Are Your Plans Smart Enough?

Fire Pre Plan Templates: How to Make them Work for You!

Posted on Thu, May 15, 2014

From industrial facilities to multi-story office buildings, creating site-specific fire pre-plans and sharing them with first responders prior to an actual emergency is critical to the safety of employees and responders. But for companies with numerous locations, establishing customized, company-wide response plan templates can ensure a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.

Off the shelf, generic plan templates will not address every site-specific aspect of a facility. An enterprise-wide template should serve as an outline of required information, populated with site details, and may be useful to responders if highlighted in an stand-alone format.  The information listed in a fire pre-plan, such as floor plan(s) and details of on-site hazardous material(s), are required by multiple agencies (OSHA, DOT, EPA, USCG) as part of an overall emergency response plan.  However, other specific fire-fighting information, such as construction details, hydrant, and utility valve locations are specific to each location.  The information contained within a site’s fire pre plan should be shared with responders prior to an emergency.

The purpose of pre fire emergency plans are to ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. However, pre plans are only effective if accurate and pertinent information is included. Depending on the operation, pre-plan templates can range from the simple to complex. Utilizing a customizable template allows each site to provide the necessary data required to assist responders in determining the best response for the specific scenario.

Despite the response situation or circumstances, a fire pre plan template should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Building/site layout information
  • Fire suppression information
  • Hazards locations
  • Utility information
  • Exposure information
  • Water supply
  • Evacuation needs
  • Occupancy information
  • Special procedures for handling, storage and control of items that have been identified as major fire hazards
  • Mutual aid resources
  • Strategies

Responders continually verify the importance for fire pre plan simplicity, clarity and accuracy. Template formats should reflect “best practices” and should be periodically reviewed by responding fire department. From the initial information-gathering phase, to a pre plan application during the response; crucial response information must be shared to ensure a timely and effective response. 

Fire Pre Plan - TRP CORP

Below is a compilation of insightful fire pre plan helpful hints from various first responders and fire departments:

  • Storage and Plan Access:
    • Implement a means of easily accessible pre plan storage and retrieval. Web-based pre plans can offer password protected accessibility options
    • Updates:
      • Update plans and communicate with external responders and fire departments often. Include status updates of new buildings construction and renovations being performed.
    • Template formats:
      • Create easy-to-read formats. Responders may be reading these plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier to read, the better it is for all responders.
      • Separate large complexes into color-coded quadrants. Response strategies can be developed for each quadrant, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.
    • Site Access:
      • Update external responders on perimeter gate entry codes whenever changes are made.
      • Identify location of alarm panel locations, and key box locations.
    • Hazardous Materials:
      • Specify location and identity of stored hazardous materials
      • Include known quantities of hazardous materials, if applicable
    • Training and Exercises:
      • Coordinate response exercises with fire department training drills
    • Best Practices and Advancements:
      • Implement lessons learned and new firefighting tactics and equipment into response plans

Just as fire extinguishers are accessible to employees, response plans must be accessible to responders. Companies should involve local fire departments and specialized emergency responders in the development of fire pre plans, and conduct coordinated fire drills to ensure the safety of individuals and response capabilities of responders.

 

Challenged with managing preparedness amongst your various facilites? Download TRP's best practices guide on response planning for large organizations with multi-facility operations.

Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Emergency Management, Response Plans, Emergency Management Program

4 Preparedness Templates Every Response Plan Administrator Must Have

Posted on Thu, May 08, 2014

Every company, whether an industrial enterprise or a large office building management group, must operate profitably and ensure the safety of its employees, yet comply with a complex array of federal, state and local regulations.  A lack of response planning and neglectful preparedness efforts can result in regulatory compliance fines, infrastructure damage, a negative public perception, and possibly a government-mandated shutdown of operations. While response plan requirements vary by industry, operation, and applicable regulations, utilizing these four preparedness elements can lay the foundation for a basic response planning program.

1. Emergency Response Plan: Every effort should be made to include processes and procedures to respond to the most likely emergency scenarios relevant to your site. Depending on industry, operations, and site hazards, companies may be required to submit specialized response plans to one or a variety of federal regulatory agencies.

Emergency responses plans need to serve a specific response purpose and meet explicit planning objectives. Below is a list of some basic planning objectives that may be relevant to your facility:

  1. Establish site-specific emergency response procedures for each potential threat, risk or emergency scenario. These may include, but are not limited to:
    1. Medical emergencies
    2. Hazardous releases
    3. Fire
    4. Severe weather
    5. Security issues
  2. Design an emergency response team framework and assign personnel to fill primary and alternate roles.
  3. Define notification and emergency response team activation procedures.
  4. Establish communication procedures and a primary and alternate Emergency Operations Center location.
  5. Identify and quantify necessary response equipment
  6. Ensure emergency response team personnel receive applicable and required training.
  7. Establish mitigation procedures and protective actions to safeguard the health and safety of on-site personnel and nearby communities.
  8. Identify and ensure availability of responders and supply chain resources.
  9. Maintain compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal requirements for environmental hazards, response plans, and training requirements.
  10. Integrate best practices and lessons learned from past training and exercises, actual emergencies, and incident reviews.

2. Fire Pre plan: The purpose of the pre fire emergency plans is to ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. The information listed in a fire pre-plan, such as floor plan(s) and details of on-site hazardous material(s), may also required by multiple agencies (OSHA, DOT, EPA, USCG) as part of an overall emergency response plan.  However, specific fire fighting information, such as construction details, hydrant, and utility valve locations may be useful to responders if highlighted in a stand-alone format and shared with responders prior to an emergency.

Having up-to-date information readily available, and available to knowledgeable responders has been proven to limit the duration of the emergency.  The faster responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained...and the sooner facility operations can be restored to “business as usual”.

Response Plan Templates - TRP CORP

3. Business Continuity: Companies should establish methods to preserve critical business processes during adverse conditions to ensure operational viability and minimize the potential of lost revenues. Failure to develop an effective business continuity plan can lead to costly and devastating impacts, often affecting the long-term viability of a company.

The following business continuity planning cycle should be incorporated into every business process in order to reduce the duration of a disruption during an emergency.

  • PLAN: Identify the following -
    • Potential risks/threats
    • Trigger events
    • Impacted business processes/activities
    • Incident response structure
    • Warning and communication process
    • Recovery time objectives
  • ESTABLISH: Define the following -
    • Parameters of business continuity strategy
    • Communication and documentation processes
    • Training requirements
    • Detailed employee/ vendor contact information
    • Supplier dependencies and alternate resources
  • IMPLEMENT:
    • Initiate response checklists
    • Activate relocation strategies of critical processes
  • OPERATE: Manage critical processes and recovery time objectives.
  • MONITOR:
    • Equipment requirements
    • Primary and alternate facility details
    • Application and software requirements
  • MAINTAIN: Update key details and associated processes as deficiencies and inaccuracies are identified
  • CONTINUALLY IMPROVE: Incorporate lessons learned into the plans and training and periodically evaluate critical business processes to ensure that evolving businesses practices are captured.

4. Crisis Management Plan: When incidents occur, a crisis management plan (CMP) can minimize the escalation effect; such as a company’s short and long-term reputation, adverse financial performance, and overall impingement of company longevity. The associated level of preparedness may mean the difference between a crisis averted and an exhaustive corporate disaster.  

The following concepts should be utilized to generate an effective crisis management plan:

  • PREDICT: Identify all potential threats to “business as usual” operations. This can range from incidents requiring an emergency response to human resource controversies.
  • POSITION: Determine what your position or viewpoint will be on potential issues.
  • PREVENT: Take preventive measures to avert emergency situations and proactively deter negative perceptions. This includes generating effective response procedures and recovery processes for a variety of potential threats..
  • PLAN:  If mitigation efforts fail or an emergency situation arises, prepare a plan for responding to all internal and external aspects of the crisis. This may include identifying and communicating with media, and all audiences that may be affected by each crisis situation.
  • PERSEVERE: Follow your plan and communicate company positions and ongoing activities to counteract the incident. Proactive efforts, honesty, empathy, and preparedness will assist in maintaining company viability and reputation.
  • EVALUATE: If the CMP is enacted, review the results to determine if adjustments should be made.

 

Challenged with managing preparedness amongst your various facilites? Download TRP's best practices guide on response planning for large organizations with multi-facility operations.


Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Business Continuity, Fire Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Response Plans, Crisis Management, Emergency Response Planning, Business Continuity Plan

Supplemental Response Planning for Specific Threats

Posted on Thu, Feb 20, 2014

Every crisis situation and required response is unique. Comprehensive, compliant, and functional response plans should be created to address a broad scope of planned responses for a variety of probable emergency and crisis situations. However, if a facility has a high-risk potential for a specific scenario, supplemental response plans can be added to the overall emergency management program.

Incident-specific supplemental response plans should include many of the same details of an all-inclusive response plan including, but not limited to:

  • Details of hazard-specific location(s)
  • Evacuation routes
  • Plot Plans
  • Specific provisions and protocols for warning employees, the public, and disseminating emergency information
  • Personal protective and response equipment, and detection devices
  • Policies and processes for each specific hazard
  • Roles and responsibilities

Supplemental plans should be aligned with company protocols, site-specific personnel details, and specialized training and exercise programs. Below are examples of potential supplemental response plans that can be added to a preparedness program.  

Fire Pre Plans: Fires cause billions of dollars in property damage and unnecessary deaths and injuries every year. Fire pre plans address site-specific information necessary to effectively fight a fire and limit exposures. Despite the response situation or circumstances, a fire pre plan form should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Building/site layout information
  • Fire suppression information
  • Hazards locations
  • Utility information
  • Exposure information
  • Water supply
  • Evacuation needs
  • Occupancy information
  • Special procedures for handling, storage and control of items that have been identified as major fire hazards
  • Mutual aid resources
  • Strategies

If applicable, specific chemical and hazardous details in regards to particular buildings, tanks, and/or process units, and the necessary foam requirements should be included in fire pre plans.

Hurricane Plans: If a site is located in a hurricane-prone area, conducting a business impact analysis prior to hurricane season can identify key process that may be interrupted during and after a hurricane. Once these processes are identified, hurricane planning can incorporate steps to limit the impact resulting from loss  of facilities, infrastructure, personnel, or supply chain. Below are some areas to consider when developing hurricane response plans:

  • Preparedness and response timeline
  • Structural integrity of the facility/location
  • Alternate location options
  • Records and software accessibility
  • Employee contact information
  • Communication methods
  • Dedicated hurricane response responsibilities
  • Equipment needs

A hurricane plan should include evacuation route maps or shelter in place areas. Evacuation routes and scope of evacuation may change depending on the location of the facility, potential storm intensity, forecasted path, or inherent risks.

TRP Corp - Supplemental Response Plan

Pandemic Plans: In the event that a health crisis emerges that affects the potential for continuity of operations, companies should establish a Pandemic Response Plan. A pandemic plan identifies how necessary resources and personnel can be optimized to support the organization, yet minimize the threat of mass contamination.

Pandemic response plans can define pandemic impact levels. Example levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 - Normal Operations, which include contact verification with key stakeholder (both internal and external) and conducting pandemic plan briefings
  • Level 2 - Business as usual with staff directed to work from remote locations, if feasible
  • Level 3 - Business as usual with limited on-site staff.  (Only essential employees who cannot work remotely would report on-site)
  • Level 4 - Emergency Service Level with normal levels of operation with minimum staffing.
  • Level 5 - All non-critical operations are suspended and critical business processes are examined for those that can be suspended
  • Level 6 - Return to normal operations after situational assessment

Additional Natural Disasters: Natural hazards tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because of weather patterns or physical characteristics of an area. Depending on your specific location-based risks, the following hazards specific information may be developed as a supplemental plan:

  • Floods
  • Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms and Lightning
  • Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
  • Extreme Heat
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
  • Tsunamis
  • Wildfires

Business Continuity Plans (BCP):  Any divergent situation may impact a company's optimal operational level. The primary purpose of a BCP is to minimize financial and operational impacts of a business interruption and to ensure ongoing viability. A BCP provides a mechanism for the continuity of, and safeguarding of key business interests, relationships, and assets. While a BCP cannot prevent occurrences from disrupting business operations, it can provide insight to mitigation opportunities, a focused plan to respond to incidents, maximize efficiency based on the given parameters, and a pathway of how to restore operations to normal productivity. The following are key concepts that should be considered when developing a BCP:

  • Identify business processes that are critical to your continued operation
  • Determine what personnel, software, and vendors are required to continue these processes
  • Identify alternate locations where these processes can be maintained in the event of a loss to critical facilities
  • Identify how communications will be maintained
  • Provide awareness and training for these identified personnel to support the continuity of operations
For a free download on Fire Pre Plans, click the image below:

Tags: Pandemic Planning, Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Emergency Management Program, Business Continuity Plan, Tornado Preparedness

Fire Pre Plan Forms - Success is in the Details!

Posted on Mon, Jan 06, 2014

Safeguarding businesses from fire and subsequent losses should begin with pre-planning, effective mitigation measures, employees training, and local responder coordination. Fire pre-planning should be used to bolster overall EHS objectives subjected to regulatory requirements. However, according to the National Fire Protection Associations (NFPA), between 2006 and 2010 fire damage cost industrial and manufacturing facilities an estimated $951 million each year.

Many industrial facilities contain unique hazards and obstacles, making it more difficult to manage an effective response to a fire.  By removing uncertainties and hazards associated with a company’s facilities, included emergency response strategies and tactical decision-making processes can empower responders to react expeditiously and potentially limit damage to buildings. Through coordinated efforts, local responders can enter into an emergency situation conscious of existing factors and minimize unnecessary risk, while giving the responders every possible advantage in responding effectively to a fire. 

Site-specific information is the foundation of an effective fire pre plan. Fire pre plans generally include information that will be used by decision makers at the incident. The following key fire pre plan components should be common to most fire pre plans: The plan must:

  • Be in writing
  • List major site hazards
  • Include a plot plan
  • Have current information

Fire Pre Planning Forms - TRP Corp

Establishing company-wide pre-plan templates ensures information is recorded in a uniform manner. However, pre plans are only effective if accurate and pertinent information is included. Depending on the company’s operations, pre-plan templates can range from the simple to complex. Below is a compilation of insightful fire pre plan helpful hints from various first responders and fire departments:

  • Update plans and communicate with external responders and fire departments often! Include status updates of new buildings construction and renovations being performed.
  • Implement a means of easily accessible pre plan storage and retrieval.
  • Make forms easy to read! Responders may be reading these plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier to read, the better it is for all responders.
  • Separate large complexes into color-coded quadrants. Response strategies can be developed for each quadrant, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.
  • Update external responders on perimeter gate entry codes whenever changes are made.
  • Identify location of alarm panel locations, key box locations.
  • Specify location and identity of stored hazardous materials
  • Coordinate response exercises with fire department training drills
  • Implement lessons learned and new firefighting tactics into response plans

Responders continually verify the importance for fire pre plan simplicity, clarity and accuracy. From the initial information-gathering phase to a pre plan application during the response; crucial response information must be communicated effectively. Despite the response situation or circumstances, a fire pre plan form should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Building/site layout information
  • Fire suppression information
  • Hazards locations
  • Utility information
  • Exposure information
  • Water supply
  • Evacuation needs
  • Occupancy information
  • Special procedures for handling, storage and control of items that have been identified as major fire hazards
  • Mutual aid resources
  • Strategies

Companies with numerous locations and/or vast corporate complexes can greatly benefit from web-based fire pre planning, Responders can utilize mobile devices to search fire pre plan for specific data within seconds, access web cams for real time information, and/or download planning information for future reference. Companies that strive to maintain a large amount of pre planning information, , and struggle with consistency and secured plan accessibility should consider web-based technology.

For a free fire pre plan guide, click the image below:

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Emergency Response, Fire Preparedness, Workplace Safety

New Fire Fighting Technologies and Fire Pre Planning

Posted on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

Every year, thousands of firefighters are injured or killed while fighting fires, performing rescues, responding to emergency medical or hazardous material incidents, or participating in necessary training. In efforts to maximize safety, save lives, and minimize injuries of firefighters, innovative technologies are being utilized by fire departments across the United States.

According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, an estimated 81,070 firefighters are injured on the job annually in the United States, and through mid-September of 2013, 79 firefighter fatalities were reported. Structural fires are the causes of 87% of fire-related firefighter injuries. In an effort to maximize safety, access to web-based fire pre plans, as well as innovative firefighter technologies have been on the rise.

Firefighter Nation highlighted four areas where technology is making its impact on firefighting. Those areas include:

  • Tablet computers
  • Drones
  • Simulation Training
  • Importance of Preplanning

For decades, Fire Pre Plans were housed in binders or embedded within foldable maps. With the wide availability of mobile phones and tablets computers, cloud and web-based technologies have allowed fire departments to communicate real-time pre plan information and gather pertinent information at their fingertips. Tablets feature multiple communication methods, including email and instant messaging apps, as well as specialized information applications, such as WISER, that allow firefighters to determine the hazardous nature of the incident instantaneously. This year, Charlottesville Fire Department installed iPads in their engines, brush trucks, ladder truck, tanker, and command vehicle. Through the addition of mobile hardware, site-specific information, responder locations, and estimated response times can be transmitted to fire stations and other responders.

TRP Corp - Fire Pre Planning
Technology has enabled firefighter tracking to advance beyond typical GPS. Honeywell recently released GLANSER (Geo-spatial Location, Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders). According to Honeywell, GLANSER is “capable of tracking firefighters in a multi-story building within one to three meter’s accuracy, showing an incident commander what floor a firefighter is on, what area of the floor the firefighter is working in, and whether the firefighter needs help.” However, unlike typical tracking systems, GLANSER doesn’t rely on GPS. Tony Wyman, Honeywell First Responder Products Vice-president of Marketing stated,  “In an environment like an open field, GPS connectivity is a viable solution to the problem of finding and tracking a lost firefighter. But in a structure where GPS may be unable to penetrate, it might be worthless. What firefighters and incident commanders need, is a robust, scalable and affordable system that can operate reliably in a GPS-denied environment. That is what GLANSER can do.”  Honeywell plans to test the system with two major fire departments this summer and perform extensive field-testing in the second half of 2013.

Drones, once reserved for specialized military operations, have proven exceptionally effective in mapping forest fires and depicting the extent of flooding situations. Surveillance drones can provide real-time imagery affording responders a birds-eye view of an area. The recent California RIM fires and Colorado flooding highlighted the invaluable utilization of drones to evaluate and determine response limitations, countermeasures, and tactical solutions. Aerial images of the RIM fire allowed engineers to create predictive models of how the fire would potentially spread, allowing for effective countermeasure to be implemented.

According to Firefighting Nation, there are several effective training simulation software programs to assist firefighters in re-creating an emergency incident. The article mentions CommandSim, Digital Combustion, and Action Training Systems as potentially effective software training programs. To be most effective, simulation software should allow fire departments to download identified hazards and site-specific pre plan information into the simulation to reflect real-world applicable scenarios.

Despite the advancement in fire fighting technology, optimizing an effective response requires preparedness. Fire pre plans provide useful information about particular structures. Pre plans can be developed for schools, office buildings, hospitals, hotels, apartment buildings, shopping centers, laboratories, industrial facilities, and other sites. These plans may describe the building’s size, number of floors, construction details and materials, occupancy, and hazardous materials locations. Pre-incident photos, hydrant locations, and other water sources should be included in a pre plan in order to quickly determine how to approach a scene and identify the equipment necessary to combat the blaze. Web-based pre plan software can be easily shared with mutual-aid companies and additional responders, allowing for a unified and cohesive response.

For a free informative download on Fire Pre Planning, click the image below:

Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Training and Exercises, Virtualization

Incident Specific Response Planning

Posted on Thu, May 30, 2013

No two crisis situations or responses are identical. As a result, Emergency Managers and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Managers responsible for developing and managing comprehensive, compliant, and functional response plans should create a broad scope of planned responses for potential emergency and crisis situations. In many circumstances, response efforts to various incidents may be similar. However, supplemental response procedures for specific hazards or threats can be added to the overall emergency management program to address these scenarios.

Focused supplemental response procedures or plans, for specific events such as pandemic flu and hurricanes can encompass a full range of hazards and potential threats and unique response details that apply to that single hazard. Depending upon response plan structure and volume of content, hazard-specific information may be included within an all-hazards response plan, or created as a stand-alone plan.

Hazard or incident-specific plans should include the same level of detail as the basic response plan, including, but not limited to:

  • Specific location(s)
  • Contact information for internal and external responders
  • Evacuation routes
  • Plot Plans
  • Specific provisions and protocols for warning employees, the public, and disseminating emergency information
  • Personal protective equipment and detection devices
  • Policies and processes for each specific hazard response
  • Identification of additional potential hazards
  • Response team roles and responsibilities
  • Recovery and restoration processes

Just as in the primary response plan, a planning team may use supporting documents as necessary to clarify the contents of the incident specific plan. These supporting documents can include hazard specific aerial photographs, facility maps, checklists, resource inventories, and summaries of critical information. Supplemental response plans may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessment and control of the hazard information
  • Identification of unique prevention and preparedness of critical infrastructure/key resources
  • Initial protective actions
  • Communications procedures and warning systems
  • Implementation of protective actions
  • Identification of short-term stabilization actions
  • Implementation of recovery actions

TRP - incident response planning

Below are examples of potential supplemental response plans. Theses plans should be aligned with site-specific company facilities and personnel details.

  • Hurricane Plans:  Identifies response procedures and specific pre and post hurricane responsibilities according to landfall prediction timeline. May require providing evacuation route maps or shelter in place areas. Evacuation routes and scope of evacuation may change depending on the location of the facility, potential threats, or forecast.
  • Fire Pre Plans: Addresses specific information necessary to effectively fight a fire and limit exposures. Chemical and hazardous details in regards to particular buildings, tanks, and process units, and foam and water requirements should be included in fire pre plans.
  • Pandemic Plans: Documents procedures and methods necessary to maintain and restore operations of critical business processes in the event of a pandemic outbreak among the local population and workforce.
  • Additional Natural Disasters: Natural hazards tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because they are related to weather patterns or physical characteristics of an area. Depending on your specific risks, supplemental plans may be developed for one or more of the following:
    • Floods
    • Tornadoes
    • Thunderstorms and Lightning
    • Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
    • Extreme Heat
    • Earthquakes
    • Volcanoes
    • Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
    • Tsunamis
    • Wildfires

The planning development stage must include the identification of potential site specific hazards, and the critical responses necessary to respond to those hazards. To ensure consistency, it is a best practice for hazard-specific plans to follow the same layout and organizational format as the main response plan. This allows for familiarity and continuity, which enables the information to be identified and disseminated in a timely manner. Best practices also dictate that plans be developed during normal operational conditions, prior to any threatened outbreak. Training on the specific response plans allows for a complete understanding of assigned responsibilities and processes if an actual incident were to occur.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Event Preparedness, Extreme Weather, Hurricane Preparedness, Flood Preparedness, Emergency Action Plan

20 Corporate Emergency Preparedness and Planning Blogs

Posted on Mon, Apr 22, 2013

To ensure employee safety, business continuity, regulatory compliance, and environmental responsibility, companies must dedicate efforts to developing an effective emergency management program. Financial restraints, combined with a “it won’t happen to me” mentality often destroy a corporate preparedness commitment. However, neglecting the concept of a potential worst case scenario or daily operational risks can be detrimental to a company. Accidents, man-made and natural disasters, human error, and equipment failures occur throughout the world on a daily basis. Companies need to embrace the “not if, but when” discourse of response planning.

Below is a compilation of blogs that address emergency and disaster preparedness, from training and fire pre planning to demobilization and post-incident reviews. The information contained in these the blogs can be used to enhance preparedness efforts and reinforce safety, security, and regulatory compliance.

Initial Planning Efforts: Corporate preservation and resilience requires planning. Preparedness  can ensure response processes and procedures are in place to protect employees, the environment, and company assets, while minimizing the effects of an incident, sustaining or recovering operations, and complying with regulatory requirements. Every company is unique and requires site risk analysis, specific employee training, and tailored plans to suit their particular needs, in the event of an incident, disaster, crisis, or disruption. Although circumstances are unique to the needs of each company, the following blogs provide  planning initiatives that may be applicable:

  1. Hazardous Material Response Team Training Requirements
  2. Emergency Response Team Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Business Impact Analysis for Risk Mitigation
  4. Facility Risk Management Planning
  5. The Responsibility of Oil Spill Response: The Qualified Individual

Plan Types: Companies are unique in terms of geographic location, personnel, type of operations, and management approach. As a result, various plan types may be required to address various hazards and regulatory requirements. Specific risks and threats are unique to company, industry, region, and enterprise operations and should be addressed through site-specific plans. Below is a sampling of blogs detailing various plan types that are utilized:

  1. Pre Fire Plan Checklist
  2. The Four Phases of a Business Continuity Plan
  3. Emergency Planning for Natural Disasters
  4. SPCC and Oil Contingency Plans
  5. Corporate Level Emergency Management Plans

TRP Corp - Company emergency planning

Initial Response: Understanding the process and procedures set forth in the response plans, as well as the management of those plans, dictate the initial effectiveness of a response. Executing an effective response can be a complex process of managing multiple simultaneous  elements to ensure a swift and success recovery. Response actions require flexibility, ongoing communication, command unity, resource management, and more. The blogs below address various topics that reflect the procedural and managerial response aspects associated in specific incidents:

  1. Disaster Management Planning Details
  2. Top 10 Checklist for Confined Space Entry
  3. 10 Commonly used Incident Management Forms
  4. Real-Time Incident Management Speeds Up Incident Response
  5. Seven HAZWOPER Training Categories and Response Capabilities

Post Incident: Once an incident is concluded, it is vital to conduct a thorough and objective response evaluation.  A post incident review is one of the most neglected aspects of preparedness, yet it can enhance and strengthen a company’s response management and recovery operations. Response assessments should be all-inclusive, from preparedness to demobilization, and reveal strengths, weaknesses, and concerns based upon organizational and institutional standards. Collaborative industrial and historical lessons learned should be continually reflected in preparedness planning. Utilizing the knowledge of employees, experts, and those involved in previous incidents can streamline response measures for future situations.

  1. 10 Points for a Post Incident Management Critique
  2. Crisis Management Reviews Identify Deficiencies
  3. The Emergency Response Plan- Demobilization and Post Incident Review
  4. 5 Key Point to Review in Facility Emergency Operations Plans
  5. Use "Lessons Learned" to Improve Emergency Response

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

TRP Download

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Emergency Response, Emergency Management, Resiliency, Training and Exercises, Emergency Management Program, Event Preparedness

Industrial Fire Pre Plans and Fire Fighting Tactics

Posted on Mon, Nov 19, 2012

An industrial fire erupted on October 11, 2012 at an Ohio processing plant that produces cattle feed from vegetable oil.  After battling the flames for two hours, fire crews evacuated, due to the potential for explosion of nearby rail cars. According to the Willoughby News Herald, Painesville Township Fire Chief Frank Whittaker said, “The vegetable oil process contained in the cars was not dangerous by itself, but under pressure from the heat of the flames the tankers could vent, potentially causing a catastrophic explosion.”

During a fire response, circumstances can change in an instant. Having current information regarding site-specific facility hazards prior to arriving at an incident can assist in determining response methods and necessary equipment. Utilizing a shared fire pre-plan can minimize impacts and potential catastrophes caused by ill-informed responders. Fire pre-plans can ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. The faster responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained.

Industrial fire pre-plans should include the following information, at a minimum:

Building Information:
Address and other location details
Construction and roofing materials
Building use and contents
Access/egress points
Typical occupancy
Floor plans
Utility details
Description of emergency lighting and alarms
Fire Protection Equipment:
Type of smoke detectors
Sprinkler systems
Description of and location of fire extinguishers
Location of fire hydrants/extinguishers
Special Hazards:
Type and location of hazards
Flammable materials within the facility and immediate surrounding area
Low hanging power lines
Transformers
Photographs:
Aerial photograph showing building and surrounding area
Ground-level photographs of exterior sides of building
Tank Specifications:
Content Information
Type and dimensions
Capacity
Valve details
Foam requirements

Fire planning - TRP Corp

Whittaker revealed that the processing plant fire warranted a defensive response approach from beginning to end. With a combination of the information contained in a fire pre plan and the scope of the incident observed on scene, incident commanders are able evaluate the risk versus reward factors in determining firefighting tactics. If a scenario dictates extreme risks with very little reward, aggressive mitigation and response actions may be terminated in favor of a defensive firefighting mode. After civilian rescue efforts are terminated, the defensive mode is typically chosen to isolate or stabilize an incident, preventing further escalation.

Situations that may dictate an industrial defensive firefighting tactic may include, but not limited to:

  • Unsafe structure with no exposure to personnel or residential areas
  • Facility Unsafe conditions for firefighter entry
  • Fire beyond control of firefighting equipment or initial response unit
  • Impact limited to immediate vicinity

Industrial fire pre-planning will provide many of the details required to assist in a firefighting scenario, as well as provide the tools to determine the potential for a building collapse. Building classification, construction, incident duration, occupancy, fire location, and size of the incident are factors to consider in determining response tactics. However, the incident commander must continually re-evaluate the scenario and adjust the response as necessary. If a structural collapse is evident, responders and witnesses may observe the following;

  • Bulges in walls
  • Interior or exterior wall cracks
  • Audible sounds of structural movement
  • Water flowing through exterior walls
  • Water run-off is less than amount being pumped into building
  • Truss construction with direct fire involvement for longer than 5-10 minutes

Fire pre-plans provide key information necessary to improve the potential for a successful response, which may ultimately save lives and reduce property damage. The more specific information responders can obtain prior to an incident, the better equipped they are to respond with the most effective firefighting tactics within their capabilities.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Incident Action Plan, Fire Preparedness

Fire: The Most Common Emergency Hazard for Businesses

Posted on Thu, Sep 13, 2012

Every year, fires cause billions of dollars in property damage and unnecessary deaths and injuries. Safeguarding businesses from fire loss should begin with fire pre-planning, effective mitigation measures, and employees training.

During 2006-2010, an estimated 42,800 fires in or at industrial or manufacturing properties (including utility, defense, agriculture, and mining) were reported to U.S. fire departments per year, with associated annual losses of 22 civilian deaths, 300 civilian injuries, and $951 million in direct property damage. - National Fire Protection Association

Fire Pre-plans can remove many of the uncertainties surrounding a company’s emergency planning strategy and tactical decision-making process. As a result, local responders can enter into an emergency situation conscious of existing factors, minimizing unnecessary risk. These plans should enhance the detail of an emergency response plan, giving the responders every possible advantage in responding effectively to a fire.

FEMA  provides a variety of suggestions that can be included in the developmental planning process. Companies should consider the following:

  • Collaborative planning with local fire department. Identify and discuss potential hazards.
  • Coordinate a facility fire hazards inspection by the responding local fire department.
  • Seek assistance in identifying applicable fire codes and regulations.
  • Establish employee training that highlights fire prevention and containment methods, if applicable.
  • Establish and identify alarm system and subsequent evacuation procedures.
  • Conduct evacuation drills using maps of evacuation routes. It is crucial to keep evacuation routes clear of obstructions and debris.
  • Assign personnel to monitor shutdown, evacuation, and muster procedures.
  • Identify and mark all utility shut off locations so that they can be shut off quickly by fire wardens or responding personnel.
  • Establish procedures for proper fire prevention handling and storage of flammable liquids and gases.
  • Establish a preventive equipment maintenance schedule to reduce fire risk.
  • Place fire extinguishers in appropriate locations and install smoke detectors. Extinguishers must be inspected annually. Test detectors monthly and change batteries at least once a year.
  • Consider installing a sprinkler system, fire hoses and fire-resistant walls and doors as part of mitigation measures.

TRP Corp Fire Planning

Fire prevention requirements for businesses vary based on numerous operational and location factors specific to each individual business. However, there are several common state-adopted fire code regulations based on the National Fire Protection Association standard. Local authorities, such as cities and counties, typically set more stringent and advanced fire codes levels than those at the state level.  It is important to collaborate with local fire departments to ensure compliance and identify the level of internal response appropriate for the specific operations and consistent with employee training.

FEMA lays out five level of response that most businesses will adopt if a fire occurs at the site. Options include:

  1. Option 1 -- Immediate evacuation of all personnel at the onset of specific alarms.
  2. Option 2 -- All personnel are trained in fire extinguisher use. Personnel in the immediate area of a fire attempt to prevent spreading, as per appropriate training. In addition, the fire alarm is sounded and all personnel evacuate.
  3. Option 3 -- Only designated personnel are trained in fire extinguisher use.
  4. Option 4 -- A fire team is trained to fight incipient-stage fires that can be controlled without protective equipment or breathing apparatus. Beyond this level fire, the team evacuates.
  5. Option 5 -- A fire team is trained and equipped to fight fires using protective equipment and breathing apparatus.

Well-trained employees are invaluable during a fire. For additional information on assessing employee capabilities for firefighting and appropriate response options, see TRP’s blog entitled Applicability of Emergency Action Plans and Fire Extinguisher Use. The culmination of the emergency planning process and development of an effective plan should minimize operational disruptions, and improve organizational stability and recovery time.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Incident Management, Facility Management, Emergency Action Plan

OSHA Tank Fire Prevention - Hot Work Mitigation Measures

Posted on Mon, Jun 11, 2012

Two contractors were welding atop a 10,000-gallon slurry tank when hot sparks ignited flammable vapors inside the tank, causing an explosion that killed one contractor and seriously injured another. The Chemical Safety Board (CSB) determined that the November 9, 2010 incident was caused by the increased temperature of the metal tank, sparks falling into the tank, or vapor wafting from the tank into the hot work area.

As a result, the CSB set forth new recommendations regarding “hot work”, which is defined as welding, cutting, grinding, or other spark-producing activities. Recommendations include:

  • Enforce safety procedures for hot work permits and ensure explosion hazards associated with hot work activity are recognized and mitigated.
  • Revise corporate procedures to require all process piping and vent piping be positively isolated before authorizing any hot work.
  • Require air monitoring for flammable vapor inside tanks and other containers where hot work is to be performed.

hot work - trp corpAdvanced planning, safe work procedures, and mitigation measures can help prevent tank fires and explosions caused by hot works activities. The Occupational Safety and Health Standard (OSHA), 1910.252(a)(3)(i), states that “No welding, cutting, or other hot work shall be performed on used drums, barrels, tanks or other containers until they have been cleaned so thoroughly as to make absolutely certain that there are no flammable materials present or any substances such as greases, tars, acids, or other materials which when subjected to heat, might produce flammable or toxic vapors. Any pipe lines or connections to the drum or vessel shall be disconnected or blanked.”

According to OSHA, possible mitigation measures for hot work include:

  • Perform hot work in a safe location, or with fire hazards removed or covered
  • Use guards to confine the heat, sparks, and slag, and to protect the immovable fire hazards.
  • Do not perform hot work where flammable vapors or combustible materials exist. Work and equipment should be relocated outside of the hazardous areas, when possible.
  • Make suitable fire-extinguishing equipment immediately available. Such equipment may consist of pails of water, buckets of sand, hose, or portable extinguishers.
  • Assign additional personnel (fire watch) to guard against fire while hot work is being performed. Fire watchers are required whenever welding or cutting is performed in locations where anything greater than a minor fire might develop
  • Monitor the atmosphere with a gas detector. If a flammable or combustible gas exceeds 10 percent of the lower explosive level (LEL), the work must be stopped. Identify the source of the gas and repair the leakage.

Although mitigation measures can limit the potential for hot work accidents, companies should create a fire pre-plan to reduce response times and improve the effectiveness of a response in the event of a fire.

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, OSHA, Fire Preparedness, CSB