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Administrative and Logistical Considerations in Response Planning

Posted on Thu, Dec 05, 2013

Corporate emergency preparedness can be defined as the preemptive activities that establish a state of readiness to effectively respond to events that could affect the health and safety of employees, facilities, the environment, and/or the community. These actions, which ideally consist of planning, training, equipping, exercising, evaluating, and mitigating, are required to sustain operational capabilities, despite a range of incident management scenarios.  It is the goal of corporate preparedness to protect individuals, the integrity and functionality of infrastructures, and viability while minimizing the adverse operational impacts of events.

Many aspects of preparedness rely on underlying administrative duties and associated response plans. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), preparedness plans are meant to describe how personnel, equipment, and other governmental and nongovernmental resources will be used to support incident management requirements. These plans represent the operational core of preparedness and provide mechanisms for:

  • Establishing priorities
  • Implementing response functions
  • Integrating multiple entities
  • Establishing collaborative relationships
  • Ensuring communications systems and procedures support incident management activities

There are a wide range of administrative actions associated with achieving a state of preparedness and attaining response goals.  In particular, documents or response plans written prior to the emergency allow for comprehensive review of procedures that may result in improvements in plan and response to actual emergency scenarios. A variety of regulatory authorities govern most aspects of company preparedness administrative procedures and practices.  These requirements may be dictated by company policy, local, state, and/or federal governmental agencies.

A typical response planning process requires ample time for the administrative duties. These duties may encompass details associated with hazard identification, review of plan drafts, exercising the plan, integration of mitigation efforts, training evaluations, and plan distribution. In addition to a yearly review, plan modifications may require administrative efforts:

  • After each training drill or exercise
  • After each emergency
  • When personnel or their responsibilities change
  • When the layout or design of the facility changes
  • When policies or procedures change

Prior to an incident, required corporate preparedness administrative duties and actions may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Establishing a written emergency management plan
  • Maintaining training records
  • Mitigation efforts communication and documentation
  • Documenting training, exercises, and associated critiques
  • Communicating with emergency response organizations during planning activities. 
Administrative actions during and after an emergency may include:
  • Maintaining telephone logs
  • Keeping a detailed record of events
  • Maintaining a record of injuries and follow-up actions
  • Accounting for personnel
  • Coordinating notification of family members
  • Issuing press releases
  • Maintaining sampling records
  • Managing finances
  • Coordinating personnel services
  • Documenting incident investigations and recovery operations
  • Response plan maintenance
  • Regulatory submittals

Preparedness administrative duties are often the responsibility of an environmental, health and safety (EHS) department. The size of the planning or incident management team will depend on a facility's operations, requirements, and resources. However, each position within the team has unique planning administrative duties specific to the nature of their responsibility. The responsibilities of the logistics section chief, as well as the planning section chief, rely heavily on organized administrative efforts. The potential complexity of site emergency response logistics should be analyzed, optimized, and communicated within the response plan.  Logistical documentation of the expected and actual resource flow of an incident can minimize response time and maximize efficiency.

Before an emergency, logistical duties may include the following:

  • Identify and acquire service and support requirements for planned and expected operations
  • Supply allocation details
  • Designating emergency facilities
  • Establishing training facilities
  • Establishing mutual aid agreements
  • Preparing a resource inventory
  • Provide input to and review the response plan(s)

During an emergency, logistics may entail:

  • Participating in preparation of the Incident Action Plan (IAP)
  • Providing utility maps to emergency responders
  • Providing material safety data sheets to employees
  • Coordinating and processing requests for additional resources
  • Repairing equipment
  • Arranging for medical support, food and transportation
  • Arranging for shelter facilities
  • Providing for backup power
  • Providing for backup communications
  • Recommend release of resources in conformity with Incident Demobilization Plan
 

 

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