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Six Steps to Effective Emergency Management

February 24, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 189

1. Corroborate - As the proverb goes, 'Failing to plan is planning to fail.' Generally, if your business is a tenant of a large facility, the property management group should conduct the overall emergency planning. However, this is not sufficient reason for each tenant or business to ignore their own emergency plan. Shopping Centres, for instance, will rely on each retailer conducting emergency procedures within their tenancy. If the emergency dictates that evacuation is the appropriate strategy, then as evacuees evacuate to the common mall area, the Shopping Centre's emergency plan will follow-on from the tenant's initial procedures. Too many organisations ignore the responsibility of their intrinsic emergency planning and rely on whatever the base-building provides.

2. Formulate and Communicate - Ensuring that intrinsic plans and procedures are commensurate with base-building plans is essential. Once your plans have been developed then your staff needs to be aware that plans are in place, what they entail, and what is expected of them. Senior management must ensure that staff is aware that emergency exercises are not an opportunity to abscond from the workplace for an early lunch, or emergencies themselves do not result in free time. Until an emergency situation and outcome is determined by management, staff are still at work and bound by employment contracts and occupational health and safety regulations, whether they are within the building or not.

3. Participate and Evaluate - Training for key staff who have been appointed or volunteered to act as Wardens should be provided by base-building property management. In Australia this training must take place at intervals of no greater than 6 months. This is the minimum requirement of which, many facilities engage training providers far more often depending upon the size and complexity of the facility. However, individual tenants are not prevented from conducting your own training and/or engaging a training provider. Staff must feel that their attendance at training sessions is endorsed by management and will not result in any negative evaluation of their day-to-day performance in their normal role. Emergency procedures are only as good as the people enacting them. Therefore physically practicing the evacuation of a building or emergency lock-down, or other emergency scenarios is vital. No matter how well, or how poorly an exercise results, evaluation, improvement and education of the facility's occupants is the priority.

4. Validate and Administrate - Once your staff have been trained and have also participated in an emergency exercise, the final plan and procedures should be documented. Emergency procedures do not make for good bedtime reading. However, they should be available for new staff, or reference by anyone who requires knowledge regarding the procedures to enact in the event of an emergency. Similarly, a brief set of procedures should be developed and made available to all visitors and contractors to your tenancy. Many businesses document emergency procedures on the back of the visitor ID badges that may be issued from reception.

5. Delegate and Demonstrate - Senior management endorsement of emergency planning and the appointment of Wardens is essential. Wardens should know they have full support to take control in the event of an emergency and that they have been delegated authority to overrule normal management structure if necessary. Similarly, management no matter how senior should participate in the emergency exercise. Being seen participating in good spirit and not a begrudging fashion adds validation and authenticity to the entire process and system. Nothing undermines this whole process more than senior managers exempting themselves from the process. It sends the message that emergency planning is something they talk about but wont do.

6. Integrate - Make crisis planning, business continuity, emergency planning and disaster recovery a part of the planning process for complete business resilience. Too many companies leave business continuity to the accounts department, disaster recovery to the IT department and crisis planning to the PR department. Result? Plans developed in silos that conflict rather than complement one another.

Russell Boon is an experienced Emergency Manager consulting to business and industry ensuring legal and regulatory compliance, specializing in integration of emergency management with business continuity and crisis management. Russell is based in Melbourne, Australia. Read more from Russell

Source: EzineArticles
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Russell Boon







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