Companies must proactively affirm their responsibility to ensure the safety of employees, the environment, and the surrounding communities by prioritizing a corporate emergency management program. Through targeted response planning, mitigation efforts, and overall preparedness initiatives, companies can validate their commitment to address impactful emergency situations, and set an example for staff, industrial counterparts, and the surrounding communities.
Collaboration and coordination are crucial elements of response planning and corporate responsibility. In order to fulfill these critical corporate emergency management elements, managers should:
- Obtain and foster leadership commitment from all response disciplines (Incident Response Team, EMS, Fire, and Police Departments)
- Ensure collaboration and coordination efforts are included in response plan processes and procedures
- Interface with local leadership to ensure community awareness and resource support
Establish relationship sustainability with all stakeholders through ongoing communications
- Plan and budget for ongoing updates to emergency management systems, procedures, and documentation
Whether response planning is mandated by corporate policy or regulatory agencies, advancing preparedness and fulfilling a responsibility to employees and the community must be a priority. As a result, companies should, at a minimum, examine the following emergency management planning elements to incorporate site-specific details:
Public and Private Services and Resources: Emergency managers should continually meet with government agencies, community organizations, and utility companies throughout the entire planning cycle to discuss likely emergencies and the available resources. During a response, these entities can provide services necessary to minimize the effects of the incident and allow for a more timely response.
Health, Safety, and Environmental Response: Personnel, contractors, and additional response team members must be aware of their predefined roles, responsibilities, and assignments. By identifying specific personnel training needs and responder capabilities, all potential hazards should be accounted for in order to support a cohesive and effective response.
Operational Communications: Communicating timely and accurate information to/among facility managers, critical decision makers, emergency response teams, stakeholders, vendors and contractors, and the public is an important element to any emergency management function. From notification to demobilization, steady correspondence in conjunction with commonly understood terminology is essential for clear communication. An effective response relies heavily on the ability to put forth effective communications.
Situational Assessments and Strategic Responses: Improving reactive decision management, timely communications, and swift implementation of response strategies can minimize the resulting effects of an emergency situation. Continual tactical discussions should reveal situational details that enable response strategies to be implemented or altered. Situational assessments are crucial to the decision-making process regarding lifesaving and life sustaining activities, as well as identifying resources necessary to procure incident stabilization and meet basic human needs.
Mass Health Care, Search Assistance, and Rescue Operations: Broadening the scope of response expertise can greatly benefit a facility. Local agencies, health care providers, and specialized contractors may provide additional response knowledge based on particular research, experiences, or occupational training in a particular area of study. Establishing relationships and memorandums of understanding with assisting entities allows all parties a comprehensive understanding of response capabilities and the potential needs of the community and response team.
Critical Transportation: Plot plans, evacuation maps, and tactical planning details allow for site specific information regarding transportation interests and directional awareness. Identifying adequate access and egress points at the facility and potential response location(s) allows responders to minimize response time.
On-scene Security and Protection: Due to increased public attention and on-site population created at disaster locations, preparing for and responding with additional security measures should be part of the emergency management processes. Response security protocols should be reviewed to educate security personnel on roles and responsibilities, and inform responders of potential security measures. Such exercises can strengthen security awareness and reduce the potential for added security-related incidents.