Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Record Oklahoma Earthquake Highlights Need for Earthquake Preparedness

Posted on Thu, Oct 06, 2016

On September 3rd, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake jolted Pawnee, Oklahoma, making it the state’s largest recorded earthquake. The shallow quake occurred approximately 55 miles WNW of Tulsa, yet could be felt across six neighboring states.

Although early detection systems are under development, it is difficult to target when an earthquake will occur or where the epicenter will be located. According to a March US Geological Survey report, “Seismic activity is on the rise in certain energy-intensive states after a relatively stable period of about 30 years.” The report showed that approximately 7 million people live and work in areas of the central and eastern U.S. with potential for damages caused by induced seismicity. 

Response planning for unpredictable events is a core element of corporate preparedness. Without a robust early detection system in place, companies must rely on reinforced construction methods and structural mitigation opportunities to minimize potential infrastructure damage. However, earthquake preparedness and response planning can limit the effects of an earthquake.

The actual ground movement created by earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury.  However, earthquakes can severely damage sensitive infrastructure and generate vibrations that can shake, damage, or demolish buildings, each of which can cause great damage. As a result, most earthquake casualties result from falling objects and debris.

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Upon immediately sensing seismic action or aftershocks, it is prudent to take protective measures. The following procedures should be implemented in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake:

Inside a building:

  • Remain calm and clear-headed. Major earthquakes generally last less than 60 seconds.
  • Move quickly away from windows, tall fire cabinets, and other things that could fall. Watch for falling plaster, light fixtures, and other objects.
  • Shelter yourself by getting under a table or desk.
  • Protect yourself, kneel down, or squat to protect your head.
  • If you are able to shield yourself under a desk, do not try to relocate to a doorway. Heavy industrial doors can cause damage when they swing during an earthquake and trying to maneuver through falling debris can cause more injury.
  • Do not attempt to leave the building. You are much safer to remain still inside the building until the shaking stops.
  • If necessary or directed, exit the building after the shaking stops.

Outside a building:

  • Seek protection away from buildings. Falling glass, power lines, and debris can be very hazardous.
  • Once it is safe to do so, contact Supervisory personnel

Post-Quake Response Actions:

  • If hazardous conditions are present, initiate or follow emergency response procedures.
  • Be prepared for additional aftershocks. Although most aftershocks are smaller than the initial earthquake, some may be large enough to cause additional damage.
  • Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Inform management of your location, damage and injuries.
  • If safe to do so, inspect facilities for signs of damage.
  • Check for fire or fire hazards from broken electrical lines or short circuits. Initiate fire response procedures if a fire is discovered or can reasonably be expected.
  • Relocate company vehicles out of garages and structures, if applicable.
  • Secure any shelving, and inspect on-site stock.
  • If damage is found, report findings to management.
  • If available, listen to media coverage to determine the earthquake location, strength and area infrastructure damage.

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp 

Tags: Earthquake Preparedness

Smart Phone Apps for Emergency Managers and First Responders

Posted on Thu, Jun 06, 2013

Information and communication are becoming more intertwined than ever before through the availability and affordability of smart phones. This evolving wave of broad accessibility offers new options in emergency response planning and management. There are a variety of free and low-cost smart phone apps that can assist EHS managers and first responders, ranging from warnings of impending crises to response aids providing instantaneous applicable information. With pertinent information at the fingertips of responders, the decision-making process can be improved. As a result, a response can often be accelerated, potentially minimizing the effects of the incident.

This list provides a sample of emergency preparedness and response smart phone apps. (TRP Corp does not endorse any specific app, as this list is for informational purposes only. Readers should evaluate each app for relevance, keeping in mind the necessity for common response language as dictated by the Incident Command System (ICS).)

  • 2012 Emergency Response Guidebook (FREE)The mobile ERG will make it easier for firefighters, police and other emergency first responders to quickly locate the information they need, thanks to an electronic word search function, and will ensure easy reading even during nighttime emergencies. The 2012 version of the ERG includes new evacuation tables for large toxic gas spills and standard response procedures for gas and liquid pipeline incidents. Android, IPhone
  • WISER 2.0 (FREE)WISER is a system designed to assist first responders in hazardous material incidents. WISER provides a wide range of information on hazardous substances, including substance identification support, physical characteristics, human health information, and containment and suppression advice. The WISER application extracts content from TOXNET's Hazardous Substances Data Bank (HSDB), an authoritative, peer-reviewed information resource maintained by the National Library of Medicine, and places that information into the hands of those who need it most. The Android version of WISER includes the full ERG 2012 tool. Android, IPhone
  • CadPage (FREE)Designed for volunteer firefighters, CAD Page is an advanced, customizable notification app that receives SMS pages from a central FIRE/EMS Cad and then presents options for mapping the call, driving directions, and other features. It keeps a history of calls and allows for customized alerts. When used in combination with ringtone apps, users can assign a unique notification sound for all incoming CADPage alerts. Android, iPhone
  • Scanner Radio (FREE) and Scanner Radio Pro ($2.99)Live audio from over 4,000 police and fire scanners, weather radios, and amateur radio repeaters from around the world (primarily in the United States and Australia, with more being added daily). Users can browse by genre, GPS location, or source. It’s important to note that the developer doesn’t control what frequencies you can hear, this is a function of the sources. Currently Scanner Radio features feeds from LiveFireFeeds.com, RadioReference.com, RailroadRadio.net and Wunderground.com. Android
  • 5-0 Radio Police Scanner Lite (Free) and 5-0 Radio Pro Police Scanner ($2.99)This IPhone version of Scanner Radio is one of ”iTunes Top 100 Downloads” for IOS apps. It allows users to tap into the largest collection of live police, firefighters, aircraft, railroad, marine, emergency, and ham radios. It communicates location-based news, events, or major crime waves. iPhone
  • FEMA (FREE)A government provided basic app that provides information on preparing for and responding to various types of disasters. The main menu is divided into seven boxes containing different types of applications. The app includes preparedness information for different types of disasters, a map with FEMA Disaster Recovery Center locations (one-stop centers where disaster survivors can access key relief services), shelters, and general ways the public can get involved before and after a disaster. Android, iPhone
  • AccuWeather (FREE)Forecasts in 22 languages, with current conditions updated every five minutes. Severe weather notices include optional, real-time pushed severe weather alerts for your chosen locations in the United States. The pushed severe weather alerts are user-friendly, easy-to-read, and visible from your lock screen, home screen, and from the Notification Center. Voted "Best iPhone App" by the 2012 Mobie awards. Android, iPhone

Emergency managers and first responders should be knowledgeable of threats based on geographical risk assessments. Specialized apps, such as Earthquake Alert, that provide specialized information based on these assessments may be beneficial.  The number of location-based emergency preparedness apps, such as ReadyVirginia andNorwich/Chenago County NY EMO, continue to rise. Ideally, location based apps should be an all-inclusive, singular mobile resource that allows users to access accurate and timely information before and in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately, app development requires funding and technology specialists, which may impede short-range intuitive design and rapid availability.

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist 

Tags: Earthquake Preparedness, Emergency Management, Extreme Weather, Social Media, Notification Systems

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.

 

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

Preparing for the Unexpected: Earthquake Preparedness

Posted on Mon, Oct 03, 2011

Companies cannot pick which disasters to plan for.  Although some natural disasters can be predicted, such as a hurricane or wildfire, no one can be certain when or where a natural disaster may occur. Hurricanes can cause tidal surge, wind damage, power outages, and coastal flooding. However, no one could have predicted the extreme 100-year flooding in land-locked Vermont that resulted from Hurricane Irene.

Planning for the unpredictable is part of emergency preparedness. Earthquakes usually strike without warning and leave no time for personal protective actions. However, if the seismic action is a prolonged shaking and rolling event, it is prudent to immediately take protective measures.

While the initial quake may be unpredictable, aftershock activity typically accompanies most earthquakes. The following procedures should be implemented in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake, particularly within the vicinity of a pipeline system.

Inside a building:

  • Remain calm and clear-headed. Remember that even major earthquakes generally last less than 60 seconds.
  • Move quickly away from windows, tall fire cabinets, and other things that could fall on or crush you. Watch for falling plaster, light fixtures, and other objects.
  • Shelter yourself by getting under a table or desk.
  • Protect yourself by putting your head as close to your lap as possible, or kneel down and protect your head.
  • Do not try to relocated to a doorway if you are able to shield yourself under a desk.  Heavy industrial doors can cause damage when they swing during an earthquake and trying to maneuver through falling debris can cause more injury.
  • Do not attempt to leave the building. You are much safer to remain still inside the building until the shaking stops.
  • If necessary or directed, exit the building after the shaking stops.

Outside a building:

  • Seek protection away from buildings. Falling glass, power lines, and debris can be very hazardous.
  • Once it is safe to do so, contact Supervisory personnel

Post Quake Actions:

  • Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
  • Be prepared for additional aftershocks. Although most of these are smaller than the main shock, some may be large enough to cause additional damage.
  • Check for fire or fire hazards from broken electrical lines or short circuits, and follow the fire response procedures if a fire is discovered or can reasonably be expected.
  • Advise management of your location, damage, and and injuries. They should advise the employees of the next steps to take.
  • If available, listen to media coverage to determine the location and strength of the quake.
  • Shut down the potentially affected pipeline section(s).  Continuously monitor the static pipeline pressures to ascertain the mechanical condition of the pipeline.
  • Physically inspect pipelines and facilities for signs of damage.
  • If damage is found, report finding to management.  Repair efforts shall be undertaken and completed prior to start up of the pipeline.
  • Relocate company vehicles out of garages and structures, if  applicable.
  • Secure any shelving, and inspect on-site stock.
  • If hazardous conditions are present, initiate emergency response procedures.
  • If no damage is found, continue to maintain the shutdown condition and continue to monitor the static pipeline pressures.  Management should assess the conditions and concur on the start up timeline.

The actual ground movement in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury.  Most casualties result from falling objects and debris because of the shocks. However, earthquakes can damage sensitive infrastructure and generate vibrations that can shake, damage, or demolish buildings, each of which can cause great damage. Being prepared for the unpredictable may not be able to save infrastructure, but can limit the effects on the greatest assets, a company’s workforce.

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

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Tags: Earthquake Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program

The Top 10 Checklist Items for Confined Space Entry

Posted on Thu, Sep 01, 2011

A situation requiring confined space entry can be encountered in many industrial operations. Authorized entry should require a pre-entry checklist to ensure rescue team members enter safely. The need for a confined space emergency rescue can be the result of earthquakes, construction or support failures, or any incident that results in a narrow and constricted entry, preventing easy access by rescuers.

A confined space pre-entry checklist should be completed prior to entering any confined space. Preparedness and response planning measures should be in place prior to any confined space entry. A pre-entry checklist may include the following:

1. Discuss prior to entry:

  • Scope of work to be done inside confined space
  • Knowledge of current contents of the confined space
  • Preparation that has been completed, including removal and clean up of chemicals from the confined space
  • Completed hazard identification and risk assessment
  • All aspects of safety measures
  • Name of entrants, attendants, supervisors and rescue team

2. Permit

  • Confined space entry permit has been issued.
  • The confined space permit is up to date.
  • If hot work will be carried out, ensure hot work permit is attained

3. Verification of conditions

  • All instruments used are calibrated.
  • The person in charge for atmospheric testing is qualified and competent.
  • The confined space has been tested for atmospheric conditions.

4. Testing Results

  • Determine Oxygen content levels
  • Are toxic, flammable or vapor gases present?
  • Evaluation and confirmation of atmospheric testing.

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5. Monitoring

  • Make sure the confined space atmosphere will be monitored while work is in progress.
  • Prepare a monitoring time table.

6. Ventilation

  • Identify ventilation considerations before entry and throughout duration of rescue.
  • Ensure air intake (supply) for the ventilation system remains unobstructed
  • If the atmospheric conditions are unacceptable, ventilate and retest space.

7. Isolation

  • The confined space has been isolated from other systems.
  • Mechanical equipment has been blocked, chocked and disengaged.
  • Tags and blind plates have been installed at appropriate block valves.

8. Equipment, Clothing, Tools and Personal Protective Equipment

  • Special equipment/tools have been provided.
  • Special clothing required for the work inside confined space has been provided (chemical suit, boots, safety shoes, goggles).
  • Lighting requirements have been fulfilled.

9. Training

  • The entrants, attendants, supervisors and rescue teams have attained confined space entry training.

10. Standby/Rescue Team

  • There is a team or rescue member outside of the confined space in constant communication with the personnel inside the confined space.

Confined space rescue is covered under the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1670, and under numerous OSHA’s standards.

OSHA uses the term "permit-required confined space" to describe a space that has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • contains a material that has the potential to engulf an entrant
  • has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant
  • contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.

For tips and best practices on designing a crisis management program, download Tips for Effective Exercises.

Exercises - TRP Corp

Tags: Fire Department Training, Earthquake Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Training and Exercises, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Disaster Recovery

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.

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