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Key Corporate Hurricane Planning Tips for the 2016 Season

Posted on Thu, Jun 02, 2016

The Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st. Is your company prepared?

According to meteorologists, El Niño played a significant role in suppressing the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season. But with El Niño weakening, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast suggests an “average” hurricane season for 2016. However, with the additional uncertainty a developing La Niña during peak months, there is greater chance that a tropical system could impact U.S. businesses compared to the previous three years. Companies should prioritize their efforts to actively review and update their hurricane and business continuity plans, and mitigate potential impacts from a tropical cyclone.

Despite disastrous historical effects on inland locations, hurricanes are typically thought of as a coastal problem. Hurricanes and their lingering destructive winds, tropical flooding rains, and off-shoot tornadoes, can impact businesses far from the initial landfall point. Consequently, emergency and HSE managers must ensure that this season’s hurricane and business continuity plans are up-to-date, effective, and exercised.

Preparation and pre-planning is the key to success of initiating response plans. Be wary of assigning checklists by hurricane category or targeted landfall area as a storm's’ intensity and direction can rapidly fluctuate. Below are key hurricane planning concepts to consider:

  1. Assign and train personnel and departments to complete specific pre and post hurricane responsibilities. Many companies break down checklists by time frame; 5 days prior to landfall, 96-72 hours until landfall, 48 hours until landfall, 24 hours until landfall, 12 hours until landfall, etc
  2. Highlight evacuation routes
  3. Identify the minimum necessary personnel to remain at the facility during the storm, if if deemed safe to do so
  4. Identify redeployment team(s) responsible to secure the site after a storm
  5. Identify needs for conducting necessary business processes off-site, as well as processes for data backup and redundancy
  6. Review alternate location options2016_Atlantic_Hurricane_Season_Outlook.jpg
  7. If applicable, identify and make arrangements for alternate or off-site storage of selected equipment (computers, moving equipment/inventory from potential flood areas)
  8. Coordinate site specific plans with local and county emergency management agencies’ hurricane plans
  9. Inspect the site for potential mitigation measures and initiate countermeasures to minimize damage. If lumber is necessary, pre-cut wood to sizer, mark each panel/piece to identify location. If using storm shutters, identify proper installation procedures and functionality prior to storm
  10. Identify, inspect, and/or purchase materials required to support hurricane preparedness such as generators, battery-operated radios, flashlights, lighting, ice, and additional batteries
  11. Update employee and contractor contacts
  12. Identify primary and alternate communication methods and procedures
  13. Contract post incident suppliers/contractors to supply chain interruption. 
While weather events are not avoidable, companies may limit residual damage, loss, or prolonged interruption to key business processes 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 identify 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

Development and maintenance of Hurricane and Business Continuity Plans may be constrained by resources, profit margins, or alternative goals. However, with the potential increase in the forecasted number of storms and prevalence of natural disasters, companies must prioritize preparedness and planning in order minimize potentially damaging losses to critical operations and processes.

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Extreme Weather

Supplemental Response Planning for Specific Threats

Posted on Thu, Feb 20, 2014

Every crisis situation and required response is unique. Comprehensive, compliant, and functional response plans should be created to address a broad scope of planned responses for a variety of probable emergency and crisis situations. However, if a facility has a high-risk potential for a specific scenario, supplemental response plans can be added to the overall emergency management program.

Incident-specific supplemental response plans should include many of the same details of an all-inclusive response plan including, but not limited to:

  • Details of hazard-specific location(s)
  • Evacuation routes
  • Plot Plans
  • Specific provisions and protocols for warning employees, the public, and disseminating emergency information
  • Personal protective and response equipment, and detection devices
  • Policies and processes for each specific hazard
  • Roles and responsibilities

Supplemental plans should be aligned with company protocols, site-specific personnel details, and specialized training and exercise programs. Below are examples of potential supplemental response plans that can be added to a preparedness program.  

Fire Pre Plans: Fires cause billions of dollars in property damage and unnecessary deaths and injuries every year. Fire pre plans address site-specific information necessary to effectively fight a fire and limit exposures. Despite the response situation or circumstances, a fire pre plan form should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Building/site layout information
  • Fire suppression information
  • Hazards locations
  • Utility information
  • Exposure information
  • Water supply
  • Evacuation needs
  • Occupancy information
  • Special procedures for handling, storage and control of items that have been identified as major fire hazards
  • Mutual aid resources
  • Strategies

If applicable, specific chemical and hazardous details in regards to particular buildings, tanks, and/or process units, and the necessary foam requirements should be included in fire pre plans.

Hurricane Plans: If a site is located in a hurricane-prone area, conducting a business impact analysis prior to hurricane season can identify key process that may be interrupted during and after a hurricane. Once these processes are identified, hurricane planning can incorporate steps to limit the impact resulting from loss  of facilities, infrastructure, personnel, or supply chain. Below are some areas to consider when developing hurricane response plans:

  • Preparedness and response timeline
  • Structural integrity of the facility/location
  • Alternate location options
  • Records and software accessibility
  • Employee contact information
  • Communication methods
  • Dedicated hurricane response responsibilities
  • Equipment needs

A hurricane plan should include evacuation route maps or shelter in place areas. Evacuation routes and scope of evacuation may change depending on the location of the facility, potential storm intensity, forecasted path, or inherent risks.

Pandemic Plans: In the event that a health crisis emerges that affects the potential for continuity of operations, companies should establish a Pandemic Response Plan. A pandemic plan identifies how necessary resources and personnel can be optimized to support the organization, yet minimize the threat of mass contamination.

Pandemic response plans can define pandemic impact levels. Example levels are as follows:

  • Level 1 - Normal Operations, which include contact verification with key stakeholder (both internal and external) and conducting pandemic plan briefings
  • Level 2 - Business as usual with staff directed to work from remote locations, if feasible
  • Level 3 - Business as usual with limited on-site staff.  (Only essential employees who cannot work remotely would report on-site)
  • Level 4 - Emergency Service Level with normal levels of operation with minimum staffing.
  • Level 5 - All non-critical operations are suspended and critical business processes are examined for those that can be suspended
  • Level 6 - Return to normal operations after situational assessment

Additional Natural Disasters: Natural hazards tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because of weather patterns or physical characteristics of an area. Depending on your specific location-based risks, the following hazards specific information may be developed as a supplemental plan:

  • Floods
  • Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms and Lightning
  • Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
  • Extreme Heat
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
  • Tsunamis
  • Wildfires

Business Continuity Plans (BCP):  Any divergent situation may impact a company's optimal operational level. The primary purpose of a BCP is to minimize financial and operational impacts of a business interruption and to ensure ongoing viability. A BCP provides a mechanism for the continuity of, and safeguarding of key business interests, relationships, and assets. While a BCP cannot prevent occurrences from disrupting business operations, it can provide insight to mitigation opportunities, a focused plan to respond to incidents, maximize efficiency based on the given parameters, and a pathway of how to restore operations to normal productivity. The following are key concepts that should be considered when developing a BCP:

  • Identify business processes that are critical to your continued operation
  • Determine what personnel, software, and vendors are required to continue these processes
  • Identify alternate locations where these processes can be maintained in the event of a loss to critical facilities
  • Identify how communications will be maintained
  • Provide awareness and training for these identified personnel to support the continuity of operations
 
For a free download on Fire Pre Plans, click the image below:
TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Pandemic Planning, Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Emergency Management Program, Business Continuity Plan, Tornado Preparedness

Off-season Emergency Planning Review: Hurricanes, Wildfires, Tornados

Posted on Mon, Jan 21, 2013

While the winter months take hold, companies should evaluate scenario specific emergency plans. Naturally occurring threats, such as wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes, typically do not occur in the winter months and planning for these events may not be on the list of top priorities. However, both large and small businesses can benefit from reviewing typical “seasonal” plans in the off-season to ensure mitigation measures and training efforts are carried out prior to the high-risk months. Companies should make every effort to verify contact information for both employees and response resources, and update pertinent site-specific policies and procedures.

For business continuity planning purposes, a business impact analysis (BIA) should be conducted prior to seasonal risks.  A BIA can identify key business process that may be interrupted during a natural disaster.  Once these processes are identified, planning can incorporate steps to limit the impact resulting from loss of facilities, infrastructure, personnel, or supply chain.

Below are planning review concepts and possible mitigation measures for three seasonal risks.

Hurricanes

  1. Review surroundings: Will your building(s) withstand potential hurricane winds and waves? 
  2. Review shutdown procedures and evacuation routes
  3. Identify and procure potential alternate location options and necessities for conducting critical business processes off-site
  4. Identify essential business records, and process for backup and redundancy
  5. Verify employee contact information, alternate contact information, and list potential evacuation locations
  6. Develop methods for employees to receive pertinent corporate information if evacuation is conducted
  7. Assign and train employees on hurricane related tasks.
  8. Obtain emergency equipment, such as generators, battery-operated radios, flashlights, lighting and additional batteries. Be prepared to acquire additional fuel prior to the storm.  
  9. Establish recovery contracts with suppliers.
  10. 10. Obtain materials to secure windows and brace doors. (If lumber is necessary, pre-cut wood to size, mark each panel/piece to identify location). 

Wildfire

  1. Cut back brush or vegetation that may be impeding on any structures on your property.
  2. Remove dead wood and combustible litter from the site.
  3. If possible, enclose the underside of eaves and decks with fire-resistant materials to keep out flying embers.
  4. Cover exterior vents with fire retardant mesh screens to prevent embers from entering building
  5. Develop, review, and share fire pre plans with local fire departments
  6. Train employees of fire prevention, evacuation procedures, and fire safety measures
  7. Identify on-site and external equipment resources, procuring contracts if necessary (fire trucks, Backhoe/Front end loader for cutting fire breaks)
  8. Check functionality of sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers
  9. Evaluate and maintain irrigation system
  10. 10.  If applicable, establish response team and train as necessary

Tornados

  1. Conduct tornado drills to ensure employees can locate and mobilize to designated shelter location(s)
  2. Establish news and weather monitoring methods
  3. Develop an emergency communication plan to relay specific expectations and responsibilities during the aftermath
  4. Be aware of the site specific dangers posed by wind from equipment and buildings
  5. Identify product release dangers and shutdown procedures
  6. Identify data backup and recovery procedures
  7. Identify and procure potential alternate location options and necessities for conducting critical business processes off-site.

Because nature is unprediatble, businesses should be prepared for natural events throughout the year. Any situation that may hinder a company's ability to access key infrastructure, such as headquarters and field offices, can benefit from scenario specific emergency plans, evaluations, and business continuity plans. The ability to identify, prioritize, and respond to natural disasters is critical for preventing the potential for large financial losses and damage to reputation.

For more information regarding Hurricane preparation, download the Corporate Hurricane Planning Checklist.

Hurricane Planning

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Fire Preparedness, Event Preparedness, Extreme Weather, Tornado Preparedness

Emergency Communications Planning in the Oil and Gas Industry

Posted on Mon, Dec 10, 2012

In a crisis situation, effective response communications enables employees, stakeholders, and customers to be informed of the current situation and allows all parties to set realistic expectations of a response. During the aftermath of superstorm Sandy, Hess Corporation, a prevalent fuel supplier in the northeast region of the U.S., published timely information on fuel availability levels at its working gas stations for the public. This effort allowed Hess customers to determine a course of action, while limiting extraneous efforts to attain fuel. Since the emergency situation was not limited to a specific site, the company prioritized broad-based emergency response communications to address the needs of its customers.

A regional emergency event can extend far beyond a facility’s borders. Communicating timely and accurate information to facility managers, critical decision makers, emergency response teams, stakeholders, vendors and contractors, and the public is an important element to any emergency management function.  This is especially true in communicating response and recovery operations in the highly regulated oil and gas industry, which is critical to a stable infrastructure and a productive economy. If a company or a region suffers an incident affecting oil and gas companies, the financial and societal costs can escalate quickly. Effects may include, but are not limited to:

  • Production loss
  • Inventory depletion
  • Supply shortages
  • Employee safety
  • Brand and reputation
  • Customer dissatisfaction

According to FEMA, the foundation of an effective disaster communications strategy is built on the four critical assumptions:

1. Customer Focus: After an emergency, there is a need for highly effective communication between company leadership and facility employees. Typically, these facility employees become the first line of communication and main relationship facilitator between customers and the company. Effective and proactive communication can result in positive customer interaction, which maintains company reputations and strong relationships.

2. Leadership Commitment: This commitment must include, but is not limited to;

    • Communication among site managers and all business units
    • Advancing contact verification procedures
    • The development of a communications strategic framework with checklists and response criteria that will guide the communications decision-making process
    • Notification procedures for stakeholders, both internal and external.

3. Inclusion of Communications in Planning and Operations: Communication procedures should be included as part of emergency response plans.  Each team member should have clear procedures for receiving and disseminating information. Public relations personnel should be included in emergency planning aspects and emergency exercises.

4. Media Partnership: Media has the ability to rapidly communicate public safety messages to communities, potentially reaching necessary resources and affirming proactive measures are in place. Consistent, accurate messages by company representatives alleviate public anxiety and provide a level of credibility and response competency. Public relations planning should be developed as part of an overall disaster management plan in order to sustain a positive and productive relationship with every level of stakeholder and the community at large.

“With a typical oil pipeline pumping more than $3-million worth of oil an hour, effective communications are essential in keeping revenues flowing.”1   If and when an emergency occurs, clear communication is crucial to protect lives, the environment, the surrounding community, as well as profits and reputation. Effective emergency communications should:

  • Result from accurate data collection
  • Clarify initial emergency response initiatives
  • Be timely and current
  • Remain concise to accurately define necessary tasks
  • Include time parameters and follow up procedures
  • Be strategic in how tasks should be accomplished

Establishing and committing to communications and public relations efforts define lines of communications with all partners, enables leaders to communicate response efforts and requirements, and ensures that public affairs staff has the training and the tools to be successful to maintain company reputation and client relationships.

1:  TETRA: Enabling Critical Communications in the Oil and Gas Sector, 2009, www.motorola.com

 

For information about SPCC Plans, download TRP Corp's free SPCC and FRP Inspections guide.

TRP - SPCC

 

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Oil Spill, Emergency Management Program, Media and Public Relations, Social Media

The Emergency Operations Planning P

Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2012

The Planning “P” is a common emergency management image that illustrates the model incident management process for one operational period. The US Coast Guard states that the incident management planning process should be built on the following phases:

1. Identify and process the potential incidents and effects

2. Establish incident objectives

3. Develop the plan to counteract the effects

4. Prepare, disseminate, and exercise the plan

5. Execute, evaluate, and revise the plan

Decision-makers should utilize the Planning “P” as a guide for developing Incident Action Plans, tactical responses necessary to meet objectives, and planning essential meetings throughout the incident.

TRP Corp - Planning P

The primary components of the Planning “P” are as follows:

1. Initial Response, Objectives and Briefing: The leg of the “P” describes the initial response activation period for the Tier 1 Emergency Response Team (ERT), the Tier 2 Incident Management Team (IMT), and the Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) or Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The Initial response activities should include the following:

  • Conduct initial assessment
  • Develop Plan of Action
  • Complete ICS-201 form: The ICS 201 provides the Incident command team with information about the situation and the resources allocated to the incident. This form serves as a permanent record of the initial response to the incident and can be used for transfer of command.
  • Prepare for command briefing
    • Identify Unified Command representatives
    • Brief Command on initial response activities
    • Agree on organization structure
    • Clarify issues and concerns
    • Identify Command post and support facilities
    • Discuss planned operations and directions
    • Identify incident escalation potential
  • Identify Command Post and support facilities
  • Order appropriate staffing

Tactical discussions should include alternative response strategies, potentially for each incident objective. On smaller incidents with minimal impact, the task of developing incident objectives and strategies may be the sole responsibility of the Incident Commander. On larger incidents, members of the Incident Management Team (IMT) and ECC, and other key company personnel may contribute to this process.

2. Assessment Meetings to define objectives for operational period

  • Prior to meeting, Incident Command/Unified Command should develop and update the following:
    • Response emphasis and priorities
    • Response objectives
    • Common operating policy, procedures, and guidelines
  • Command and General Staff Meeting Briefing:
    • Meet and brief Command and General Staff on command direction, objectives and priorities
    • Assign work tasks
    • Resolve problems
    • Clarify staff roles and responsibilities

3. Planning meeting

  • Update charts and maps, as necessary
  • Draft ICS-215, Operational Planning Worksheet
  • Identify operational requirements, strategies, and tactics for next operational period in order to meet priorities and objectives
  • Get tactical approval from Incident Command on planned actions
  • ERT, IMT, and company staff review updated planned actions
  • Operations and Planning discuss and document strategies, tactics, and contingencies.

4. Incident Action Plan (IAP) Preparation and Approval Meeting: ICS forms and supporting documents should convey the Incident Commander’s intent and the Operations Section plan for the current operational period.

  • Finalize information to be incorporated into the IAP. .
    • Complete all documentation associated with the IAP
    • Command approves IAP
    • Distribute plan to Section Chiefs and other required personnel

5. Operations briefing

  • Provide briefing to Operation Section personnel
  • Ensure support and resources are in place for current and next operational period
  • Execute plan and assess progress:
    • Monitor on-going operations and adjust tactical processes as necessary
    • Measure and ensure progress against stated objectives
    • Debrief resources coming off shift
    • Prepare to brief UC/Planning on accomplishments

At this point, a new operational period begins if the incident is not resolved.  The cycle (the circular section of the “P”) continues with execution of an adjusted plan. Progress evaluations and adjustments should continue until the incident is terminated.

6.  Response Termination

  • Brief command on activities
  • Establish demobilization priorities
  • Identify surplus resources and probable resource release times (only the On-Scene Incident Commander should authorize the release or demobilization of response resources)
  • Verify decontamination procedures and disposal plan, as necessary
  • Plan for equipment repair and maintenance services, as necessary
  • Identify Lessons Learned and apply to associated response plans.

For more information regarding Hurricane preparation, download the Corporate Hurricane Planning Checklist.

Hurricane Planning

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Emergency Response, Emergency Management, Incident Management, Emergency Management Program, Business Continuity Plan

Resource Management in Emergency Planning and Response

Posted on Mon, Jul 16, 2012

Managing personnel, specialized teams, equipment, and supplies are an intricate part of response planning and incident management, yet these critical details are often overlooked. Resource management procedures should be included as an element of a response plan and have the flexibility and depth to address uncertainties associated with responses.

Effectively incorporating company, contracted, and public resources into an emergency management program can streamline a multifaceted response, resulting in a more effective and timely effort. If managed properly, available resources can also reduce potential business continuity vulnerabilities.

According to NIMS' Resource Management Planning, resources typically fall into seven general groupings:

  • Personnel: Includes emergency operations center staff and onsite responders.
  • Facilities: Includes emergency operations center, field command posts, and staging areas.
  • Equipment: Includes equipment required for PPE, personnel support, communications, response operations, and emergency operations center support.
  • Vehicles: Includes automobiles, trucks, buses, and other vehicles required for transportation, emergency medical, and response operations.
  • Teams: Includes specially trained and equipped responders and management personnel.
  • Aircraft: Includes aircraft for surveillance, medical evacuation, or cargo transportation operations.
  • Supplies: Includes a wide range of materials from potable water to plywood.

NIMS recommends the following resource management practices be incorporated into an response plan for implementation during future response operations:

1. Identify: Identify what equipment is needed, where and when it is needed, and who will be receiving or using it. Some resources will be specific to one risk or consequence, while others may be useful for multiple risks or consequences.

2. Procure: Take into account lead-time required for resources that cannot be obtained locally.

3. Mobilize:  Plan transportation and logistics needs based on response priorities and equipment requirements to ensure timely arrival of necessary equipment.

4. Track and report:  Identify specific location of resources on a continual basis in order to assist staff in preparing to receive resources, to ensure safety and security of equipment and to ensure efficient use, coordination, and movement of equipment.

5. Recover and demobilize: Ensure timely demobilization of equipment, including decontamination, disposal, repair, and restocking activities, as required.  This step pertains to both expendable and nonexpendable resources.

6. Reimburse:  Ensure that a mechanism is in place to track costs and provide timely payment for incident expenses, including contractors, equipment, transportation services, and other costs.  .

7. Inventory and Replenish: Utilize a resource inventory system or equipment checklist to assess the availability of on-site equipment and supplies. Procure additional resources as needed to be prepared for future events. Consider lessons learned from previous responses to assess on-site requirements.

Through concepts listed TRP's free downloaded corporate hurricane checklist, companies can begin to understand the resources necessary to respond to a significant weather event. 

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Power Failure, Redundant Systems, Training and Exercises, Event Preparedness

15 Site Specific Corporate Hurricane Planning Consideration

Posted on Mon, May 21, 2012

Images of Hurricane Harvey and Irma highlight the far-reaching destructive nature of a hurricane's unprecedented rains that may accompany them.  Despite the historical disastrous effects to coastal communities, the misconception that a hurricane is strictly a coastal problem still prevails. Whether hurricane effects come in the form of storm surge, wind or rain, every emergency manager along the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico must prepare for the possibility of a hurricane and its lingering impacts.

"In the 1970s, '80s, and '90s, inland flooding was responsible for more than half of the deaths associated with tropical cyclones in the United States." - Ed Rappaport, National Hurricane Center

Are you ready hand writing with a black mark on a transparent board.jpeg

Preparedness and pre-planning is the key to success of initiating a hurricane plan.  Below are key corporate hurricane preparedness concepts to consider:

  1. Assign and train personnel and departments to complete specific pre and post hurricane responsibilities. Many companies develop checklists by time frame; 5 days prior to landfall, 96-72 hours until landfall, 48 hours until landfall, 24 hours until landfall, 12 hours until landfall, etc. Be wary of assigning checklist by hurricane category as storms’ intensity can rapidly fluctuate.
  2. Highlight evacuation routes if site is in an evacuation zone.
  3. Identify the minimum necessary personnel to remain at the facility during the storm.
  4. Identify redeployment team(s) responsible to secure the site after a storm
  5. Identify needs for conducting necessary business processes offsite and processes for data backup and redundancy.
  6. Review alternate location options.
  7. Coordinate site-specific plans with local and county emergency management agencies’ hurricane plans.
  8. Inspect the site for potential mitigation measures and initiate countermeasures to minimize damage. If lumber is necessary, pre-cut pieces to proper sizes, and mark each panel/piece to identify location. If using storm shutters, identify proper installation procedures and functionality prior to storm.
  1. Identify, inspect and/or purchase materials required to support hurricane preparedness, including generators, battery-operated radios, flashlights, lighting, ice, additional batteries, etc. FEMA provides guidance on a basic list of needs.
  2. Identify and make arrangements for alternate or off-site storage of selected equipment (computers, moving equipment/inventory from potential flood areas).
  3. Prepare/update a list of employee home phone numbers addresses.
  4. Identify primary and alternate communication methods and procedures.
  5. Contract post-incident suppliers/contractors as to not interrupt supply chain.
  6. Refresh stocks of consumable hurricane supplies for use at the facility.
  7. Consider developing a business continuity plan to allow for continuity of essential processes in case a storm has long-lasting effects.

Every “close call” storm provides a real-time test of the effectiveness of processes and implemented procedures. No matter how far a storm veers off path, stalls, or weakens, company facilities, employees, and coordinating responders can gain planning insight by the act of initiating the hurricane plan. No preparation for an impending storm, no matter what the cost, goes wasted. Lessons learned should be applied to the hurricane plan, strengthening the plan and bolstering the safety of employees.

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Business Continuity Plan, Hurricane Preparedness

Come Rain, Sleet, Snow, or Hail...Are you Prepared for an Emergency?

Posted on Thu, Jan 19, 2012

A few months ago, AccuWeather came out with its long range United States’ forecast through the winter 2011/2012. The prediction was that cold and snowy weather will prevail across a large section of the country. Although snow amounts are predicted to be less than what was experienced last year, ice could be potential problem as far south as Alabama and Georgia. But despite predictions, companies should be prepared to deal with whatever unusual weather events may occur.

Depending on a facility’s specific latitude and longitude, a site-specific risk analysis for severe weather should be conducted for each facility, and plans should be prepared accordingly. Specific weather planning checklists can be developed for blizzards, floods, ice, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes. Despite the weather situation, many common best practices can be implemented into a weather planning checklist including, but not limited to the following action items:

  • Monitor news and weather reports on television or radio (with battery backup)
  • Alert personnel  on-site that severe weather is approaching and communicate specific expectations and responsibilities
  • Be aware of the site specific dangers posed by wind, ice, snow falling from equipment and buildings, and mediate if possible
  • Identify product release dangers posed by heavy snow, flooding, wind, or ice falling on exposed piping
  • If applicable, insulate and protect any exterior water lines or piping
  • Identify and contract companies to assist in extreme weather events, such as snow, water, or tree removal services
  • Obtain basic necessary weather-related equipment (snow shovels, ice scrapers, rock salt, tire chains, backup generators, cooling stations)
  • Ensure that vehicles have a full tank of gas and are functioning properly
  • Ensure flashlights are in proper working order and have additional batteries on site
  • Monitor precipitation accumulation on or around any tanks, sheds or buildings
  • If appropriate, leave water taps slightly open so they drip continuously to prevent pipes from freezing
  • Identify and understand response techniques when responding to product spills that may flow under ice or snow, or within flood waters
  • Establish and maintain communication with onsite and offsite personnel
  • Monitor or limit vehicle traffic
  • Maintain building temperature at acceptable levels and understand safety measures if using space heaters or generators
  • Notify supervisors if a power failure occurs or if a facility is otherwise unable to operate due to weather circumstances

 

For an understanding of the necessary elements in creating an effective fire pre plan, download our Fire Pre Planning Guide.

 

TRP Fire Pre Plan Image

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Earthquake Preparedness, Power Failure, Business Continuity, Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management Program, Extreme Weather, Hurricane Preparedness, Flood Preparedness

Emergency Planning for Natural Disasters

Posted on Mon, May 16, 2011

An estimated 300 million people were affected by natural disasters in 2010. The devastation has continued in 2011 with Japan’s March’s earthquake and subsequent tsunami, the tornadoes ravaging the southeastern U.S., and massive flooding in America’s heartland. Companies must be aware of the risks posed by potential natural disasters that may impact their locations, and take sensible precautions to protect their employees, the environment, and their assets.

According to Brookings Institute’s London School of Economics, “A Year of Living Dangerously”, natural hazards by themselves are not disasters. The study states “it is their consequences and the ability of the local community to respond to them that determine whether the event is characterized as a disaster.”

While there is little we can do to prevent the occurrence of natural disasters, companies can develop emergency response plans to reduce the impact to personnel safety and property damage. Natural hazards tend to occur repeatedly in the same geographical locations because they are related to weather patterns or physical characteristics of an area. Depending on your specific risks, FEMA lists the following hazards that may be included in your emergency response plan:

  • Floods
  • Tornadoes
  • Thunderstorms and Lightning
  • Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
  • Extreme Heat
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanoes
  • Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
  • Tsunamis
  • Fires
  • Wildfire
  • Hurricanes/Typhoons

For predictable naturally occurring events, such as a hurricane or potential flooding, planning can be accomplished before the incident occurs. Such planning should include, but is not limited to the following:

  • Conduct awareness training, including facility evacuation routes and procedures
  • Coordinate activities with local and state response agencies
  • Communicate recommended Community Evacuation routes
  • Procure emergency supplies
  • Monitor radio and/or television reports
  • Secure facility
  • Secure and backup critical electronic files

Unfortunately, some natural disasters provide little or no warning. In these instances, prior planning and training is of the utmost importance. Procedures may include, at a minimum:

  • Monitor weather services
  • Activate  alarm(s) if impact is imminent
  • Take shelter
  • Direct  personnel to report to designated areas after threat has passed
  • Account for all personnel Provide status report to Management
  • Perform other Initial Response Actions, as appropriate
  • Maintain hazard awareness
  • Conduct post-emergency evaluation and report

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Best Practices for Crisis Management.

TRP Download

Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Earthquake Preparedness, Business Continuity, Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management, Facility Management, Hurricane Preparedness, School Emergency Planning

Keys to consider in a Real-Time Incident Management system

Posted on Fri, Jan 07, 2011

With 24-hour news services, phones with integrated computers, and social networking sites updating every second of the day, a real-time incident management system is becoming more of a standard in today’s industrial settings.  Current societal norms dictate the necessity for immediate access to crucial and timely information, such as traffic information and breaking news. This is especially true in the case in emergency response.

A real-time incident management system can allow for real-time transmission of current data about the location, severity, and impact of an incident.  Because of the real time advantage, decisions and coordinated efforts can be tailor to the event as it evolves.

A real-time incident management system can:
  • Reduce business impact of incidents through timely response
  • Increase effectiveness of response
  • Track status of the incident and all aspects of the response based on each organization/departments assignment(s) and operational level

In order for a real-time incident management system to be effective, specific situational checklists should be created.  Facility employees and assigned incident responders must understand applicable emergency procedures, the specific status updates that need to be communicated, and in what time frame cycle communications need to documented .  An incident should be managed through clearly identified and communicated objectives. These objectives should include:

  • Establishing specific and step-by-step incident objectives in order to return to business as usual
  • Developing strategies based on incident objectives
  • Developing and issuing assignments, plans, procedures, and protocols
  • Establishing specific, measurable tactics or tasks for various incident management functional activities, and directing efforts to accomplish them, in support of defined strategies
  • Documenting results to measure performance and facilitate corrective actions
Maintaining accurate and up-to-date picture of resource utilization is a critical component of incident management and emergency response.  Each real-time incident management status update should identify the following in order to clearly communicate to those in the Incident Command System:
  • Time of update (time stamp)
  • Incident or event name
  • Elapsed time of incident from initiation
  • Name/position of responder making status updates
  • Current planning phase and/or specific status update
  • Tasks assigned, both internally and externally, and resources used or required
  • Emergency Operations Center location and contact information

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download our Best Practices for Crisis Management.

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Tags: Corporate Hurricane Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management, Emergency Management Program, Emergency Action Plan