Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Top TRP Corp Emergency Preparedness Blogs of 2013

Posted on Mon, Jan 13, 2014

As we begin 2014, we would like to share our subscribers’ top ten TRP blogs from 2013.  While the topics vary, the goal of each blog is to provide resources to assist in developing effective emergency, crisis, and business continuity plans and programs. It is our hope that emergency and crisis managers, first responders, and safety professionals can utilize these blogs to advance their emergency management and business continuity efforts in 2014.

TRP’s Top Ten 2013 Blogs include:

10. Managing Multiple Incidents Through ICS: Managing a single incident can be challenging. Managing multiple incidents demands an organized, coordinated, and thoroughly exercised response plan. This blog explore the use of the Incident Command System (ICS), a common organizational structure designed to aid in incident management activities, and core concepts that can greatly assist in the overall response of a multiple incident or crisis event.

9. Office Building Emergency Management and Emergency Action Plans. In order to prioritize safety, office building management should include a customized Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) program that complies with pertinent regulatory requirements, and includes site-specific safety and evacuation procedures. This blog specifically highlights common office building health and safety hazards, and emergency action plan components required by OSHA.

8. Success, Failure, and the Emergency Response Exercise: Prompted by a LinkedIn discussion on the effects of specifically designing an exercise to match response capabilities, this blog identifies suggested exercise objectives that participants should comprehend and demonstrate during the course of an exercise.

7. Emergency Management Planning and Social Media: This blog discusses the ever increasing and merging communications applications that are creating a new outlet within emergency management. With pertinent information readily available through various sources, the decision-making process and applicable response can be accelerated, potentially minimizing the effects of the incident. However, companies must develop processes for monitoring social media content during an incident in order to collect accurate real-time intelligence and respond accordingly.

6. The Incident Action Plan Begins with Incident Command: This blog details the benefits of incorporating the Incident Command System (ICS) into an emergency management program and highlights Incident Commander response priorities and responsibilities. At the onset of an incident, Incident Commanders can utilize ICS elements to develop incident-specific strategic objectives and facilitate necessary response procedures.

5. Twitter Hashtags in Emergency Management: With the surge of social media usage, companies are engaging in and utilizing the boundless information available from interactive platforms such as Twitter. This blog highlights the use of the Twitter hashtag tool (#), which allows readers to connect to specific topics or incidents, and identifies some of the most popular hashtags used for emergency management related issues.

4. The Tabletop Exercise and Emergency Response Plan: Tabletop exercises can often reveal shortcomings in preparedness planning and responder knowledge. The blog identifies the minimum components necessary for a tabletop exercise and ways to utilize its results to improve the effectiveness of a preparedness program.

3.Extended Power Outages Require Business Continuity Planning: As active weather patterns continue to course across the United States, residents and businesses in the path of these extreme storms are often plagued with power outages. This blog discusses the need for specific response plans and emphasizes the urgency to evaluate Business Continuity Plans.

2.Ten Safety Training Videos to Bolster Emergency Management: Companies often use safety training videos to supplement required instruction for specific industries, roles, or equipment usage. This blog offers a sampling of free videos available to supplement safety training. (As with any free safety resource available on the Internet, information should always be verified for accuracy.)

1.. Smartphone Apps for Emergency Managers and First Responders: With pertinent information readily available, the decision-making process can be improved and the response can be accelerated, potentially minimizing the effects of the incident. This "Smart Phone Apps" blog highlights a variety of free and low-cost smartphone apps that can assist EHS managers and first responders.

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

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Tags: Power Failure, Response Plans, Training and Exercises, Safety, Social Media, BCM

Geographical Risks and Business Continuity

Posted on Thu, Dec 06, 2012

Despite a company’s location, natural hazards are a risk to business continuity. Natural hazards have a tendency to be location specific. However, images of the devastation left behind by these events are widespread. Unfortunately, many companies and their employees believe such disasters will not happen to them and fail to plan for plausible business disruption. 

The CMI 2012 Business Continuity Management Survey detailing Business Continuity efforts stated that 54% of companies surveyed that don’t have  business continuity plans stated their reasoning that they experience disruptions. This statistic is not uncommon. However, every year, rivers overflow their banks, high winds break treetops and tear away roofs, and power outages leave entire areas in the dark.

Despite the likelihood of a business disrupting natural disaster, many companies do not implement a Business Continuity Plan. Earthquakes and hurricanes are persistent and ingrained in location-specific cultures. Changing weather patterns, unprecedented seismic activity, strong winds and tropical rainfall impact many communities. Yet, 50% of all companies do not practice continuity planning.

Threats from extreme weather, wildfires, and flooding can affect any business in any location.  The below graphic from the Institute for Business and Home Safety demonstrates the potential risks of naturally occurring events across the United States.

These natural events can result in the loss or temporary disruption of key business resources including:

  • Facilities or Workspace
  • Infrastructure or IT Applications/Systems
  • People
  • Supply Chain

While natural weather events are not avoidable, companies may limit damage, loss, or prolonged interruption to key business resources with mitigation measures and business continuity planning. A detailed company identification and evaluation of critical business processes should be performed as an integral part of a business continuity plan.

A “bare bones” evaluation should list the minimum criteria necessary to keep a business in operation. Subsequent continuity plans should include procedures for the prevention of loss or restoration of operations.  Necessary resources for business continuity may include:

  • Alternate workplace location(s)
  • Necessary equipment
  • Critical software
  • Client records
  • Off-site storage
  • Key vendors lists
  • Inventory and supplier requirements
  • Notification procedures for key stakeholders
  • Predefined personnel roles and responsibilities with current and alternate contact information
  • Business Continuity Team notification and activation procedures
  • Staff relocation requirements, including name, department, title, function code, home address, type of PC (PC or Laptop), number of adults and children in immediate family, pets /other, relocation priority, recovery location or facility, relocation seat number/room assignment, alternate employees, and special needs

A business continuity effort for an impending or existing natural event should incorporate the following four phases into the plan:

  1. Initial Response: This phase covers initial response to an active or potential business interruption and immediate efforts to minimize downtime.
  2. Relocation:  Mobilization of resources and relocation of equipment and personnel to alternate facilities or redundant sites may become necessary if forecasted or current conditions dictate. The relocation phase ensures that the recovery phase can be fully implemented to sustain minimum service levels defined for each critical process. This stage may include “Work from Home” and “Alternate Facility” relocation strategies.
  3. Recovery:  The time after personnel and equipment have been relocated to an alternate site to before primary facilities have been restored or permanent alternate facilities have been secured. This phase incorporates the processes and procedures necessary to recover lost or interrupted resources.
  4. Restoration:  Personnel are able to return to restored facilities, or permanent alternate facilities, and critical resources are in full operational status.

A business continuity natural disaster event may be initiated from a single contained incident that affects one facility, or a large-scale incident that affects an entire region. Regardless of the incident, business restoration can be accelerated if communication processes and continuity of operations plans have been developed, tested, and properly implemented.

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

Tags: Climate Change, Fire Preparedness, Extreme Weather, Business Continuity Plan, Hurricane Preparedness, Flood Preparedness, Business Disruption, Tornado Preparedness, BCM