Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Identify, Review and Verify for Effective Emergency Response Plans

Posted on Wed, Nov 15, 2017

As potentially stressful, chaotic and financially imposing as an emergency, disaster or crisis can be, some companies are still not prioritizing preparedness and response planning.

The three building blocks of preparedness - identify, review and verify can provide the means to effective corporate emergency response plans. When all three aspects are in motion, the ongoing process of preparedness is established, giving companies the best possible prognosis for a response.

 

Identify Preparedness and Response Plan Criteria

Company profiles are becoming increasingly sophisticated with an intricate network of technology, human resources, and global influences. Companies must routinely identify relevant risks and threats in order to develop practical, compliant, and up-to-date response plans. Improvising and implementing unplanned response actions for unrecognized scenarios often results in inadequate, and potentially damaging outcomes.

Preparedness is a continual sequence of analysis. Operational consolidation, growth, and changing threat variables require recognition. To prepare for and respond to an incident, emergency managers should identify the following preparedness and response planning criteria:

  • What risks and hazards may result in an emergency or disaster response event?
  • What processes are put in place to limit the exposures to risks and hazards?
  • What community/environmental sensitivities exist?
  • Who will respond when an incident occurs?
  • What processes, procedures, and training are in place for responders?
  • How will individuals/employees secure their safety?
  • What tools/equipment are necessary to respond to an incident and who will provide them?
  • What local, state, and/or federal organizations should be consulted?
  • What regulations apply?

 Magnifying glass showing compliance word on grey background.jpeg

With risks, threats, and preparedness needs identified, companies should move forward with developing site-specific response plans. However, preparedness does not end with a completed response plan.

 

Review Response Plans

Corporate preparedness programs and applicable response plans need to be reviewed for accuracy and effective responses to newly identified variables.  Employees familiar and trained with preparedness efforts are more likely to ensure best practices are carried out.

Reviews of response procedures, mitigation opportunities, best practices, response objectives, and operational requirements are necessary to ensure preparedness and effective response measures are in place. Reviews should include, but are not limited to:

  • Data and computer needs: Review the procedural details of computer backups, data restoration methods, and the minimum program needs to re-establish critical business processes. Companies should examine current data center outsourcing or other alternatives to ensure continuity and accessibility.
  • Notification lists: Response plan administrators must be certain that newly-assigned personnel are included in the plan, as necessary, and that notifications are being delivered to accurate e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers. Review contact lists to ensure all necessary information is correct.
  • Communication needs: Clear and effective communication channels must remain available to disseminate information to employees, assess and relay damage, and coordinate a recovery strategy. Evaluate current communication equipment and/or mass notification systems to communicate to key individuals, company employees, or an entire client base, as each scenario deems necessary.
  • Supply Chain: As a company’s needs change and new suppliers come online, potential suppliers should be evaluated, and plans should be updated to reflect any changes. Alternate resources should be reviewed to ensure availability, delivery, and continued operations in the event primary suppliers are not available when needed.
  • Essential Personnel: Ensure necessary minimum staffing levels are acceptable to remain operational. Review individual responsibilities and recovery time objectives with staff, contractors, and suppliers.
  • Equipment needs: Review availability of necessary equipment and establish processes for response, recovery, and continued operations, to minimize downtime and additional recovery efforts.

The review of company emergency response plans should include debriefings with collaborative response entities. Meetings with these outside responders should confirm specific plan and response details that can be carried out to be consistent with best practices and company protocols. Groups to consider in planning reviews include, but are not limited to:

  • Local responders (fire, police, emergency medical services, etc.)
  • Government agencies (LEPC, Emergency Management Offices, etc.)
  • Community organizations (Red Cross, weather services, etc.)
  • Utility Company(s) (gas, electric, public works, telephone, etc.)
  • Contracted Emergency Responders
  • Neighboring Businesses

 

Verification of Effectiveness and Accuracy

The overall emergency response program readiness must be verified for effectiveness and accuracy, regardless of the threat or hazard. Training and exercises are valuable verification tools that can confirm effective response planning and preparedness efforts. Verification should include, but is not limited to:

  • A system for assessing emergency scenarios and prioritizing incident responses
  • Thresholds and procedures for activating the Incident Management or Crisis Management Team
  • Notification information (if maintaining accurate contact information is challenging, consider opting for an e-mail verification system that enables each contact to verify their contact information.
  • Roles and responsibilities of the Incident Management or Crisis Management Team members
  • Communication and notification procedures to facilitate interaction among responders and Incident Management Team
  • Guidelines and checklists to assist in an efficient and organized response
  • Verification of on-site hazardous materials details, response equipment, and response times

Technology, such as a web-based response planning system, provides companies with the tools to balance enterprise-wide standardization and site-specific regulatory criteria. Companies responsible for multiple buildings, possibly in various locations, should demonstrate a commitment to emergency management by creating a systematic template for incident response policies, procedures, and practices. These templates should enable users to incorporate the detailed, site-specific data necessary for an effective response.

New Call-to-action

Tags: Emergency Response Planning

Are your Business Continuity Plans Ready for the Next Irma or Harvey?

Posted on Thu, Sep 21, 2017

Words like catastrophic, unprecedented and record-breaking should be reserved for works of fiction. However, when you see the communities impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, those words become reality. Intense weather systems appear to be developing with more frequency. In preparation, companies must ensure that their operations can withstand an unprecedented business disruption. They must be ready for the next Harvey or Irma.

 

Many companies have Business Continuity Plans (BCP) in place. However, they are often untested or ill-suited for extensive conditions or durations. How would a catastrophic event impact your operations? How will your employees work? Will your supply chain be disrupted and for how long? Mitigating business continuity response processes, procedures, and personnel responsibilities must be adaptive enough to account for destructive weather conditions.

The BCP and Corporate Leadership

Every organization is unique and requires a tailored BCP to suit their particular needs. A well-developed plan should be able to sustain the viability of the affected businesses unit while ensuring the continuity of, and safeguarding of key business interests, relationships, and assets.


The primary purpose of a BCP is to minimize operational, regulatory, financial, and reputational impacts of a significant business disruption to accelerate the time frame to return to “business as usual”. Simply stated, a business continuity plan is a ‘restoration plan.’  In order to effectively implement a relevant BCP, company leadership must be support the development and implementation of an effective plan. In order to ensure critical operations can withstand unprecedented events, corporate leadership should:


  • Support budget allocations for the BCP program
  • Appoint key personnel to lead the program
  • Ensure the BCP team is staffed and fully trained to implement the plan
  • Provide the resources necessary to maintain an up-to date program that accounts for any site-specific changes to facilities, personnel, or processes
  • Provide ancillary support and resources to implement the BCP process and recovery strategies

Once an initial BCP is developed, company leadership should continually support plan evaluations that account for evolving operations, potential disrupting scenarios, and identified vulnerabilities. If new vulnerabilities or threats are identified, the BCP should be updated to address those newly identified variables.

Background conceptual image with papers flying in air.jpeg

The Business Continuity Plan

When effectively developed, tested and accessible, a business continuity plan can address operational disruptions of key business resources including:

  • Facilities or Workspace
  • Infrastructure or IT Applications/Systems
  • People
  • Supply Chain

Your business continuity plan should include, but are not limited to the following considerations:

  • Notification procedures for key stakeholders
  • Internal and external contact directories
  • Business Continuity Team notification and activation procedures
  • Business Continuity Team structure, organization charts, and interfaces
  • Position-specific checklists
  • Facility information and documentation forms
  • Detailed critical process recovery tasks, workaround procedures and reference documents
  • Identification of staff required to recover those critical processes
  • Detailed information concerning alternate facilities
  • Plan Review and Update procedure

Site specific recovery strategies should be developed with the assumption that the disruption occurred during the peak business cycle, when the services or output are at the highest level and most critical point. This will improve the potential for that plan to be effective.

Managing Vulnerabilities

BCP managers should regularly monitor incidents that may cause a business disruption and/or have a serious impact to operations.  A BCP manager should:

  • Comprehend basic BC principles and methods
  • Ensure consistency in business impact analysis to identify critical business functions
  • Understand the correlation between operations, business continuity, IT disaster recovery, and emergency planning
  • Ensure that the BCP reflects the current hazard risk analysis, mitigation processes, business impact analysis, response management, and recovery strategies
  • Encourage coordination between all company staff while implementing a BCP
  • Identify and initiate appropriate, cost-effective strategies and procedures to recover critical business functions and information assets
  • Formally assign BC responsibilities to appropriate department managers and ensure each receives proper training to implement the BCP
  • Ensure that necessary contractual agreements exist for recovery of critical business functions and information resources
  • Review, update, and communicate BCP content changes
  • Continual improve the BCP as required

Note: The list of vulnerabilities is not all-inclusive. Additional vulnerabilities may be applicable to your company.

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Business Continuity Plan

Risk Mitigation and Corporate Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Aug 24, 2017

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” - Sir Issac Newton

In an industrial facility, every action has the ability to become an emergency, incident or disaster. Most “actions” are intended to contribute to the financial bottom line, but others may put your employees, the facility or surrounding environments at risk. These actions can create unsafe conditions, operational risks, or environmental damage. Once recognized and evaluated, these hazards, threats and risks may be eliminated or controlled through mitigation measures and procedural planning.

The Corporate Risk Assessment

In order to identify necessary responses to incidents or emergency situations, a detailed risk assessment should be should conducted for potential emergency scenarios.  As risk assessment may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Identify your site-specific hazards, threats or risks. These may include, but are not limited to:
    • Fire
    • Explosion
    • Natural Hazards
    • Terrorism
    • Hazardous materials spill or release
    • Workplace violence
    • Employee pandemic
    • Utility outage
    • Mechanical breakdown
    • Supply chain failure
    • Cyber attack
  • Based on the hazards, identify if the impact is low, medium or high for each of the following:
    • People
    • Property
    • Operations
    • Environment
    • Financial
    • Regulatory or legal
    • Contractual
    • Reputation
  • Identify your site-specific hazards and consider:
    • High probability/low impact scenarios
    • Low probability/high impact scenarios

The probability and impact severity of a risk should determine the priority level for planning and mitigating the hazard.

Minimize Impacts through Mitigation

Current processes, procedures, and assets can directly minimize the impact or likelihood of unsafe actions or circumstances. These may be unique to each specific industry, company, and site. Some processes, procedures, or assets may simplify or automate reactions, responses or recovery requirements.

It is important to understand that a single asset may be able to mitigate multiple hazards. Examples of assets include, but are not limited to;

  • Local response groups
  • On-site fire brigades
  • Backup generators
  • Response equipment
  • Routine data backups

Continuous Improvement on the Mechanism of Metal Gears..jpeg

As you assess potential impacts, identify any vulnerabilities or weaknesses in your current processes, procedures, and assets that would make them susceptible to loss. When these vulnerabilities are identified, it presents opportunities for hazard prevention through procedures/processes upgrades or risk mitigation.

Your company should review or initiate a risk mitigation budget based on the results of the risk analysis. The probability and impact severity should determine the priority level for correcting the hazard. The higher the probability and impact severity, the higher the emphasis should be on corrective action. With priorities in place, mitigation measures may include:

  • Changing operational processes and procedures
  • Eliminating the cause of a potential threat
  • Addressing regulatory compliance issues resulting from internal or external audits
  • Introducing risk reducing engineering controls, when applicable
  • Implementing proactive administrative controls or work place practices
  • Establishing systematic equipment inspection processes
  • Developing a communication plan that includes a contact verification system
  • Updating or develop applicable response plans

Business Continuity Plans

Business continuity and response plans should address the results from a site-specific risk assessment. When companies utilize systematic methods to identify objectives and implement potential response in conjunction with intuitive formats, the process of recovery, continuity, and sustainability can be streamlined.

At a minimum, a business continuity plans should identify the following:

  • Key operations and critical activities
  • Critical processes and strategies for recovery
  • Resources necessary for recovery
  • Evacuation and relocation information and policies
  • Key response personnel

 

Need information regarding crisis and emergency management industry standards and best practices, click the image below to submit form information: 

Corporate Crisis Management

Tags: Business Risk, Mitigation, corporate preparedness

Top 10 Reasons to Improve Emergency Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Aug 10, 2017

Emergency management programs are in place for “when” an emergency happens, not “if” an emergency happens.

Natural disaster, human error, homegrown terrorism, regulatory compliance, equipment failure, or an awareness of potential crises...the list of emergency scenarios can be extensive. When companies prioritize emergency response planning, they can optimize their response. However, the cost/benefit of effective emergency management programs is often greater than expected. Below are ten “best practice” reasons why your company should prioritize emergency response programs and preparedness initiatives:

1. Demonstrate a commitment to safety: Companies should confirm that safety is a priority. By establishing proven countermeasures to potential threats and associated risks, companies can substantiate that the safety of employees and the protection of surrounding communities and the environment is important. Prioritizing emergency preparedness initiatives demonstrates a company’s commitment.

2. Improve regulatory compliance: Regulatory non-compliance fines are an unnecessary expense. These costly fines can result from the lack of implemented, thorough, and compliant programs. By systematically aligning regulations with corresponding response plans and their components, your company can identify plan deficiencies to avoid unnecessary fines or possible mandatory shutdowns.

3. Simplify updating processes: One of the main reasons response plans aren’t effective is because they are outdated. Continual administrative duties associated with personnel contact information, assignments, training records, exercises, and continual plan updates is challenging. Maintaining up-to-date response plan has become significantly easier with advanced technology and innovative software programs. If your company has not evaluated available programs, the cost and time associated with maintaining current administratively taxing response plans may be worth the investment.

Implementing a technologically advanced enterprise-wide emergency management system offers opportunities to increase the effectiveness of planning and preparedness efforts. Gathering lessons learned from various site managers, performing site regulatory gap analyses, and implementing new proven concepts will ensure the best possible functionality and processes within a program.

 Cement Plant and power sation during sunset.jpeg

4. Standardize response methods: A consistent, company-wide emergency response management system can deliver site-specific details and management endorsed response processes.  Standardization allows employees and responders to conceptualize their roles and responsibilities across an enterprise, creating a common understanding of intended actions. Consistent, yet site specific response methods can assist responders in assessing, prioritizing, and responding to incidents.

5. Improve asset utilization: Companies should utilize employees, responders, equipment, and budgets effectively in order to minimize the effects of a crisis or disaster. Realigning current tangible assets (equipment and/or personnel), mitigating identified inefficiencies, and/or budgeting for additional response training or improved equipment will improve the overall effectiveness of an emergency management program.

6. Mitigate facility/site conditions: The conditions of your facility or site may have an impact on safety or an effective response. Conditions that pose a risk to occupants, the environment, infrastructures, and/or the surrounding communities should be altered or eliminated. The risk assessment process can be used to identify conditions that can lead to emergency incidents.

7. Reduce incidents through risk assessments: When potential threats and risks are identified, measures can be taken to minimize the impacts of those scenarios or possibly eliminate the potential of the emergency. Mitigation measures may include a variety of tactics including, but not limited to training for employees, updating safety processes and procedures, or securing or purchasing updated equipment.

8. Reduce downtime: Emergencies can cause operational downtime and production loss. This impact profits and reduces revenues. By optimizing and implementing the most effective and functional emergency management program possible, incidents can be promptly managed and rapidly demobilized, thereby reducing response-related costs and downtime.  The repercussions from an incident can also include detrimental relationships with customers, the surrounding community, and stakeholders.

9. Cost savings: Proactive compliance efforts, safety initiatives, training and exercises, and response and resiliency planning are typically less expensive than regulatory fines, sustained response efforts, and overall repercussions resulting from an incident.

10.Elevate training and drills: Employee training, emergency response drills and applicable exercises identify deficiencies in emergency response planning programs. Incorporating appropriate response training and testing response plans with detailed scenarios will improve response capabilities and coordination, as well as reduce response times.

 

Simplifying the Complexity of Response Plans:  The TRP Approach

Tags: Emergency Management Program, Emergency Response Planning

Rain, Stormwater and Company Regulatory Compliance

Posted on Thu, Jul 27, 2017

According to the National Climate Assessment’s 2014 report,  “Heavy downpours are increasing nationally.”1 That means, when it rains, it often pours. The study revealed that rain intensity in the Southwest has increased nearly 30 percent in recent decades. However, intense rain is not limited to specific areas of the country. The National Centers for Environmental Information, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, noted that between October 2016 and March 2017, California averaged 30.75 inches of precipitation, the second-highest average since such records began being kept in 1895.

Companies need to take notice and ensure they have compliant stormwater pollution prevention plans as required by the Environmental Protection Agency, and response plans that address responses to localized flooding.

The purpose of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is to identify potential stormwater pollution sources and reduce the potential for pollutants to reach nearby waterways. The EPA issues “General Permits” for stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program (as defined in 40 CFR 122.21 and 40 CFR 122.26). Establishing procedures and controls is necessary to accomplish the following SWPPP objectives.

  • Identify pollutants that may come in contact with stormwater.
  • Establish measures to prevent pollutants from coming in contact with stormwater.
  • Establish controls to reduce or eliminate the potential for contaminated storm water being released to the environment.

Runoff that contacts industrial materials can transport pollutants into nearby water sources. When companies are not in compliance with NPDES regulations, they may be assessed fines.

For example, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ordered a company building a natural gas distribution pipeline to pay $431,000 for water and air pollution violations at various locations across the state. Over the course of three months, Ohio officials revealed that 18 incidents including mud spills from drilling, stormwater pollution and open burning at construction sites have been reported. The company was ordered to submit plans to address potential future releases and restore impacted wetlands which stretch from Washington County in southeastern Ohio to Defiance County in the northwest.

rain runoff.jpeg

An SWPPP and required site evaluations should be incorporated, as necessary, into a company’s enterprise-wide emergency management program. Completed site compliance evaluation checklists must be retained for a period of one year after the expiration of the General Permit.

Ensuring regulatory compliance, preparedness and employee safety requires a fundamental emergency management program. With the intensity of rainfall rising, your emergency management program should be sure to plan for extreme weather scenarios with effective and realistic response plans. Below are preparedness t concepts to guide your flood emergency response planning:

  1. Assess the flood risk potential in your area. Be aware of stream, ditches, drainage areas, and other low-lying areas on the property.
  2. Map facility and identify multiple access and egress routes.
  3. Familiarize staff with the evacuation plan and alternate routes.
  4. Ensure important documents and server(s) are not stored in basement or ground level, and review backup procedures.
  5. Update employee contact lists with alternate contact information in the event an evacuation is necessary.
  6. If evacuation is necessary, assign trained personnel to secure the premises and equipment (such as sandbagging and/or extending regulator vents and relief stacks above the level of anticipated flooding, as appropriate.).
  7. Perform continuous monitoring of the flood through various media outlets and weather tracking.
  8. Unplug all electrical devices.
  9. If flooding is probable, discuss shutting off high voltage power and natural gas lines with energy providers.
  10. Maintain hazards awareness regarding, but not limited to:
    • Structural damage
    • Downed power lines
    • Leaking natural gas, water, and sewer lines
    • Poisonous snakes and other wildlife sheltering in structures, vehicles, and furniture
    • Direct contact with flood water, mud, and animal carcasses
  11. Deploy personnel so that they will be in a position to take emergency actions, such as shutdown, isolation, or containment in the event of an emergency.
  12. Identify, contract, and communicate with water damage specialist(s).
  13. Ensure cleanup equipment is available, adequate, and ample. If clean up will be done by employees, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may be required. OSHA requires Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for cleanup operations if the water source is contaminated with sewage, chemicals, or other biological pollutants.
  14. Consider obtaining portable pumps and hoses from local suppliers.
  15. If applicable, determine if flooding can expose or undermine pipelines as a result of erosion or scouring.
  16. If applicable, coordinate with emergency and spill responders on pipeline location(s) and condition, and provide maps and other relevant information to them.
  17. If applicable, advise the State Pipeline Safety Office (for intrastate lines), or RSPA's Regional Pipeline Safety Office (interstate lines) prior to returning pipelines to service, on increasing the operating pressure, or otherwise changing the operating status of the line.
  18. Conduct a post-incident review and identify mitigation opportunities to prevent future flooding impacts.

Source

1 Renault, Marion. The Columbus Dispatch. 9 May 2017. http://www.cantonrep.com/news/20170509/ohio-epa-fines-rover-pipeline-contractor-430000. 14 July 2017.
Simplifying the Complexity of Response Plans:  The TRP Approach

 

 

Tags: SWPPP

Common Crisis Management Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Posted on Thu, Jul 13, 2017

Whether it a social media post gone wrong or an unexpected supply chain disruption, your company needs to be being able to identify potential crises, prioritize responses, and engage with stakeholders effectively. During a crisis, your company should be able to depend on a response plan in order to protect the financial and reputational aspects of your operations. Poor crisis management performance can be prevented with proper planning.

Below are six common crisis management planning mistakes that can negatively impact a response.

1. Failure to predict potential crisis situations: Your Company must determine potential crises, analyze them, and design responses to each. Regardless of the circumstances, every crisis has the potential to negatively impact the company’s reputation, daily operations, and financial performance.

In addition to planning for potential natural disasters, companies must plan for business continuity issues, operational hazards, and security vulnerabilities. Whether security vulnerabilities come in the form of a network intrusion, a computer virus, or an actual physical attack, site and electronic security should be taken into consideration when assessing potential threats.

2. Unclear communications plan on company positions: Pre-planned communications methods must be in place to state a company’s position on potential issues. Companies must be prepared to voice factual and timely information before falsehoods and negative public images spiral into rumors and publicity nightmares. A crisis will likely generate news coverage that may adversely impact employees, investors, customers, suppliers, and possibly the community. It may directly harm a company's reputation, offices, and revenues. Additionally, policies and procedures, as well as information regarding the organization should be developed well in advance of any crisis.

Companies should also establish effective communication pathways with local emergency services, hospitals, police, and fire departments. Any miscommunication can add to the duration of incidents and potentially expound upon the crisis scenario. Companies should identify support organizations during the crisis management planning process and make contact information available as necessary. A detailed and collaborative planning effort can equate to a faster recovery time, minimizing the ongoing effects of the disaster.

3. Insufficient regulatory compliance: Companies must be fully aware of the regulations and/or laws enacted by state or federal mandates that could affect company operations. Compliance costs are typically lower than the expenditures associated with non-compliance fines, litigation, reputational risk, and government mandated shutdown of operations. Companies must implement a budget, safety program, and preparedness measures that ensures regulatory compliance.

4. Overlooked prevention and mitigation measures: There are various communication and crisis response details and variables that must be considered and planned for. However, there may also be mitigation measures that can prevent crisis situations and proactively deter negative perceptions and actions. This may include performing safety and operational audits and assessments, additional personnel training and business continuity planning.

For example, business continuity combined with hurricane planning can prepare a company to react to an impending storm. In developing these plans, employees must have the resources, procedures, and safeguards to successfully mitigate its effects and sustain critical business processes.

Top View of Boot on the trail with the text Safety First.jpeg

5. Lack of effective Crisis Management Planning: Companies should prepare a plan for responding to all internal and external aspects of the crisis. A useable Crisis Management tool should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • A contacts database of response organizations/individuals
  • Stakeholder identification, assessment, and documentation tools and reports
  • Task scheduling, documentation, and reporting tools
  • Crisis Management performance assessment tool
  • Incident, exercise, and maintenance modes
  • Database containing all incidents and exercises, with ability to retrieve all documented conversations and tasks
  • Accessibility to multiple users simultaneously involved in multiple incidents
  • Integrated help system
  • Intuitive maintenance tools

6. Failure to establish a command hierarchy or structure: A Crisis Management Team (CMT) should be aware of their roles and responsibilities, and be properly trained to act on those responsibilities should a critical incident or crisis occur. It is not effective for a team to be established and assigned roles as a crisis is unfolding. Each member of the CMT must be in place and comfortable with their role long before an incident occurs. Inability to provide clear specific duties, tasks, or functions for each team member during a crisis will create indecision, confusion, and an inability to perform at optimal levels.

For a crisis management plan to be properly initiated, those selected for the crisis management team should understand established response policies, the context of crisis communications, and their individual responsibilities. A strategic response framework with checklists and criteria that can guide the decision-making process should be developed and tested prior to a crisis.

7. Failure to exercise: It's one thing to have a plan in place, but if the response team has never practiced potential scenarios, the plan is not likely to be effective. Lessons learned and plan updates (including updated contacts and procedures) should be readily available and provided to all crisis response team members. Each member should be included to practice elements in the plan on a regular basis.

8. Failure to establish workable format: The response plan should be in a format that is intuitive and easy to use. In some cases, a quick reference guide should be readily available to all team members.

9. Failure to evaluate and update: If the crisis management plan is exercised or activated, team members should review results and feedback to determine if adjustments should be made. Lessons learned from exercises and incidents have demonstrated that many companies lack the tools to properly manage a response. In order to take response efforts to the next level, action items resulting from the exercises should be completed in a timely manner.

Specific recovery guidelines provide agreed-to procedures to help facilitate an expedited return to normal operating conditions.

TRP Corp - Emergency Response Planning Crisis Management

Tags: Crisis Management

What you Need to Know About Company-Wide Emergency Action Plans

Posted on Thu, Jun 29, 2017

If you have a small staff and the size of your site is easily manageable, developing a comprehensive emergency action plan for one location may not be a difficult task. However, ensuring compliant and site-specific emergency action plans for multiple locations and an exponential number of employees can be a challenge.

Any business with more than 10 onsite employees is likely to require an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but what happens when your company has multiple locations? Why should these plan be a priority and how do you confirm compliance for each location?

What is an Emergency Action Plan?

An EAP is intended to guide employer and employee actions, such as evacuation, during workplace emergencies. These plan are typically utilized when an onsite fire brigade is not in place. At a minimum, an EAP must include the following requirements:

  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures, including exit route assignments
  • Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted

While not required for compliance, OSHA also suggests:

  • Description of the alarm system that informs employees to take certain actions
  • The site of an alternative communications center
  • A secure location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees' emergency contact lists, and other essential records.

 

Why Prioritize Emergency Action Plans?

According to the 2016 OSHA Field Operations Manual, any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates regulations may be assessed a civil penalty of at least $8,908 for each willful violation. The exponential violation cost for companies with multiple locations could be staggering and financially crippling.

What's Your Plan with Local Search Marketing wording on Sky Background,.jpeg

As agencies continue to redefine their monetary penalties and prioritize employee safety issues, companies must not rely on the prospect of an agency inspection to ensure preparedness programs are sufficient. For companies with multiple locations, the EAP details should be part of an overall emergency management program and create an atmosphere of response readiness. Each plan should identify site-specific actions by employers, employees, or other building occupants to ensure safety from fire emergencies and other potentially devastating scenarios.

If government regulations are applicable to your facilities or operations, your enterprise must prioritize compliance and associated management techniques in order to minimize financial burdens resulting from fines, negative public perceptions, and potential government mandated shutdown of operations.

 

How to Confirm EAP Compliance?

When company operations span across multiple locations, compliance verification in addition to daily operational oversight can become increasingly complicated. The cost to initiate, upgrade, and/or maintain a proactive EHS program may be seen as a excessive and possibly trivial company expense. However, compliance efforts and compliance tracking software programs are often less expensive than agency fines. By confirming regulatory compliance, companies can deliberately protect lives, prevent hazardous impacts, limit property damage, and eliminate increasing regulatory fines.

Effective technology can be a useful and relatively inexpensive tool for companies to monitor continually evolving operations and regulatory requirements. While many businesses utilize Excel spreadsheets to manage these requirements, the technique is burdensome, administratively taxing, and often ineffective for mid to large size companies. As companies grow and expand, the number of spreadsheets can be extensively overwhelming and complex. Midsize and larger operations should consider utilizing database technology to ensure enterprise-wide compliance on multiple government agency fronts.

In order to minimize non-compliance, owners should identify potential emergency scenarios and necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s EAP.

A comprehensive response planning system should identify the resources required to effectively manage potential hazards, document necessary response actions, and fulfill multiple compliance mandates. Upgrading to web-based response planning software will enable each location across an enterprise to;

  • Reduce the need for multiple plans
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Simplify plan reviews
  • Minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • Streamline response directives from one source

 

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Emergency Action Plan

Don’t Make These Three Common Industrial Fire Pre-Planning Mistakes

Posted on Thu, Jun 15, 2017

Does your industrial facility have specific fire response plans or fire pre-plans? If you answered “yes”, are they accurate and up-to-date? According to investigations conducted by The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), “Inadequate or poor emergency planning or response has been a recurring finding.” To be sure your facility does not become a statistic, fire pre-plans should be properly developed and exercised. When best practices are followed, these plans can minimize the impacts of a fire on employees, the facility, and possibly the surrounding area.

Below are three common fire pre-planning mistakes and corrective measures that can enhance the overall usability of these plans, limiting the potential impacts of a fire.

1. Lack of a Local Planning Coordination: Coordinating fire pre-plans between private and public entities can result in an expedient and safer response. Yet, many companies do not take the time to communicate and coordinate. Partnering with associated response participants will result in a more successful and streamlined implementation of the intended plan.
Coordinated efforts should be reflected when establishing, updating, exercising, and responding to fire emergencies. A coordinated effort should consist of a combination of agreed elements including:
  • Personnel
  • Procedures
  • Company protocols
  • Best practices
  • Communications systems and methods

Establishing and sharing up-to-date facility information and site-specific potential hazards in a coordinated effort prior to a fire can assist responders in:

  • Determining appropriate and proven response methods
  • Acquiring and locating necessary equipment
  • Removing site-specific obstacles
  • Identifying neighboring exposures

The faster the first responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner the incident will be contained and facility operations restored to “business as usual”. Limiting liabilities in a fire emergency by informing first responders of key components is crucial to your company's livelihood.

Fire alarm.jpeg

2. Difficult Fire Pre-Plan Format: As your organization evolves, grows, and changes over time, personnel, hazards, response equipment, and overall site layout may change. Many plans are out-of-date or the most recent versions are not distributed.

Plan details, such as site-specific information, firewater system, exposures, building hazards, and foam calculations, create thorough fire pre-plans, and may need to be updated over time. Dismissing the importance of maintaining these crucial response plans with the most up-to-date information could put lives at risk, exacerbate the emergency, and become a costly loss for a company.

As a result, each time a single component of the fire pre-plan needs to be updated, a paper document needs to be redistributed. If the plans are located on an internal intranet, the updated document should replace the former version. Utilizing a web-based, database driven system offers instantaneous updates to all authorized personnel, eliminating the possibility of “version confusion”.

These plans should be in “easy-to-read” formats. It is important to remember that responders may have to refer to fire plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier the information is to read, the better it is for all responders. When facilities are large or spread out, color-coded plot plans can be utilized for each segment of the facility. Response strategies can be developed for each area, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.

Because of an increasingly technological-driven culture, the concept of utilizing technology for preparedness planning continues to expand. Establishing or converting your paper-based plans into a web-based, database driven system allows for simple modifications, streamlined company formats, and easy distribution.

3. Limited Accessibility: Industrial fires can escalate quickly and the potential danger to lives and the environment can exponentially increase with time. In the event of an emergency, up-to-date paper plans may not be readily available. Even if a company utilizes electronic plans housed on a remotely accessed intranet, emergency events can render the main data source or server inaccessible.

When an incident is isolated to a particular location, web-based response plans offer accessibility on a company-wide scale. Web-based plans can also provide hyperlinks, forms libraries, simplified interfaces, and other tools designed to improve functionality for plan users and streamline company response elements.

But with any data system, redundancy and backup efforts are essential.  In the event Internet connectivity is terminated or inaccessible, emergency managers and responders must have alternative means to access plans. Redundant data centers, scheduled downloads, and security measures must be a part of any web-based emergency management program. This allows for multiple options for accessibility, ensuring the responders have the correct information at critical times.

 

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness

Key Facility Response Plan Tips for Spill Response Requirements

Posted on Thu, May 25, 2017

The environmental, health and safety landscape is riddled with stories of injuries, accidents, and emergencies. Some stories become headline news and others may be buried in the stacks of safety reports. Yet any incident, large or small, can impact your employees, your facilities, the surrounding environment, and your financial bottom line. While the intensity of events may vary, comprehensive, compliant, and functional response plans for each facility must be developed and maintained to address a broad scope of probable emergency and crisis situations.

Companies have an ethical and legal obligation to protect their employees while on the job. However, a response plan is only as effective as the accuracy of its information, potential emergency or crisis scenarios, and the level of responder comprehension. For facilities that store and/or utilize hazardous materials, the obligation to create a top-notch facility response plan is even greater.

The Facility Response Plan

A Facility Response Plan, which can serve as both a planning and response-guiding action document, should be easily accessible. Companies should confirm that regulatory compliance, inherent site-specific safety issues, response efforts, and human resource factors are addressed within each of their site plans. Depending on operations, a Facility Response Plan may consist of:

  • Facility information, including its name, type, location, owner, operator information
  • Emergency notification, equipment, personnel, and evacuation information
  • Identification and analysis of potential spill hazards and previous spills
  • Discussion of small, medium, and worst-case discharge scenarios and response actions
  • Description of discharge detection procedures and equipment
  • Detailed implementation plan for response, containment, and disposal
  • Description and records of self-inspections, drills and exercises, and response training
  • Diagrams of facility site plan, drainage, and evacuation plan
  • Security (ex: fences, lighting, alarms, guards, emergency cut-off valves and locks, etc.)

As personnel responsibilities, facility or operational specifics change, response plans must change accordingly. At a minimum, cyclical plan maintenance is essential to capture multiple moving parts that impact an emergency management program. If a facility has a high-risk potential for a specific scenario or operations utilize hazardous materials, supplemental response plans, such as a fire pre-plan or business continuity plan, should be added to the overall emergency management program.

Industrial building factory.jpeg

Small, Medium and Worst-Case

It is essential that any company that transports, stores or handles hazardous materials ensure spills are properly cleaned up to minimize environmental impacts and  workers are not injured. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) states that site-specific scenarios and response resources must be addressed for small, medium, and worst-case spills. Discharges are categorized as follows:

  • Small discharge: up to 2,100 gallons spilled
  • Medium: 2,100 to 36,000 gallons spilled, or 10% of the largest tank (whichever is less)
  • Worst Case Discharge: Volume of the largest tank over 36,000 gallons

The source of a small, medium, and worst-case discharge may stem from various facility operations and corresponding equipment components. If the worst-case discharge falls within one of the specified ranges for small or medium discharges, a smaller facility may only need to plan for that level of response. Potential discharge scenarios can be derived from human error, equipment malfunction, third party intervention, or severe weather. Typical site components relating to discharge scenarios include, but are not limited:

  • transfer hose failure
  • improper or faulty hose seals
  • valve failure
  • misaligned piping connection or seal failure
  • pump seal failure or overfill
  • tank overfill or leak
  • catastrophic failure of largest tank
Most spill scenarios are small and are unlikely to travel off site. These spills would likely be contained in specified areas or by specialized equipment. However, if the spill scenario could potentially result in oil traveling off site, its migration pattern, potential traveling distance, and specifically identified locations should be detailed.


Any spill response, despite the size of the spill, should incorporate the company defined preparedness structure and procedures. Despite the voluminous details and the nature of a spill, all employees and responders should demonstrate an understanding and application of company policies and agency requirements through an established training and exercise cycle.

TRP Corp Emergency Response Planning Exercises

Tags: Facility Response Plan, Oil Spill

How Leading Companies Address Complex Response Planning

Posted on Thu, May 04, 2017

Whether plans are mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, an effectively exercised and accessible emergency response plan can minimize impacts of an emergency on employees, the environment, and infrastructure. But when companies have multiple locations, each with site-specific risks and potential operational emergencies, how can corporate leaders know that response plans will be accessible, effective, timely and compliant?

Leading companies with multiple facilities are realizing that generic response planning templates often result in incomplete, ineffective, and non-regulatory compliant plans. As a result, web-based, database-driven software is gaining popularity as the practical solution for companies with complex preparedness obstacles. Advanced web-based software has been proven to streamline the challenges associated with multiple locations and regulatory requirements through a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.

In order to maintain company-wide preparedness and regulatory compliance, every response plan must contain accurate, site-specific details consistent with operations, personnel, topography, sensitivities, weather, and other factors. This complex arrangement of continually evolving information has led leading companies to leverage this technology and reap the benefits of web-based, enterprise-wide emergency management systems.

 

Emergency Management Systems

Leading companies are embracing comprehensive, web-based response plan templates with an integrated database that can capture site-specific details for each location. With these systems, emergency managers can:

  • Reduce the need for multiple plans for a single facility
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Simplify plan reviews
  • Minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • Streamline response directives from one source
  • More easily identify regulatory compliance gaps

 Businessman in blue suit working with digital vurtual screen.jpeg

 

Web-Based System Benefits

Maintaining accurate details across multiple plan types for a large number of facilities is a challenge, especially when there is limited personnel. Intuitive response planning systems that streamline formats, and utilize database technology to leverage and manage information offer tremendous benefits in improving compliance and preparedness. The most advanced systems are specifically designed to improve the following:

Efficiency:  Effective response plans require cyclical maintenance. As a result of changing personnel, fluctuating external response contacts, and revolving equipment availability and inventory levels, maintaining up-to-date and actionable response plans can be administratively time-consuming. Emergency management software should eliminate the need for duplicate updates across multiple response plans. The most advanced web-based software programs utilize a database, allowing for specific repetitive information to be duplicated in the various necessary plan types across an entire enterprise. By minimizing administratively tasking duties, plan changes are more likely to be transferred into the system, optimizing the accuracy of the plans.

Accessibility of plans: In the event of an emergency, updated paper plans are typically not available from all company locations. Additionally, accessing plans housed on a company intranet may be dubious if an incident renders company servers inaccessible.  Although the intranet approach has improved overall plan accessibility, a number of significant difficulties remain. With an intranet approach, plan maintenance, version control, and consistency across multiple plans remain challenging and time-consuming.

Web-based planning software offers every option of instant accessibility: viewed via the Internet from any location, downloaded, or printed. Increasing accessibility options while improving efficiency, functionality, and effectiveness can bolster an entire emergency management program.

Instantaneous updates: With web-based technology and an Internet connection, revised information is immediately available to all approved stakeholders. Both paper-based plans and those housed on a company intranet are often out of date with multiple versions in various locations, potentially misinforming the response team.  Microsoft Word or PDF documents, often the format used in response plans, are cumbersome to revise for various plan types and locations. Web-based systems can eliminate ”version-confusion” and allows responders to apply the most up-to-date and tested processes to a response.

Superior functionality: Web-based plans can provide hyperlinks, forms libraries, simplified interfaces, and other tools designed to improve functionality for plan users. Simplifying documentation during an incident enables prompt response progress, improved regulatory compliance, and a more accurate account of the response. Easy to follow response plans allow responders to carry out specified industry and company procedures in accordance with proven best practices responses.

Multi-purpose data: Typically, response plans share common data with a variety of additional plan types including business continuity, pre-fire plans, hurricane plans, and others. Web-based, database driven plans utilize one database to manage this information, effectively leveraging plan content and revision efforts to all plans and locations that utilize that data.

If best practices are implemented, and training and exercises confirm effective response processes and procedures are in place, response plans can be an effective tool for responders. However, leading companies utilizing web-based, database software are recognizing that swift accessibility to plans with an accurate list of contacts, site-specific response procedures, and available resources, expedite the response process and minimizing impacts across the board.

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Response Plans, Cloud Computing, Regulatory Compliance