AbleToTrain by Willing & Able

Creating an emergency response strategy in ten steps

Examine the program’s performance objectives

Examine the hazard or threat scenarios that were identified during the risk assessment.

Evaluate the availability and capabilities of incident stabilization resources, such as people, systems, and equipment, available within your organization and from outside sources.

Consult with public emergency services (such as fire, police, and emergency medical services) to determine their response time to your facility, their knowledge of your facility and its hazards, and their ability to stabilize an emergency at your facility.

Determine whether your facility has any emergency planning regulations; address any applicable regulations in the plan.

Create protective measures to ensure the safety of people’s lives (evacuation, shelter, shelter-in-place, lockdown).

Using the Emergency Response Plan for Businesses, create hazard and threat-specific emergency procedures.

Coordinate emergency planning at your facility with public emergency services to keep dangerous situations from getting out of hand.

Personnel must be trained in order to fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

Facilitate exercises to put your plan into action.

Hazards to think about when making an emergency plan

Natural hazards

Geological hazards

  • Earthquake;

  • Tsunami;

  • Volcano;

  • Landslide, mudslide, subsidence.

Meteorological Hazards

  • Floods, flash floods, tidal surges;

  • Water control structure/dam/levee failure;

  • Drought;

  • Arctic freeze; snow, ice, hail, sleet;

  • Tropical cyclone, hurricane, tornado, and dust storm;

  • Temperature extremes (hot and cold);

  • Lightning strikes (wildland fire).

Biological hazards

  • Foodborne illnesses

  • Pandemic/infectious/communicable diseases (Avian flu, H1N1, etc.)

Human-caused events


  • Hazardous material spills or releases;

  • incident involving a nuclear power plant (if located near a nuclear power plant);

  • Explosion/Fire;

  • Transportation accident;

  • Building/structure collapse;

  • Entrapment and or rescue (machinery, confined space, high altitude, water);

  • Incidents involving transportation (motor vehicles, railroads, watercraft, aircraft, and pipelines)


  • Robbery;

  • Lost person, child abduction, kidnap, extortion, hostage incident, workplace violence;

  • Demonstrations, civil disturbances;

  • A bomb threat, a suspicious package;

  • Terrorism.

Events were triggered by technology

Utility problems or interruptions (telecommunications, electricity, water, gas, steam, HVAC, pollution control system, sewerage system, and other critical infrastructure).

Cyber security (loss of electronic data interchange or ecommerce, loss of domain name server, spyware/malware, vulnerability exploitation/botnets/hacking, and denial of service)

Property safeguards

Taking action ahead of a predicted event, such as a severe storm, can help to avoid damage. Following a storm, prompt damage assessment and cleanup activities can help to reduce further damage and business disruption. These actions are referred to as “property conservation,” and they are an important part of the emergency response plan.

The majority of the following advice is aimed at building owners and facility managers. On the other hand, tenants should work with building owners and managers as well as public officials to come up with a plan.

Getting a facility ready for a forecast event

Body copy: The actions taken to prepare a facility for a forecasted event are determined by the potential consequences of the event’s hazards. Perform a risk assessment to identify severe weather hazards such as winter storms, arctic freezes, tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, storm surge, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and high winds. Consider non-traditional hazards as well, such as a planned event with a large crowd.

Property conservation efforts should prioritize the protection of the building and its valuable machinery, equipment, and materials. By checking the following parts, systems, and equipment of a building, possible damage can be prevented or lessened:

  • Doors and windows

  • Roof flashing, covering, and drainage are all important considerations.

  • Signs on the outside

  • Rooftop mechanical equipment, antennas, and satellite dishes

  • Outside storage, tanks, and machinery

  • Intakes of air

  • Machines of high value

  • Information technology and process controllers are examples of sensitive electronic equipment.

  • The examination of building components may also reveal opportunities for longer-term mitigation strategies.

Actions to prevent further damage and salvage after an incident include:

Salvage is an example of separating undamaged goods from water-soaked goods. Covering roof holes, cleaning up water, and ventilating a building are all examples of property conservation.

The property conservation plan should list the resources needed to save undamaged goods and materials, make temporary building repairs, clean up water, smoke, and humidity, and get critical equipment ready to run again.

Property conservation resources include the following:

  • Water vacuums and water removal tools.

  • Fans are used to remove smoke and humidity.

  • Tarpaulins or plywood to cover broken windows or damaged roofs.

  • To protect sensitive equipment, use plastic sheeting.

  • Compile a list of available equipment, tools, and supplies and include it in your emergency response plan. Find out what precautions to take with equipment that has been in water or high humidity and how to start up machinery and equipment.

  • Determine which contractors may be called upon to assist with clean-up and property conservation efforts. Keep in mind that competition for contractors, labor, materials, and supplies may be fierce prior to a predicted storm or after a regional disaster. Plan ahead of time and secure contractors and other resources.