Your Solution for SMART Response Plans

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

Severe Weather Preparedness and Impact Recovery Planning

Posted on Thu, Dec 19, 2013

Naturally occurring threats, such as wildfires, tornadoes, and hurricanes are not typically a threat during the winter months. As a result, planning for these events may not be on the list of top priorities. However, as demonstrated by the November 16, 2013 tornado and severe weather outbreak across the United State’s upper Midwest, preparedness and response protocols should be an ongoing effort. “Off-season” planning for both large and small companies can ensure mitigation measures and training efforts are implemented prior to the high-risk months.

Severe weather situations can result in the loss or temporary disruption of one or more of the following necessary key business resources:

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

Weather-specific planning should be implemented for historically high-risk areas. However, the following general severe weather measures should be included in an overall preparedness program

PREPAREDNESS

  • Establish, verify, and exercise communication plans:
    • Verify contact details and identify communication procedures  with employees, emergency personnel, critical business unit leaders, and contractors in the event of an emergency
    • Establish response plans in a portable format that can accessed through a variety of methods
    • Verify availability and viability of communication equipment
    • Monitor and determine applicable response procedures based on radio, television, and/or weather reports
  • Establish, verify, and exercise resource management and supply chain measures:
    • Coordinate activities with local and state response agencies
    • Evaluate equipment needs
    • Pre-select alternate resources to ensure necessary response equipment is available when needed
    • Pre-select alternate delivery of critical needs in the event primary suppliers are not able to provide required services such as:
      • Electrical power
      • Water
      • Fuel
      • Telecommunications
      • Transportation
      • Staffing
      • Waste Management
      • Operations-specific equipment
  • Establish, verify, and exercise personnel roles and responsibilities
    • Conduct site specific awareness training, including facility evacuation routes and shelter in place procedures
    • Identify employees that should remain on-site (if deemed safe), and their responsibilities.
    • Identify necessary minimum staffing levels and assignments necessary for recovery operations. As the storm passes, ensure staff, contractors, and suppliers understand their individual responsibilities and recovery time objectives.
    • Train employees to recognize, report, and avoid hazardous chemicals discovered during debris clean up.
    • Ensure that key safety and maintenance personnel are thoroughly familiar with all building systems, such as alarms, utility shutoffs, elevators, etc.

BASIC RESPONSE MEASURES

  • Report hazards such as downed power lines, frayed electric wires, or gas leaks to the appropriate authorities.
  • Inspect the worksite before allowing employees to enter.
    • Evaluate building structures, roadways, surfaces, trenches and excavations for damage, stability and safety
    • Assume all wires and power lines are energized.
    • Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy shoes when examining walls, doors, staircases and windows for damage
  • Ensure employee safety
    • Before tackling strenuous tasks in extreme temperatures, consider employees’ physical condition, weather factors, and the nature of the task.
    • Ensure employees practice good lifting techniques to avoid overexertion and back injuries.
    • If applicable, provide all employees with personal protective equipment (PPEs), including hard hats, safety glasses, work boots, and gloves.
    • Beware of overhead and underground lines, especially when moving ladders or equipment near them.
    • Inform employees in areas where debris is being collected and deposited of any special hazards they may encounter during recovery efforts.
    • Be aware of possible biological hazards (i.e., dead animals).
    • Use flaggers, traffic cones and highway channeling devices to steer traffic away from employees working along the roadways.
    • Stay hydrated.
  • Utilize a site plan for collection of debris
    • Provide traffic flow details and train employees to stay clear of all motorized equipment.
  • Communicate effectively
    • Provide radio equipment and extra batteries to all spotters and equipment operators, so warnings can be communicated
    • Utilize point of contact for employees check in procedures
  • Freeze all computer system updates so that systems will not be damaged by electrical surges
For a free Response Procedures Flow Chart that can be applied to your facility, click the image below:
New Call-to-Action

 

 

Tags: Climate Change, Resiliency, Emergency Preparedness, Extreme Weather, Tornado Preparedness

Emergency Response Planning for Severe Weather

Posted on Thu, Jul 11, 2013

The topic of severe weather and its devastating impacts continues to dominate the news headlines. Prior to forecasts and potential destructive weather patterns, companies should evaluate scenario-specific response plans in order to be prepared for naturally occurring threats. Severe weather, including derechos (powerful and extended straight line wind storms), flash-flooding, hail, tornadoes, and tropical storms can be destructive for typical business operations. Scenario-specific response plans, in conjunction with a business continuity plan, can ensure the safety of employees and company viability in the aftermath of severe storms.

When assessing risk and activation of a plan, the facility supervisor must be informed of the type of severe weather, forecasted possibilities, and potential timing of impact. If ample time is allotted, implementation of a plan may begin with activation phases. This allows for basic facility preparations to occur prior to being susceptible to weather hazard(s). Facilities should not institute exterior preparations once severe weather is imminent. If thunder is heard or lightning is seen, outdoor activities should be terminated and employees moved to safety immediately. According to The National Weather Service the following terminology is used to describe the potential forecast and/or timeline:

  • Special Weather Statement:  Designed to provide critical short-term hazardous weather information. The time frame of this information is six hours or less.
  • Watch: Significant weather is possible within 48 hours, but not imminent.
  • Advisory: Significant weather event is likely to occur in a specified area, or imminent. An advisory may be the time frame between a watch and a warning.
  • Warnings: Significant weather is occurring, imminent, or likely, and is a potential threat to life and property.

Both large and small businesses can benefit from instituting mitigation measures and training efforts prior to the high-risk months. Possible planning and mitigation efforts include, but are not limited to:

  • Pertinent site-specific policies and procedures should be reviewed for applicability and effectiveness.
  • Obtain materials to secure windows and brace doors, if necessary. (If lumber is necessary, pre-cut wood to size, mark each panel/piece to identify location).
  • Prune tree limbs from hanging over rooftops and clear gutters/downpipes
  • Verify employee contact information, alternate contact information, and list potential evacuation locations.
  • Develop methods for employees to receive pertinent corporate information if evacuation is conducted.
  • Establish recovery contracts with suppliers.
  • Routinely verify contact information and equipment availability with response resources.
  • Assign and train employees on severe storm related preparedness, response, and recovery tasks.

A simple checklist can be incorporated into severe weather plans that minimize the impacts of these events.

  • Monitor news and weather reports on smart phone, television, or battery operated radio
  • Alert employees or others on-site that severe weather is approaching and communicate expectations (i.e. shelter in place, evacuate, facility closure)
  • Review shutdown procedures and evacuation routes
  • Identify structural integrity of building(s) to withstand forecasted winds
  • Be aware of the dangers posed by airborne debris, equipment, and facility structures. Mitigate and secure, if possible
  • Be aware of potential for product release posed by containment failures (I.e. tanks, piping, pipelines, process equipment)
  • Contract tree removal services or obtain the necessary equipment to remove potential debris
  • Ensure that vehicles have a full tank of gas and are functioning properly
  • Obtain emergency equipment, such as generators, battery-operated radios, flashlights, lighting and additional batteries. Be prepared to acquire additional fuel if necessary, and time permits.
  • Monitor tanks, buildings, or other equipment for potential damage or failure
  • Obtain generators, if necessary to re-power facilities
  • Establish and maintain communication with personnel in remote areas
  • Communicate potential severe weather to facility personnel
  • Identify secure shelter location(s) within the facility (i.e. underground shelters, interior room without windows)
  • Conduct drills to ensure employees can locate and mobilize to designated shelter location(s)
  • Consider limiting vehicle traffic
  • Notify supervisors if facility(s) looses power, experiences storm related damage, any injuries, or if operations must be terminated
  • Develop an emergency communication plan to relay specific expectations and responsibilities during the aftermath
  • Identify product release dangers and shutdown procedures
  • Identify data backup procedures
  • Identify essential business records, backup procedures, and recover plans
  • If evacuating the facility, locate and pack critical documentation (e.g. insurance, financial, legal and identification documents) in a portable waterproof container
  • Identify and procure potential alternate location options and necessities for conducting critical business processes off-site.

 Establishing strategies to help cope with natural disasters, such as severe storms, can limit harm, financial losses, maintain business continuity, and enable a timely recovery.

TRP Corp Hurricane Checklist

Tags: Business Risk, Training and Exercises, Business Continuity Plan, Flood Preparedness, Disaster Recovery, Disaster Response, Tornado Preparedness

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

Posted on Mon, Jan 21, 2013

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

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

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

Hurricanes

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

Wildfire

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

Tornados

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

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

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

Hurricane Planning

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

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