Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

What you Need to Know About Company-Wide Emergency Action Plans

Posted on Thu, Jun 29, 2017

If you have a small staff and the size of your site is easily manageable, developing a comprehensive emergency action plan for one location may not be a difficult task. However, ensuring compliant and site-specific emergency action plans for multiple locations and an exponential number of employees can be a challenge.

Any business with more than 10 onsite employees is likely to require an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) by the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but what happens when your company has multiple locations? Why should these plan be a priority and how do you confirm compliance for each location?

What is an Emergency Action Plan?

An EAP is intended to guide employer and employee actions, such as evacuation, during workplace emergencies. These plan are typically utilized when an onsite fire brigade is not in place. At a minimum, an EAP must include the following requirements:

  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures, including exit route assignments
  • Procedures for employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted

While not required for compliance, OSHA also suggests:

  • Description of the alarm system that informs employees to take certain actions
  • The site of an alternative communications center
  • A secure location to store originals or duplicate copies of accounting records, legal documents, your employees' emergency contact lists, and other essential records.

 

Why Prioritize Emergency Action Plans?

According to the 2016 OSHA Field Operations Manual, any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates regulations may be assessed a civil penalty of at least $8,908 for each willful violation. The exponential violation cost for companies with multiple locations could be staggering and financially crippling.

What's Your Plan with Local Search Marketing wording on Sky Background,.jpeg

As agencies continue to redefine their monetary penalties and prioritize employee safety issues, companies must not rely on the prospect of an agency inspection to ensure preparedness programs are sufficient. For companies with multiple locations, the EAP details should be part of an overall emergency management program and create an atmosphere of response readiness. Each plan should identify site-specific actions by employers, employees, or other building occupants to ensure safety from fire emergencies and other potentially devastating scenarios.

If government regulations are applicable to your facilities or operations, your enterprise must prioritize compliance and associated management techniques in order to minimize financial burdens resulting from fines, negative public perceptions, and potential government mandated shutdown of operations.

 

How to Confirm EAP Compliance?

When company operations span across multiple locations, compliance verification in addition to daily operational oversight can become increasingly complicated. The cost to initiate, upgrade, and/or maintain a proactive EHS program may be seen as a excessive and possibly trivial company expense. However, compliance efforts and compliance tracking software programs are often less expensive than agency fines. By confirming regulatory compliance, companies can deliberately protect lives, prevent hazardous impacts, limit property damage, and eliminate increasing regulatory fines.

Effective technology can be a useful and relatively inexpensive tool for companies to monitor continually evolving operations and regulatory requirements. While many businesses utilize Excel spreadsheets to manage these requirements, the technique is burdensome, administratively taxing, and often ineffective for mid to large size companies. As companies grow and expand, the number of spreadsheets can be extensively overwhelming and complex. Midsize and larger operations should consider utilizing database technology to ensure enterprise-wide compliance on multiple government agency fronts.

In order to minimize non-compliance, owners should identify potential emergency scenarios and necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s EAP.

A comprehensive response planning system should identify the resources required to effectively manage potential hazards, document necessary response actions, and fulfill multiple compliance mandates. Upgrading to web-based response planning software will enable each location across an enterprise to;

  • Reduce the need for multiple plans
  • Minimize administrative costs
  • Simplify plan reviews
  • Minimize discrepancies across various plans
  • Streamline response directives from one source

 

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Emergency Action Plan

Are Emergency Action Plans Enough for Company-Wide Preparedness?

Posted on Thu, Apr 20, 2017

For most companies, a visit from an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector in 2017 can be a stressful scenario. Until recently, non-compliance fines were minimal for non-serious violations. But that changed in 2016 when Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 which required federal agencies, including OSHA, to adjust their civil money penalties based on inflation. 

Companies should no longer equate violations and penalties to the cost of doing business. A lack of response planning or preparedness can be detrimental in numerous ways. Any potentially escalating health, safety or environmental incident or business disruption can result in, but is not limited to:

  • Compromised employee safety and productivity
  • Lost revenues and business opportunities
  • Contractual-based penalties
  • Damaged reputation
  • Regulatory fines

 

OSHA Penalties

Until 2016, OSHA penalties and fines haven't increased in over 25 years. With an elevated focus on preparedness, companies should evaluate the potential impact of these costs compared to the establishment or improvement of safety programs.

Penalty Amount.png

 

The Emergency Action Plan

Emergency Action Plans or Emergency Response Plans are not only required for most companies, but are essential to the well-being of employees. The Emergency Action Plan regulation (29 CFR 1910.38), states that employers with 11 or more employees must  have to create a written emergency action plan. Even for locations with ten or fewer employees, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An emergency action plan must communicate the following minimum requirements: 

  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures, including exit route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

At a minimum, companies should be prepared in the event the unexpected occurs. But for companies with more than 10 employees, especially those with multiple locations, the basic emergency action plan may not be enough to ensure preparedness or compliance.

Response plan regulations are often specific to operational hazards, inherent threats, or incident-specific response needs. Companies should not limit response planning to simple fire emergencies, but consider an all-hazard, inclusive approach in preparedness.

Most incidents are short-lived and can be brought under control rather quickly when prepared planning is prioritized. Responses to these incidents are typically tactical in nature.

 

Response Planning and Preparedness

More serious incidents may require specialized response teams or assistance from outside entities, such as local fire, police or agencies. The emergency response plan or emergency operations plan should be inclusive of multiple possibilities and address the time period immediately after the incident. This level of preparedness prompts a rapid return of critical operations.

Preparedness planning should cover three objectives:

  • Maintain existing emergency management readiness capabilities
  • Prevent emergency management capabilities from becoming part of the emergency
  • Augment emergency management capabilities with internal and external response resources

Preparedness plans should address capabilities needed for prevention, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation activities. These plans should include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. Facility Information
  2. Hazard analysis
  3. Response checklists
  4. Required notifications
  5. Response team organization, activation procedures, and roles
  6. Identification of training requirements based on roles
  7. Guidelines for developing, conducting, and evaluating exercises
  8. Ongoing plan review and evaluation process

As agencies continue to redefine their monetary penalties, companies must not rely on the prospect of an inspection to ensure preparedness programs are sufficient. Regulatory deficiencies are most likely shared with others within the same industry, therefore, companies may identify potential solutions by researching best practices. Often, the expertise and knowledge that drove the regulation into existence stems from the problems and experiences of others, and their efforts to address the inherent problem(s).

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: Emergency Action Plan, corporate preparedness

OSHA's Emergency Action Plan: Commercial Property and Building Owners

Posted on Thu, Aug 25, 2016

As of August 2, 2016, fines and penalties for OSHA violations have increased. Commercial property and building owners must comply with relevant Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) regulations in order to avoid the increasing non-compliance expenses. Many owners see the cost to initiate, upgrade, and/or maintain a preparedness program as a superfluous expenditure. However, proactive budgeting in comparison to the cost of lives, hazardous impacts, property damage, and regulatory fines, is minimal.

According to the 2016 OSHA Field Operations Manual, any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates regulations may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $124,709 for each violation, but not less than $8,908 for each willful violation. For a company with multiple sites, the exponential violation cost could be staggering and financially crippling.

In order to minimize non-compliance, commercial property and building owners should identify potential emergency scenarios and necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s Emergency Action Plan (EAP). An EAP should be part of an overall emergency management program, elevate the state of response awareness, and create an atmosphere of response readiness. Each plan should identify site-specific actions by employers, employees, or other building occupants to ensure safety from fire emergencies and other potentially devastating scenarios.

In order to minimize life threatening impacts, OSHA has identified requirements for the development of site-specific EAPs for certain employers and their work sites. OSHA requires a verbal or written EAP based on the number of employees that are physically present in a facility at any time of the working day.

The regulation (29 CFR 1910.38), states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written emergency action plan. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An EAP must communicate the following minimum requirements:

  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures, including exit route assignment
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.

Building owners should not limit response planning to fire emergencies, but consider an all-hazard approach when developing EAPs. Any scenarios that could impact the safety of building occupants should be planned and documented in advance. These scenarios may include, but are not limited to:

Human-caused threats

  • Bombs and bomb threats
  • Weapons of mass destruction
    • Chemical
    • Biological
    • Radiological/nuclear
  • Workplace violence

Building and infrastructure incidents

  • Building system failures
  • Elevators
  • Emergency power systems
  • Flooded areas
  • Medical emergency
  • Utility disruptions
  • Adjacent building fire

Location-specific natural disasters

  • Earthquakes
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Tsunamis

Emergency_Action_Plans_TRP.jpg

Building owners, tenants, and response personnel should coordinate and ensure efficient evacuation procedures are in place for all occupants, including those with disabilities. The EAP should account for:

  • Mobility impairments
  • Wheelchair users
  • Ambulatory mobility disabilities
  • Respiratory impairments
  • Visual impairments
  • Hearing impairments
  • Speech impairments
  • Cognitive impairments

Depending on the characteristics of the building and inherent functions of the occupants, building owners’ preparedness programs may consist of the required Emergency Action Plans, as well as additional plan types such as a Fire Pre Plans, and/or Hazardous Waste Operations plans. Any building response plan should be shared with local responders and include the following site-specific information:

  • Building description
  • Owner/Manager contact information
  • Emergency Assembly Point details
  • Internal and/or external emergency personnel information and contact details
  • Specific hazard details and associated safety data sheets
  • Utility shut-off locations and descriptions
  • Alarm(s) description
  • Emergency equipment inventory and locations
  • Plot plan(s) and floor plan(s)
  • Risk, site and task identified situational checklists and job specific procedures

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

 

Tags: Response Plans, Emergency Action Plan, Office Building

What's Your Plan? Emergency Action Plan or Emergency Response Plan?

Posted on Thu, Apr 14, 2016

Whether your company manufactures consumer products or provides hotel accommodations for thousands of guests across the globe, response planning is a crucial preparedness element that must be implemented in order to minimize the impact of emergencies. For most sites, the foundational response planning tool mandated by government agencies is either the Emergency Action Plan (EAP) or the Emergency Response Plan (ERP). However, while the two plan types sound similar, they have key differences and applicability.

Emergency Action Plan: An EAP can be utilized by a “non-responding” facility where only defensive responses are in play. Generally, these responses equate to evacuation and communication with responders. The EPA has adopted a policy for non-responding facilities similar to that adopted by OSHA in its Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) Standard (29 CFR 1910.120), which allows certain facilities to develop an emergency action plan to ensure employee safety, rather than a full-fledged emergency response plan.

The OSHA regulation (29 CFR 1910.38), states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written emergency action plan. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An emergency action plan must communicate the following minimum requirements:

  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(2))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(3))
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(5))
  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(1))
    The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan.(29 CFR 1910.38(c)(6))

A facility that is not bound by ERP regulations may utilize the EAP if they are located in an area with access to municipal responders and emergency response resources that can facilitate an effective response.

Emergency Response Plan: Depending on industry, operations, and site hazards, sites may be required to submit specialized response plans to one or a variety of federal regulatory agencies. When an ERP is in place, the facility has established first responding capabilities with the intent to initiate offensive actions. (Note: The purpose of the first responder at the operations level, is to protect life, property, or the environment from the effects of the release, not stop the release.)

OSHA regulations (29 CRF 1910.120(q)) state that “an emergency response plan shall be developed and implemented to handle anticipated emergencies prior to the commencement of emergency response operations. The plan shall be in writing and available for inspection and copying by employees, their representatives and OSHA personnel.” According to the Employers who will evacuate their employees from the danger area when an emergency occurs, and who do not permit any of their employees to assist in handling the emergency, are exempt from the requirements of this paragraph if they provide an emergency action plan in accordance with 29 CFR 1910.38.

Emergency response plans need to serve a specific response purpose and meet explicit planning objectives. Every response plan should include site-specific details that are unique to your facility. Below is a list of some basic planning objectives that may be relevant to your facility:

  1. Establish site specific emergency response procedures for each potential threat, risk or emergency scenario. These may include, but are not limited to:
    a. Medical emergencies
    b. Hazardous releases
    c. Fire
    d. Severe weather
    e. Security issues
  2. Design an emergency response team framework and assign personnel to fill primary and alternate roles.
  3. Define notification and emergency response team activation procedures.
  4. Establish communication procedures and a primary and alternate Emergency Operations Center location.
  5. Identify and quantify necessary response equipment
  6. Ensure emergency response team personnel receive applicable and required training
  7. Establish mitigation procedures and protective actions to safeguard the health and safety of on-site personnel and nearby communities.
  8. Identify and ensure availability of responders and supply chain resources
  9. Maintain compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal requirements for environmental hazards, response plans, and training requirements.
  10. Integrate best practices and lessons learned from past training and exercises, actual emergencies, and incident reviews.

In order to be fully integrated with external resources, the Emergency Response Plan structure should be consistent with the National Incident Management System and integrated with Incident Command System concepts.

New Call-to-Action

Tags: Emergency Response Planning, Emergency Action Plan

Managing Multiple Emergency Action Plans: The Template Approach

Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014

Enterprise-wide standardization breeds familiarity. Yet, each facility requires customization due to site-specific risks, threats, and emergency response challenges. This continually evolving component of preparedness, response planning, and regulatory compliance complicates the administrative duties associated with maintaining a company’s multiple Emergency Action Plans (EAPs).

Technology, such as a web-based planning system, provides companies with the tools to balance enterprise-wide standardization and site-specific regulatory criteria. Companies responsible for multiple buildings, possibly in various locations, should demonstrate a commitment to emergency management by creating a systematic template for incident response policies, procedures, and practices. Yet, these templates should enable users to incorporate the detailed, site-specific data necessary for an effective response.

While much of the information required in an EAP is site-specific, a template approach ensures regulatory requirements are communicated and pre-approved company protocols are identified. At a minimum, a template for EAPs should include:

  • Procedure(s) for reporting a fire or other emergency
  • Procedure(s) for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments
  • Procedure(s) to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedure(s) to account for all employees after evacuation
  • Procedure(s) to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties
  • Contact Information of company/building/site management
  • Alarm system details

The primary goal of an EAP is to protect lives. To establish effective EAPs capable of protecting employees or building occupants, companies should conduct analyses to identify necessary site-specific safety measures, including those required in OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.38 regulation. Analyses should identify the following details:

1. Site Analysis

  • Identify existing and potential site hazards through employee feedback, audits, and detailed inspections.

2. Task Analysis

  • Determine job specific methods and procedures for each employee’s duty to reduce or eliminate associated hazards.
  • Review and update methods and procedure when an incident occurs, job responsibilities change, or if hazards are identified through analysis.

3. Risk Analysis

  • Establish risk evaluation criteria, probability of incident, and potential consequences.
  • Monitor and review procedures for continuous improvement, effectiveness, control measures and changed conditions.

After initial analyses, site-specific EAPs should be developed and shared with building occupants. Depending on the characteristics of the building, and inherent roles and responsibilities of the occupants, an EAP may be a component of a comprehensive emergency response-planning program.  This inclusive program may include Facility Response Plans and site-specific Fire Pre Plans. Building emergency response plans should include the following minimum information:

●       Building description

●       Owner/Manager contact information

●       Emergency Assembly Point details

●       Internal and/or external emergency personnel information and contact details

●       Specific hazard details and possible MSDS information, if applicable

●       Utility shut-off locations and descriptions

●       Alarm(s) description

●       Emergency equipment inventory and locations

●       Plot plan(s) and floor plan(s)

●       Risk, site and task identified situational checklists and job specific procedures

Emergency management programs, especially those inclusive of multiple buildings, should include health, safety and environmental training to communicate regulatory requirements, site response methods, and other applicable required safety training. EAPs require that companies designate and train employees to assist in the safe and orderly evacuation of other employees. Job and site specific training should be implemented for current employees, new hires, or supervisors that may need to carry out direct reports’ responsibilities.

Safety audits, inspections, task analyses, and incident investigations often identify a need for additional training and/or highlight necessary changes that may apply response plans.  EAPs must be reviewed when:

  • Initial plan is developed
  • A new employee is assigned to the EAP
  • Employee emergency response role or responsibilities change
  • Plan is revised

 

Challenged with managing preparedness amongst your various facilites? Download TRP's best practices guide on response planning for large organizations with multi-facility operations.

Multiple Facility Response Planning Company Preparedness Guide DOWNLOAD

Tags: OSHA, Regulatory Compliance, Emergency Management Program, Workplace Safety, Emergency Action Plan

Curbing Costs with Preparedness: OSHA's Top Ten Cited Standards

Posted on Thu, Jan 30, 2014

“Statistics suggest that every dollar invested in disaster preparedness yields savings of $4–$11 in disaster response, relief, and recovery.” The Harvard Humanitarian Initiative

Preparedness is directly tied to issues that can adversely affect profitability.  Instituting, upgrading, and/or maintaining a proactive preparedness program may be seen as a superfluous expenditure. However, when companies can deliberately protect lives, prevent hazardous environmental impacts, limit property damage, and eliminate regulatory fines, prioritizing an EHS program becomes an investment in the sustainability of a company. 

OSHA recently revealed its Top Ten most frequently cited standards for the 2013 fiscal year (October 1, 2012 through September 30, 2013). The list incorporates worksite inspection findings of Federal OSHA inspectors from across the country. Ideally, companies should utilize this list to conduct assessments, identify potential site-specific compliance lapses, and mitigate these highly recognized hazards. In a press release, OSHA stated, “Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.”  The Top Ten most frequently cited standards include:

  1. 1926.501 - Fall Protection
  2. 1910.1200 - Hazard Communication
  3. 1926.451 - Scaffolding
  4. 1910.134 - Respiratory Protection
  5. 1910.305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods
  6. 1910.178 - Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. 1926.1053 - Ladders
  8. 1910.147 - Lockout/Tagout
  9. 1910.303 - Electrical, General Requirements
  10. 1910.212 - Machine Guarding

The Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that fatal falls, slips, or trips took the lives of 668 workers in 2012, down slightly from 2011. In 2012, the height of the fall was reported in 437 of the fatal falls to a lower level. Of those cases, about one in four occurred after a fall of 10 feet or less. Another one-fourth of the fatal fall cases occurred from falls of over 30 feet. Companies should utilize this information to evaluate their site-specific safety measures. By analyzing current safety elements, processes, and procedures, companies can potentially mitigate inefficiencies and substandard compliant operations.

A cost-benefit analysis of an emergency management program can highlight the potential cost savings of an effective program. Prevention, mitigation, and planning costs should be compared with the financial impact of situational recovery processes and the overall costs of an incident. These costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Human life
  • Short term or long term business interruption
  • Lawsuit(s)
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Equipment failure
  • Inventory/stock losses
  • Fines
  • Reputation
  • Environmental destruction

Additionally, companies must ensure that their facilities are compliant with OSHA requirements to develop  written Emergency Action Plans (EAP) and Fire Prevention Plans. The requirement is based on the number of employees that are physically in a facility at any time of the working day. The regulation states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written EAP. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An EAP must communicate the following minimum requirements:

  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(2))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(3))
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(5))
  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(1))
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan. (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(6))
For a free download on Fire Pre Plans, click the image below:
TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: OSHA HAZWOPER, OSHA, Emergency Preparedness, Emergency Management Program, Emergency Action Plan

Office Building Emergency Management and Emergency Action Plans

Posted on Thu, Oct 24, 2013

Modern office buildings are generally considered safe and healthy working environments. However in order to maintain OSHA safety standards, office building management should include a Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) program that identifies regulatory requirements, including  site safety and evacuation procedures. Building inspections, safety audits, and evacuation drills, can identify the need for site specific mitigation opportunities and necessary safety training to correct, minimize or eliminate unsafe procedures or processes.

Although each office building exhibits unique geographical and operational hazards, there are commonalities that may need to be addressed through a HSE program.  Common office building health and safety hazards may include, but are limited to:

  • Construction method
  • Ventilation
  • Illumination
  • Noise
  • Physical Layout
  • Exit/Egress
  • Fire Hazards
  • Handling and Storage Hazards
  • Electrical Equipment
  • Ladders, stands, stools
  • Severe weather or naturally occurring events
  • Office tools

A wide variety of emergencies, both manmade and natural, may require an office building to be evacuated or shelter in place. These emergencies may include:

  • Fires, explosions, toxic material releases, radiological and biological accidents, civil disturbances and workplace violence
  • Floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes

A disorganized response and evacuation can result in confusion, injury, and/or property damage. To establish a systematic response with a safe and orderly office building evacuation, HSE programs should include an incident or emergency action plan (EAP) and associated employee training.

Some companies own and maintain their office buildings, while other employers lease office space. If the space is leased, building management and employers should create a partnership in a joint effort to promote safety. A well-developed response or EAP is an effective tool to heighten safety awareness measures. For certain employers, regulatory requirements may require a written EAP. According to OSHA, the purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. In order to customize an office-building plan, employers should:

  • Identify potential hazards features and emergency scenarios
  • Communicate how employees should respond to each identified emergency
  • Customize plan by developing floor plans (or worksite layout)
  • Communicate on-site emergency systems and/or alarms

The OSHA requirement to develop a written EAP or fire prevention plan is based on the number of employees that are physically in a facility at any time of the working day. The regulation states that employers with 10 or fewer employees do not have to create a written emergency action plan. However, employers are still required by OSHA to communicate an EAP to staff. An emergency action plan must communicate the following minimum requirements:

  • Procedures for emergency evacuation, including type of evacuation and exit route assignments (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(2))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical operations before they evacuate (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(3))
  • Procedures to account for all employees after evacuation (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(4))
  • Procedures to be followed by employees performing rescue or medical duties (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(5))
  • Means of reporting fires or other emergencies (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(1))
  • The name or job title of every employee who may be contacted by employees who need more information about the plan or an explanation of their duties under the plan. (29 CFR 1910.38(c)(6))

Job and site-specific emergency response training should be implemented for current employees, new hires, and supervisors. An employer must review the EAP with each employee covered by the plan:

  • When the plan is developed or the employee is assigned initially to a job
  • When the employee's responsibilities under the plan change
  • When the plan is changed

Additionally, the EAP must address alarm system specifications. An employer must have and maintain a working alarm system that utilizes a distinctive signal and complies with the requirements in 29 CFR 1910.165.

For a free download on Fire Pre Planning, click the image below:

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Training and Exercises, Facility Management, Emergency Management Program, Communication Plan, Emergency Action Plan

Incident Response Communication Plan and NG9-1-1

Posted on Mon, Jul 22, 2013

The ability to swiftly and effectively communicate incident details and subsequent response actions is an important factor of effective incident management. The standard "phone tree" has evolved into a variety of dynamic communication modes used to interact with internal and external responders, and stakeholders. Most professionals have several phone numbers, multiple email addresses, and can receive SMS (text) messages and digital images.

Because of the vast availability of this technology, it is essential to pre-plan standardized methods and notification procedures that will allow companies to rapidly communicate. If a company uses more than one practice (i.e. e-mails, texts, or telephone calls) to reach responders and stakeholders, the chances are improved that the message will be received. Responders should identify, agree, and exercise a primary means of communication in order to respond readily. Communication mode consistency and training in response communication procedures can streamline anticipated methods and assure messages are received promptly.

Just as common communication methodology is important for communication, commonly understood terminology is essential. A multi-agency incident response requires simple and parallel language. Communicating through unfamiliar company radio codes, agency specific codes, perplexing acronyms, unanticipated text messages, or specialized jargon will disconnect and confuse employees, responders, and/or stakeholders, possibly prolonging a response.

According to FEMA, common ICS terminology helps to define:

  • Organizational Functions: Major functions and functional units with incident management responsibilities are named and defined.
  • Resource Descriptions: Major resources (personnel, facilities, and equipment/ supply items) are given common names and are "typed" or categorized by their capabilities. This helps to avoid confusion and enhances interoperability.
  • Incident Facilities: Common terminology is used to designate incident facilities.
  • Position Titles: ICS management or supervisory positions are referred to by titles, such as Officer, Chief, Director, Supervisor, or Leader.

But even with an effort to institute advanced technology into communication methods and streamline procedures with injected common terminology, not everyone on the emergency notification lists has access to various modes of communications. This is particularly true of the current 9-1-1 system. While there have been many improvements to the 9-1-1 system over its nearly 45 year history, (notably the ability to locate and route wireless callers), the call center infrastructure has remained fundamentally the same.

According to the US Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), “The nation’s current 9-1-1 system is designed around outdated telephone technology and cannot handle the text, data, images, and video that are common in personal communications and critical to future safety and mobility advances.”  To combat this, the “Next Generation 9-1-1” (NG9-1-1) initiative calls to retrofit call center infrastructures in order for call centers or Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) to receive emergencies reports in a variety of digital means. RITA explains that the NG9-1-1 is a system comprised of hardware, software, data, and operational policies and procedures that will be able to:

  • Enable 9-1-1 calls from a variety of networked devices
  • Provide faster and more accurate information and delivery to responders. Delivery will incorporate better and more useful forms of information (e.g., real-time text, images, video, and other data).
  • Establish more flexible, secure, and robust PSAP operations with increased capabilities for sharing data and resources, and more efficient procedures and standards to improve emergency response.
  • Enable call access, transfer, backup, and improved interoperability among PSAPs and other authorized emergency entities.

President of the NENA Executive Board, Barbara Jaeger, ENP, told 9-1-1 Magazine that “it could be eight to ten years before full, seamless real-time text to 9-1-1 is available across states and the nation unless NG9-1-1 is prioritized and adequately funded”.  However, the initiative seems to be a priority to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC stated that text to 911 would have nationwide availability by May 15, 2014. The FCC stresses that text to 911 will be a complement to, not a substitute for, voice calls to 911 services.

Durham, North Carolina’s emergency communication center is one of the first NG-9-1-1 systems in the US. The Durham center lays the groundwork for other call centers to accept text, images, and video once mobile carriers make this an available option to their customers. Ideally, the NG9-1-1 capability will be instrumental in providing law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and other first responders detailed, incident-specific information, possibly resulting in a more efficient response.

An FCC press release stated, “In addition, to help eliminate consumer confusion while text-to-911 capability is being phased-in, the carriers have committed to provide an automatic “bounce back” text message to notify consumers if their attempt to reach 911 via text message was unsuccessful because this service is not yet available in their area. Such a message would instruct the recipient to make a voice call to a 911 center. The four carriers (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile) will fully implement this “bounce back” capability across their networks by June 30, 2013.”

As NG9-1-1 implementation gains momentum, companies should evaluate notification and disclosure procedures in order to align corporate communication practices with advanced emergency communication strategies. As a result, timely notifications can be initiated and acted upon in the event an incident occurs at your facility.

New Call-to-Action

Tags: Emergency Management Program, Communication Plan, Media and Public Relations, Social Media, Emergency Action Plan, Notification Systems

Incident Specific Response Planning

Posted on Thu, May 30, 2013

No two crisis situations or responses are identical. As a result, Emergency Managers and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Managers responsible for developing and managing comprehensive, compliant, and functional response plans should create a broad scope of planned responses for potential emergency and crisis situations. In many circumstances, response efforts to various incidents may be similar. However, supplemental response procedures for specific hazards or threats can be added to the overall emergency management program to address these scenarios.

Focused supplemental response procedures or plans, for specific events such as pandemic flu and hurricanes can encompass a full range of hazards and potential threats and unique response details that apply to that single hazard. Depending upon response plan structure and volume of content, hazard-specific information may be included within an all-hazards response plan, or created as a stand-alone plan.

Hazard or incident-specific plans should include the same level of detail as the basic response plan, including, but not limited to:

  • Specific location(s)
  • Contact information for internal and external responders
  • Evacuation routes
  • Plot Plans
  • Specific provisions and protocols for warning employees, the public, and disseminating emergency information
  • Personal protective equipment and detection devices
  • Policies and processes for each specific hazard response
  • Identification of additional potential hazards
  • Response team roles and responsibilities
  • Recovery and restoration processes

Just as in the primary response plan, a planning team may use supporting documents as necessary to clarify the contents of the incident specific plan. These supporting documents can include hazard specific aerial photographs, facility maps, checklists, resource inventories, and summaries of critical information. Supplemental response plans may include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessment and control of the hazard information
  • Identification of unique prevention and preparedness of critical infrastructure/key resources
  • Initial protective actions
  • Communications procedures and warning systems
  • Implementation of protective actions
  • Identification of short-term stabilization actions
  • Implementation of recovery actions

Below are examples of potential supplemental response plans. Theses plans should be aligned with site-specific company facilities and personnel details.

  • Hurricane Plans:  Identifies response procedures and specific pre and post hurricane responsibilities according to landfall prediction timeline. May require providing evacuation route maps or shelter in place areas. Evacuation routes and scope of evacuation may change depending on the location of the facility, potential threats, or forecast.
  • Fire Pre Plans: Addresses specific information necessary to effectively fight a fire and limit exposures. Chemical and hazardous details in regards to particular buildings, tanks, and process units, and foam and water requirements should be included in fire pre plans.
  • Pandemic Plans: Documents procedures and methods necessary to maintain and restore operations of critical business processes in the event of a pandemic outbreak among the local population and workforce.
  • Additional Natural Disasters: 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, supplemental plans may be developed for one or more of the following:
    • Floods
    • Tornadoes
    • Thunderstorms and Lightning
    • Winter Storms and Extreme Cold
    • Extreme Heat
    • Earthquakes
    • Volcanoes
    • Landslide and Debris Flow (Mudslide)
    • Tsunamis
    • Wildfires

The planning development stage must include the identification of potential site specific hazards, and the critical responses necessary to respond to those hazards. To ensure consistency, it is a best practice for hazard-specific plans to follow the same layout and organizational format as the main response plan. This allows for familiarity and continuity, which enables the information to be identified and disseminated in a timely manner. Best practices also dictate that plans be developed during normal operational conditions, prior to any threatened outbreak. Training on the specific response plans allows for a complete understanding of assigned responsibilities and processes if an actual incident were to occur.

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

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Event Preparedness, Extreme Weather, Hurricane Preparedness, Flood Preparedness, Emergency Action Plan

Incident Action Plans and the ICS Components

Posted on Mon, Oct 29, 2012

The incident action planning process should synchronize site-specific incident response operations and objectives based on the Incident Command System (ICS). The Incident Action Plan (IAP) should include predetermined activities or processes, repeated in each operational period, that provide a consistent rhythm and structure to the required incident management at the scene. With a detailed plan in place, response objectives can be met with the appropriate integrated incident response and coordinated operational support.

An incident is “an occurrence, natural or manmade, that requires a response to protect life or property.” - The National Incident Management System Glossary

The Incident Management Team must ensure that the IAP being developed meets the needs of the incident and the response objectives. Included in the IAP are ICS forms, a valuable resource for advancing a response to controlled conditions. However, leaders must be vigilant that these forms do not become the primary focus of the planning process, but rather a support tool that furthers the integration of a rational and effective planning process.

ICS forms are intended for developing IAPs, incident management activities, and for support and documentation of ICS activities. ICS forms are utilized to document many primary response components and provide the site-specific information utilized during a response. Personnel using the forms should have a basic understanding of the National Incident Management System (NIMS), including ICS, through training and/or experience to ensure they can effectively use and understand these forms.

ICS Forms used with IAP

The following ICS forms are typically included with an IAP. The information below includes the form identification number, the position responsible for form completion, and a summary of the form's objectives.

ICS Form-200: Action Plan Cover Page completed by Resource Status Unit Leader:

  • Identifies the ICS forms used in the IAP.
  • Incident Name
  • Date and time of operational period
  • Approval signature

ICS Form-202: Incident Objectives completed by the Incident Planning Chief:

  • Identifies overall general control objectives for the incident
  • May include general weather forecast for the specific operational period
ICS Form-203: Organization Assignment list completed by the Resource Unit Leader:
  •  Identifies list of assigned personnel for the following
    • Incident Command Staff
    • Agency representative
    • Planning Section
    • Logistics Section
    • Operations Section
    • Financial Section
    • Additional Divisions/Groups
    • Possible Air Operations

ICS Form-204: Assignment list completed by the Resource Unit Leader or Section Chief and Operations Section Chief:

  • Location of Assignments for current operational period
  • Operation Personnel Assigned
  • Nature of Operations
  • Special instructions
  • Group communications summary
44324.jpg

ICS Form-205: Incident Radio Communication Plan completed by the Communications Unit Leader:

  • Basic radio channel utilization
    • Channel
    • Function
    • Frequency/tone
    • Assignment

ICS Form-206: Medical Plan completed by the Medical Unit Leader:

  • Incident Medical Aid Station
  • Ambulance service
  • Hospitals
  • Paramedic availability
  • Medical emergency procedures

Other ICS Forms are utilized in the ICS process for incident management activities, but may not be included in the IAP. 

Once the IAP is complete with appropriate ICS form attachments, the plan should:

  1. Specify the objectives for the next operational period
  2. Define the work assignments for the next operational period, including extracts of site-specific safety messages (Note: the Site Safety Plan, ICS Form-208, is generally a stand-alone document which may or may not be included in the IAP)
  3. Define the resources needed for each operational period to reach objectives
  4. Depict organization of response personnel
  5. List radio and telephone communications for all incident personnel
  6. Specify a medical plan to follow in case of a responder emergency

Identify resources at risk: Possibly include a sketch or other graphics of situational and response status that may include trajectories, shorelines, or aerial view results 

Click the image below for a "A Step-by-Step Guide: Be Prepared for Your Next Incident"

Preparedness and Emergency Management - TRP Corp

Tags: Incident Action Plan, Crisis Mapping, Crisis Management, Incident Management, Regulatory Compliance, Event Preparedness, Emergency Action Plan