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The Top Ten Reasons to Advance Company Emergency Preparedness

Posted on Mon, Nov 12, 2012

Revisions made to emergency response plans during or following an incident are often the results of unforeseen circumstances or inadequate planning. However, continual improvement of an emergency management program is necessary to ensure company preparedness.

Innovative techniques and lessons learned should be continually incorporated into an emergency preparedness program.  Companies should prioritize advancements and emergency management budgets accordingly. But “change for change’s sake” does not typically enhance programs. The evolution process of an emergency management program should aim to perpetuate improved response and operational recovery times, and enhance company viability despite crisis scenarios.

Regardless of regulatory compliance initiatives or history of actual emergencies, companies should budget to advance emergency preparedness.  Below are the Top 10 Reasons companies should advance their emergency preparedness program:

#10. Streamline and standardize improved response methods:  A consistent company-wide emergency response management system that delivers common processes with site specific details for assessing, prioritizing, and responding to incidents allows employees and responders to conceptualize their roles and responsibilities throughout the company. Standardization allows a common understanding, enabling a synchronized response.

#9. Optimize drills and training: Employee training, emergency response drills, and applicable exercises identify deficiencies in emergency response planning programs. Testing emergency plans with detailed scenarios and incorporating appropriate response training will improve response capabilities and coordination, and reduce response times.

#8 Improve regulatory compliance: Costly non-compliance fines result from the lack of  implemented, thorough,  compliance programs. By systematically aligning emergency plans and their components with corresponding regulations, companies can identify and amend plan deficiencies that may result in fines and potential government mandated shutdowns.

#7. Simplify and automate emergency management: Emergency management can be an administratively taxing endeavor. Continual administrative duties associated with personnel contact information, assignments, training records, exercises, and continual plan updates may be inadequate to sustain an optimal program. Maximizing efficiency through advancements in technology can minimize  time associated with maintaining emergency response plans

#6. Improve asset utilization: Companies must 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 current inefficiencies, and/or budgeting for additional response training or improved equipment will improve the overall effectiveness of an emergency management program.

#5. Proactively demonstrate a commitment to safety:  By prioritizing an emergency management program, a company demonstrates the foresight to address a crisis situation and associated challenges, and proactively affirm efforts to ensure the safety of employees, the environment, and the surrounding communities.

#4. Improve conditions:  Harmful conditions pose a risk to occupants, facilities, the environment, and/or surrounding communities. By eliminating or mitigating potentially adverse conditions, unsafe activities, or ineffective responses, companies can reduce the potential for and effect of emergency situations. The risk assessment process can be used to reduce or eliminate harmful conditions that lead to incidents.

#3. Reduce Incidents:  By identifying potential threats and risks, mitigation and preventative measures can be taken to reduce the potential of an incident from occurring. 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.

#2. Help reduce downtime:  Operational downtime and production loss 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 include detrimental relationships with customers, the surrounding community, and stakeholders.

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

Implementing a new enterprise-wide emergency management system offers advantageous opportunities to better the effectiveness of the overall framework of the emergency management program. 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.

Emergency preparedness programs shouldn’t be created for “if an emergency happens”, but for “when an emergency happens.” Disaster can and will strike at any time – whether it’s from human error, faulty equipment, or the elements.

For a sample Emergency Response Checklist, download our helpful and informative guide.

Tags: Emergency Management, Resiliency, Business Risk, Emergency Management Program, Safety, Workplace Safety, Business Disruption