Emergency management programs are in place for “when” an emergency happens, not “if” an emergency happens.
Natural disaster, human error, homegrown terrorism, regulatory compliance, equipment failure, or an awareness of potential crises...the list of emergency scenarios can be extensive. When companies prioritize emergency response planning, they can optimize their response. However, the cost/benefit of effective emergency management programs is often greater than expected. Below are ten “best practice” reasons why your company should prioritize emergency response programs and preparedness initiatives:
1. Demonstrate a commitment to safety: Companies should confirm that safety is a priority. By establishing proven countermeasures to potential threats and associated risks, companies can substantiate that the safety of employees and the protection of surrounding communities and the environment is important. Prioritizing emergency preparedness initiatives demonstrates a company’s commitment.
2. Improve regulatory compliance: Regulatory non-compliance fines are an unnecessary expense. These costly fines can result from the lack of implemented, thorough, and compliant programs. By systematically aligning regulations with corresponding response plans and their components, your company can identify plan deficiencies to avoid unnecessary fines or possible mandatory shutdowns.
3. Simplify updating processes: One of the main reasons response plans aren’t effective is because they are outdated. Continual administrative duties associated with personnel contact information, assignments, training records, exercises, and continual plan updates is challenging. Maintaining up-to-date response plan has become significantly easier with advanced technology and innovative software programs. If your company has not evaluated available programs, the cost and time associated with maintaining current administratively taxing response plans may be worth the investment.Implementing a technologically advanced enterprise-wide emergency management system offers opportunities to increase the effectiveness of planning and preparedness efforts. 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.
4. Standardize response methods: A consistent, company-wide emergency response management system can deliver site-specific details and management endorsed response processes. Standardization allows employees and responders to conceptualize their roles and responsibilities across an enterprise, creating a common understanding of intended actions. Consistent, yet site specific response methods can assist responders in assessing, prioritizing, and responding to incidents.
5. Improve asset utilization: Companies should 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 identified inefficiencies, and/or budgeting for additional response training or improved equipment will improve the overall effectiveness of an emergency management program.
6. Mitigate facility/site conditions: The conditions of your facility or site may have an impact on safety or an effective response. Conditions that pose a risk to occupants, the environment, infrastructures, and/or the surrounding communities should be altered or eliminated. The risk assessment process can be used to identify conditions that can lead to emergency incidents.
7. Reduce incidents through risk assessments: When potential threats and risks are identified, measures can be taken to minimize the impacts of those scenarios or possibly eliminate the potential of the emergency. 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.
8. Reduce downtime: Emergencies can cause operational downtime and production loss. This impact profits and 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 also include detrimental relationships with customers, the surrounding community, and stakeholders.
9. Cost savings: Proactive compliance efforts, safety initiatives, training and exercises, and response and resiliency planning are typically less expensive than regulatory fines, sustained response efforts, and overall repercussions resulting from an incident.
10.Elevate training and drills: Employee training, emergency response drills and applicable exercises identify deficiencies in emergency response planning programs. Incorporating appropriate response training and testing response plans with detailed scenarios will improve response capabilities and coordination, as well as reduce response times.