Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

Don’t Make These Three Common Industrial Fire Pre-Planning Mistakes

Posted on Thu, Jun 15, 2017

Does your industrial facility have specific fire response plans or fire pre-plans? If you answered “yes”, are they accurate and up-to-date? According to investigations conducted by The US Chemical Safety Board (CSB), “Inadequate or poor emergency planning or response has been a recurring finding.” To be sure your facility does not become a statistic, fire pre-plans should be properly developed and exercised. When best practices are followed, these plans can minimize the impacts of a fire on employees, the facility, and possibly the surrounding area.

Below are three common fire pre-planning mistakes and corrective measures that can enhance the overall usability of these plans, limiting the potential impacts of a fire.

1. Lack of a Local Planning Coordination: Coordinating fire pre-plans between private and public entities can result in an expedient and safer response. Yet, many companies do not take the time to communicate and coordinate. Partnering with associated response participants will result in a more successful and streamlined implementation of the intended plan.
Coordinated efforts should be reflected when establishing, updating, exercising, and responding to fire emergencies. A coordinated effort should consist of a combination of agreed elements including:
  • Personnel
  • Procedures
  • Company protocols
  • Best practices
  • Communications systems and methods

Establishing and sharing up-to-date facility information and site-specific potential hazards in a coordinated effort prior to a fire can assist responders in:

  • Determining appropriate and proven response methods
  • Acquiring and locating necessary equipment
  • Removing site-specific obstacles
  • Identifying neighboring exposures

The faster the first responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner the incident will be contained and facility operations restored to “business as usual”. Limiting liabilities in a fire emergency by informing first responders of key components is crucial to your company's livelihood.

Fire alarm.jpeg

2. Difficult Fire Pre-Plan Format: As your organization evolves, grows, and changes over time, personnel, hazards, response equipment, and overall site layout may change. Many plans are out-of-date or the most recent versions are not distributed.

Plan details, such as site-specific information, firewater system, exposures, building hazards, and foam calculations, create thorough fire pre-plans, and may need to be updated over time. Dismissing the importance of maintaining these crucial response plans with the most up-to-date information could put lives at risk, exacerbate the emergency, and become a costly loss for a company.

As a result, each time a single component of the fire pre-plan needs to be updated, a paper document needs to be redistributed. If the plans are located on an internal intranet, the updated document should replace the former version. Utilizing a web-based, database driven system offers instantaneous updates to all authorized personnel, eliminating the possibility of “version confusion”.

These plans should be in “easy-to-read” formats. It is important to remember that responders may have to refer to fire plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier the information is to read, the better it is for all responders. When facilities are large or spread out, color-coded plot plans can be utilized for each segment of the facility. Response strategies can be developed for each area, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.

Because of an increasingly technological-driven culture, the concept of utilizing technology for preparedness planning continues to expand. Establishing or converting your paper-based plans into a web-based, database driven system allows for simple modifications, streamlined company formats, and easy distribution.

3. Limited Accessibility: Industrial fires can escalate quickly and the potential danger to lives and the environment can exponentially increase with time. In the event of an emergency, up-to-date paper plans may not be readily available. Even if a company utilizes electronic plans housed on a remotely accessed intranet, emergency events can render the main data source or server inaccessible.

When an incident is isolated to a particular location, web-based response plans offer accessibility on a company-wide scale. Web-based plans can also provide hyperlinks, forms libraries, simplified interfaces, and other tools designed to improve functionality for plan users and streamline company response elements.

But with any data system, redundancy and backup efforts are essential.  In the event Internet connectivity is terminated or inaccessible, emergency managers and responders must have alternative means to access plans. Redundant data centers, scheduled downloads, and security measures must be a part of any web-based emergency management program. This allows for multiple options for accessibility, ensuring the responders have the correct information at critical times.

 

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness

Drought, Wildfire, and Corporate Fire PrePlanning

Posted on Thu, May 19, 2016

According to the U.S. Federal Government, more than 39 million people, or about one-eighth of the U.S. population, is living with drought.  “About 12.5 percent of the continental U.S. was experiencing drought as of mid-March” said Alice Hill, ‎Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Resilience Policy in the White House National Security Council. As warmer temperatures prevail, the probability of wildfires in drought prone areas increases, threatening every community and company facility in its path.

Although the west coast has been affected by a long term severe drought, other areas of the country are experiencing impacts, as well. In early March, before peak wildfire season, Kansas experienced the largest wildfires in state history. The fire burned nearly 620 square miles in southern Kansas and Oklahoma. The National Interagency Fire Center predicted above normal significant fire potential from the southern plains, expanding to the mid-Mississippi Valley and lower Ohio Valleys, and eventually to the Great Lakes as drier and warmer trends continue through the spring months.

Wildfires can have significant impacts on industry. Any situation that hinders a company's ability to access key infrastructure and perform critical operations requires thoughtful and effective response planning initiatives. Scenario specific plan evaluations that enable personnel to identify, prioritize, and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, is critical for minimizing losses and financial damages.

An initial fire pre-plan assessment should be conducted to identify the likelihood of wildfires in your area. If one or more of a company’s facilities has the potential to be in the path of a wildfire, management should ensure fire pre-plans are up-to date and effective, and take the following preventative measures to minimize risk.

  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. If applicable, establish response team and train as necessary

The foundation of an effective fire pre-plan is based on site-specific details and up-to-date information. This pertinent information greatly assists responders in determining response methods and optimal equipment needs. Internal response teams and external fire departments should have knowledge of potential hazards and associated facility details prior to arriving at an incident. Shared fire pre plans can promote a coordinated, expedient, and safer response in the event of a wildfire.

Fire pre plans generally include information that will be used by decision makers at the incident. Below are a few insightful fire pre plan helpful hints to consider when developing your site-specific plans:

  • Emergency procedures should include tactical consideration and personnel accountability measures.
  • Update and share plans with external responders and fire departments, as necessary. It is critical to include updated contact information for key staff, as well as status updates of new construction and renovations.
  • Implement a securely accessible means for pre plan storage, retrieval, and sharing.
  • Ensure plans are intuitive and easy to read. . Fire responses may occur when light and/or visibility is limited. The easier the plan is to read, the better it is for all responders.
  • Utilize plot plans to separate large complexes into response sections. It may be optimal to divide complex into color-coded quadrants. Response strategies can be developed for each quadrant, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.
  • Accurately identify alarm panel locations, key box locations, and hydrants.
  • Specify location and details of stored hazardous materials
  • Coordinate response exercises with fire departments
  • Implement lessons learned and new firefighting tactics into response plans

 

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness

Fire Pre Plan Templates: How to Make them Work for You!

Posted on Thu, May 15, 2014

From industrial facilities to multi-story office buildings, creating site-specific fire pre-plans and sharing them with first responders prior to an actual emergency is critical to the safety of employees and responders. But for companies with numerous locations, establishing customized, company-wide response plan templates can ensure a cohesive, yet site-specific standardization of best practices.

Off the shelf, generic plan templates will not address every site-specific aspect of a facility. An enterprise-wide template should serve as an outline of required information, populated with site details, and may be useful to responders if highlighted in an stand-alone format.  The information listed in a fire pre-plan, such as floor plan(s) and details of on-site hazardous material(s), are required by multiple agencies (OSHA, DOT, EPA, USCG) as part of an overall emergency response plan.  However, other specific fire-fighting information, such as construction details, hydrant, and utility valve locations are specific to each location.  The information contained within a site’s fire pre plan should be shared with responders prior to an emergency.

The purpose of pre fire emergency plans are to ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. However, pre plans are only effective if accurate and pertinent information is included. Depending on the operation, pre-plan templates can range from the simple to complex. Utilizing a customizable template allows each site to provide the necessary data required to assist responders in determining the best response for the specific scenario.

Despite the response situation or circumstances, a fire pre plan template 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

Responders continually verify the importance for fire pre plan simplicity, clarity and accuracy. Template formats should reflect “best practices” and should be periodically reviewed by responding fire department. From the initial information-gathering phase, to a pre plan application during the response; crucial response information must be shared to ensure a timely and effective response. 

Fire Pre Plan - TRP CORP

Below is a compilation of insightful fire pre plan helpful hints from various first responders and fire departments:

  • Storage and Plan Access:
    • Implement a means of easily accessible pre plan storage and retrieval. Web-based pre plans can offer password protected accessibility options
    • Updates:
      • Update plans and communicate with external responders and fire departments often. Include status updates of new buildings construction and renovations being performed.
    • Template formats:
      • Create easy-to-read formats. Responders may be reading these plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier to read, the better it is for all responders.
      • Separate large complexes into color-coded quadrants. Response strategies can be developed for each quadrant, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.
    • Site Access:
      • Update external responders on perimeter gate entry codes whenever changes are made.
      • Identify location of alarm panel locations, and key box locations.
    • Hazardous Materials:
      • Specify location and identity of stored hazardous materials
      • Include known quantities of hazardous materials, if applicable
    • Training and Exercises:
      • Coordinate response exercises with fire department training drills
    • Best Practices and Advancements:
      • Implement lessons learned and new firefighting tactics and equipment into response plans

Just as fire extinguishers are accessible to employees, response plans must be accessible to responders. Companies should involve local fire departments and specialized emergency responders in the development of fire pre plans, and conduct coordinated fire drills to ensure the safety of individuals and response capabilities of responders.

 

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: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Emergency Management, Response Plans, Emergency Management Program

4 Preparedness Templates Every Response Plan Administrator Must Have

Posted on Thu, May 08, 2014

Every company, whether an industrial enterprise or a large office building management group, must operate profitably and ensure the safety of its employees, yet comply with a complex array of federal, state and local regulations.  A lack of response planning and neglectful preparedness efforts can result in regulatory compliance fines, infrastructure damage, a negative public perception, and possibly a government-mandated shutdown of operations. While response plan requirements vary by industry, operation, and applicable regulations, utilizing these four preparedness elements can lay the foundation for a basic response planning program.

1. Emergency Response Plan: Every effort should be made to include processes and procedures to respond to the most likely emergency scenarios relevant to your site. Depending on industry, operations, and site hazards, companies may be required to submit specialized response plans to one or a variety of federal regulatory agencies.

Emergency responses plans need to serve a specific response purpose and meet explicit planning objectives. 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:
    1. Medical emergencies
    2. Hazardous releases
    3. Fire
    4. Severe weather
    5. 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.

2. Fire Pre plan: The purpose of the pre fire emergency plans is to ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. The information listed in a fire pre-plan, such as floor plan(s) and details of on-site hazardous material(s), may also required by multiple agencies (OSHA, DOT, EPA, USCG) as part of an overall emergency response plan.  However, specific fire fighting information, such as construction details, hydrant, and utility valve locations may be useful to responders if highlighted in a stand-alone format and shared with responders prior to an emergency.

Having up-to-date information readily available, and available to knowledgeable responders has been proven to limit the duration of the emergency.  The faster responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained...and the sooner facility operations can be restored to “business as usual”.

3. Business Continuity: Companies should establish methods to preserve critical business processes during adverse conditions to ensure operational viability and minimize the potential of lost revenues. Failure to develop an effective business continuity plan can lead to costly and devastating impacts, often affecting the long-term viability of a company.

The following business continuity planning cycle should be incorporated into every business process in order to reduce the duration of a disruption during an emergency.

  • PLAN: Identify the following -
    • Potential risks/threats
    • Trigger events
    • Impacted business processes/activities
    • Incident response structure
    • Warning and communication process
    • Recovery time objectives
  • ESTABLISH: Define the following -
    • Parameters of business continuity strategy
    • Communication and documentation processes
    • Training requirements
    • Detailed employee/ vendor contact information
    • Supplier dependencies and alternate resources
  • IMPLEMENT:
    • Initiate response checklists
    • Activate relocation strategies of critical processes
  • OPERATE: Manage critical processes and recovery time objectives.
  • MONITOR:
    • Equipment requirements
    • Primary and alternate facility details
    • Application and software requirements
  • MAINTAIN: Update key details and associated processes as deficiencies and inaccuracies are identified
  • CONTINUALLY IMPROVE: Incorporate lessons learned into the plans and training and periodically evaluate critical business processes to ensure that evolving businesses practices are captured.

4. Crisis Management Plan: When incidents occur, a crisis management plan (CMP) can minimize the escalation effect; such as a company’s short and long-term reputation, adverse financial performance, and overall impingement of company longevity. The associated level of preparedness may mean the difference between a crisis averted and an exhaustive corporate disaster.  

The following concepts should be utilized to generate an effective crisis management plan:

  • PREDICT: Identify all potential threats to “business as usual” operations. This can range from incidents requiring an emergency response to human resource controversies.
  • POSITION: Determine what your position or viewpoint will be on potential issues.
  • PREVENT: Take preventive measures to avert emergency situations and proactively deter negative perceptions. This includes generating effective response procedures and recovery processes for a variety of potential threats..
  • PLAN:  If mitigation efforts fail or an emergency situation arises, prepare a plan for responding to all internal and external aspects of the crisis. This may include identifying and communicating with media, and all audiences that may be affected by each crisis situation.
  • PERSEVERE: Follow your plan and communicate company positions and ongoing activities to counteract the incident. Proactive efforts, honesty, empathy, and preparedness will assist in maintaining company viability and reputation.
  • EVALUATE: If the CMP is enacted, review the results to determine if adjustments should be made.

 

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: Fire Pre Plans, Business Continuity, Fire Preparedness, Emergency Preparedness, Response Plans, Crisis Management, Emergency Response Planning, Business Continuity Plan

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

Fire Pre Plan Forms - Success is in the Details!

Posted on Mon, Jan 06, 2014

Safeguarding businesses from fire and subsequent losses should begin with pre-planning, effective mitigation measures, employees training, and local responder coordination. Fire pre-planning should be used to bolster overall EHS objectives subjected to regulatory requirements. However, according to the National Fire Protection Associations (NFPA), between 2006 and 2010 fire damage cost industrial and manufacturing facilities an estimated $951 million each year.

Many industrial facilities contain unique hazards and obstacles, making it more difficult to manage an effective response to a fire.  By removing uncertainties and hazards associated with a company’s facilities, included emergency response strategies and tactical decision-making processes can empower responders to react expeditiously and potentially limit damage to buildings. Through coordinated efforts, local responders can enter into an emergency situation conscious of existing factors and minimize unnecessary risk, while giving the responders every possible advantage in responding effectively to a fire. 

Site-specific information is the foundation of an effective fire pre plan. Fire pre plans generally include information that will be used by decision makers at the incident. The following key fire pre plan components should be common to most fire pre plans: The plan must:

  • Be in writing
  • List major site hazards
  • Include a plot plan
  • Have current information

Establishing company-wide pre-plan templates ensures information is recorded in a uniform manner. However, pre plans are only effective if accurate and pertinent information is included. Depending on the company’s operations, pre-plan templates can range from the simple to complex. Below is a compilation of insightful fire pre plan helpful hints from various first responders and fire departments:

  • Update plans and communicate with external responders and fire departments often! Include status updates of new buildings construction and renovations being performed.
  • Implement a means of easily accessible pre plan storage and retrieval.
  • Make forms easy to read! Responders may be reading these plans at night, in periods of limited light, and in inclement weather. The easier to read, the better it is for all responders.
  • Separate large complexes into color-coded quadrants. Response strategies can be developed for each quadrant, making it much easier to respond to fires in large complexes.
  • Update external responders on perimeter gate entry codes whenever changes are made.
  • Identify location of alarm panel locations, key box locations.
  • Specify location and identity of stored hazardous materials
  • Coordinate response exercises with fire department training drills
  • Implement lessons learned and new firefighting tactics into response plans

Responders continually verify the importance for fire pre plan simplicity, clarity and accuracy. From the initial information-gathering phase to a pre plan application during the response; crucial response information must be communicated effectively. 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

Companies with numerous locations and/or vast corporate complexes can greatly benefit from web-based fire pre planning, Responders can utilize mobile devices to search fire pre plan for specific data within seconds, access web cams for real time information, and/or download planning information for future reference. Companies that strive to maintain a large amount of pre planning information, , and struggle with consistency and secured plan accessibility should consider web-based technology.

For a free fire pre plan guide, click the image below:

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Fire Pre Plans, Emergency Response, Fire Preparedness, Workplace Safety

New Fire Fighting Technologies and Fire Pre Planning

Posted on Thu, Oct 10, 2013

Every year, thousands of firefighters are injured or killed while fighting fires, performing rescues, responding to emergency medical or hazardous material incidents, or participating in necessary training. In efforts to maximize safety, save lives, and minimize injuries of firefighters, innovative technologies are being utilized by fire departments across the United States.

According to U.S. Fire Administration statistics, an estimated 81,070 firefighters are injured on the job annually in the United States, and through mid-September of 2013, 79 firefighter fatalities were reported. Structural fires are the causes of 87% of fire-related firefighter injuries. In an effort to maximize safety, access to web-based fire pre plans, as well as innovative firefighter technologies have been on the rise.

Firefighter Nation highlighted four areas where technology is making its impact on firefighting. Those areas include:

  • Tablet computers
  • Drones
  • Simulation Training
  • Importance of Preplanning

For decades, Fire Pre Plans were housed in binders or embedded within foldable maps. With the wide availability of mobile phones and tablets computers, cloud and web-based technologies have allowed fire departments to communicate real-time pre plan information and gather pertinent information at their fingertips. Tablets feature multiple communication methods, including email and instant messaging apps, as well as specialized information applications, such as WISER, that allow firefighters to determine the hazardous nature of the incident instantaneously. This year, Charlottesville Fire Department installed iPads in their engines, brush trucks, ladder truck, tanker, and command vehicle. Through the addition of mobile hardware, site-specific information, responder locations, and estimated response times can be transmitted to fire stations and other responders.

Technology has enabled firefighter tracking to advance beyond typical GPS. Honeywell recently released GLANSER (Geo-spatial Location, Accountability and Navigation System for Emergency Responders). According to Honeywell, GLANSER is “capable of tracking firefighters in a multi-story building within one to three meter’s accuracy, showing an incident commander what floor a firefighter is on, what area of the floor the firefighter is working in, and whether the firefighter needs help.” However, unlike typical tracking systems, GLANSER doesn’t rely on GPS. Tony Wyman, Honeywell First Responder Products Vice-president of Marketing stated,  “In an environment like an open field, GPS connectivity is a viable solution to the problem of finding and tracking a lost firefighter. But in a structure where GPS may be unable to penetrate, it might be worthless. What firefighters and incident commanders need, is a robust, scalable and affordable system that can operate reliably in a GPS-denied environment. That is what GLANSER can do.”  Honeywell plans to test the system with two major fire departments this summer and perform extensive field-testing in the second half of 2013.

Drones, once reserved for specialized military operations, have proven exceptionally effective in mapping forest fires and depicting the extent of flooding situations. Surveillance drones can provide real-time imagery affording responders a birds-eye view of an area. The recent California RIM fires and Colorado flooding highlighted the invaluable utilization of drones to evaluate and determine response limitations, countermeasures, and tactical solutions. Aerial images of the RIM fire allowed engineers to create predictive models of how the fire would potentially spread, allowing for effective countermeasure to be implemented.

According to Firefighting Nation, there are several effective training simulation software programs to assist firefighters in re-creating an emergency incident. The article mentions CommandSim, Digital Combustion, and Action Training Systems as potentially effective software training programs. To be most effective, simulation software should allow fire departments to download identified hazards and site-specific pre plan information into the simulation to reflect real-world applicable scenarios.

Despite the advancement in fire fighting technology, optimizing an effective response requires preparedness. Fire pre plans provide useful information about particular structures. Pre plans can be developed for schools, office buildings, hospitals, hotels, apartment buildings, shopping centers, laboratories, industrial facilities, and other sites. These plans may describe the building’s size, number of floors, construction details and materials, occupancy, and hazardous materials locations. Pre-incident photos, hydrant locations, and other water sources should be included in a pre plan in order to quickly determine how to approach a scene and identify the equipment necessary to combat the blaze. Web-based pre plan software can be easily shared with mutual-aid companies and additional responders, allowing for a unified and cohesive response.

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

TRP Corp Fire Pre-Plans Pre Fire Plan

Tags: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Fire Preparedness, Training and Exercises, Virtualization

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

Geographical Risks and Business Continuity

Posted on Thu, Dec 06, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Industrial Fire Pre Plans and Fire Fighting Tactics

Posted on Mon, Nov 19, 2012

An industrial fire erupted on October 11, 2012 at an Ohio processing plant that produces cattle feed from vegetable oil.  After battling the flames for two hours, fire crews evacuated, due to the potential for explosion of nearby rail cars. According to the Willoughby News Herald, Painesville Township Fire Chief Frank Whittaker said, “The vegetable oil process contained in the cars was not dangerous by itself, but under pressure from the heat of the flames the tankers could vent, potentially causing a catastrophic explosion.”

During a fire response, circumstances can change in an instant. Having current information regarding site-specific facility hazards prior to arriving at an incident can assist in determining response methods and necessary equipment. Utilizing a shared fire pre-plan can minimize impacts and potential catastrophes caused by ill-informed responders. Fire pre-plans can ensure a coordinated, expedient, and safe response in the event of a fire. The faster responders can locate, assess, access, and mitigate the emergency, the sooner an incident can be contained.

Industrial fire pre-plans should include the following information, at a minimum:

Building Information:
Address and other location details
Construction and roofing materials
Building use and contents
Access/egress points
Typical occupancy
Floor plans
Utility details
Description of emergency lighting and alarms
Fire Protection Equipment:
Type of smoke detectors
Sprinkler systems
Description of and location of fire extinguishers
Location of fire hydrants/extinguishers
Special Hazards:
Type and location of hazards
Flammable materials within the facility and immediate surrounding area
Low hanging power lines
Transformers
Photographs:
Aerial photograph showing building and surrounding area
Ground-level photographs of exterior sides of building
Tank Specifications:
Content Information
Type and dimensions
Capacity
Valve details
Foam requirements

 

Whittaker revealed that the processing plant fire warranted a defensive response approach from beginning to end. With a combination of the information contained in a fire pre plan and the scope of the incident observed on scene, incident commanders are able evaluate the risk versus reward factors in determining firefighting tactics. If a scenario dictates extreme risks with very little reward, aggressive mitigation and response actions may be terminated in favor of a defensive firefighting mode. After civilian rescue efforts are terminated, the defensive mode is typically chosen to isolate or stabilize an incident, preventing further escalation.

Situations that may dictate an industrial defensive firefighting tactic may include, but not limited to:

  • Unsafe structure with no exposure to personnel or residential areas
  • Facility Unsafe conditions for firefighter entry
  • Fire beyond control of firefighting equipment or initial response unit
  • Impact limited to immediate vicinity

Industrial fire pre-planning will provide many of the details required to assist in a firefighting scenario, as well as provide the tools to determine the potential for a building collapse. Building classification, construction, incident duration, occupancy, fire location, and size of the incident are factors to consider in determining response tactics. However, the incident commander must continually re-evaluate the scenario and adjust the response as necessary. If a structural collapse is evident, responders and witnesses may observe the following;

  • Bulges in walls
  • Interior or exterior wall cracks
  • Audible sounds of structural movement
  • Water flowing through exterior walls
  • Water run-off is less than amount being pumped into building
  • Truss construction with direct fire involvement for longer than 5-10 minutes

Fire pre-plans provide key information necessary to improve the potential for a successful response, which may ultimately save lives and reduce property damage. The more specific information responders can obtain prior to an incident, the better equipped they are to respond with the most effective firefighting tactics within their capabilities.

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: Fire Department Training, Fire Pre Plans, Incident Action Plan, Fire Preparedness