 

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