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EHS Training of Basic Emergency Response Communication Details

Posted on Thu, Sep 19, 2013

Emergency planning is an ongoing process. Preparing for every unknown site-specific contingencies is potentially unrealistic. Yet, planning for every all-inclusive identified incidents is daunting and time consuming. Despite scenario specifics, the need to communicate detailed site information remains constant. While every effort should be made to include processes and procedures for the most likely and applicable emergency scenarios relevant to your operations, training employees on the basic site-specific response facts is fundamental in emergency management.

The need to swiftly communicate accurate and pertinent information is common to each emergency scenario. Detailed information should be readily available to ensure all emergency managers, response personnel, and applicable agencies are quickly notified in the event of an incident. Information, at a minimum should include:

  • Location
  • Type of incident (medical, fire, oil spill, etc.)
  • Casualties or injured parties

There is a fine line between comprehensive details and overwhelming information. Developing a summary of key facility details will enable initial responders to quickly relay features of the facility and its operations. Although the structure of a company’s emergency response team can vary, personnel should have basic knowledge of the following site-specific incident response information:

  • Location of Emergency Response Plan
  • Location of Response Pre-Plans
  • Overview and contact information for on-site Security
  • Instructions on who to contact and how to activate alarms, if applicable
  • Identification of on-site Incident Commander
Individuals who demonstrate a clear understanding of their response team role(s) and responsibilities are better prepared to implement a streamlined and effective response. Response plans with detailed site information provide the necessary foundation for a response team to build from. However, a short summary of approved response procedures, in addition to a full-scale emergency response plan, can assist non-response team members in performing initial response efforts. Response plan contents should include, at a minimum, the following general information:
  • Facility Name
  • Address
  • Latitude/Longitude
  • Contact Number
  • Contact Person (and/or facility manager)/contact number(s)
  • Site Description, including detailed information such as operations, products handled, number of employees, and any specific physical attributes
  • Summary of Physical Site Attributes
    • Identification of waterways in the vicinity
    • Summary of site drainage properties
    • Site topography
    • Site security features, including fencing, visitor access, and lighting

Companies can expand upon facility specific information by incorporating and sharing fire pre-plans with response groups. Fire pre plans provide useful, site-specific information for responding to fires in schools, office buildings, hospitals, hotels, apartment buildings, shopping centers, laboratories, and other structures. Identification of pertinent emergency response information and up-to-date photographs can greatly assist firefighters in understanding the hazards and best strategy for rescues, and reducing potential for injuries and property damage.

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 may be useful to responders if highlighted in a stand-alone format and shared with responders prior to an emergency. Information to include when developing fire pre plans are as follows:

  • Building Information
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Alarms/Emergency Lighting
  • Fire Protection Equipment
  • Special Hazards
  • Building floor plans/photographs
  • Photographs

Making site-specific facility information and response procedures available to employees, internal response teams, and local first responders improves the potential for a successful response. The faster responders can identify, locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained. Expediting response efforts through preparedness and response training can minimize the harmful effects of an incident.

For a free download of a Response Procedures Flow Chart, click the image below:

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Tags: Response Plans, Incident Management, Training and Exercises, Communication Plan, Safety, Notification Systems