Many factors influence what procedures are required in an emergency, including:
Nature of emergency.
Degree of emergency.
Size of organization.
Capabilities of the organization in an emergency situation.
Immediacy of outside aid.
Physical layout of the premises.
Pre-emergency planning and provisions for alerting and evacuating staff, dealing with casualties, and containing hazards are all common elements to consider in all emergencies.
Natural disasters, such as floods or severe storms, frequently provide advance warning. The plan should take advantage of such warnings by providing instructions on sand bagging, moving equipment to appropriate locations, providing alternate sources of power, light, or water, extra equipment, and relocating personnel with special skills. Such measures can be implemented in an orderly fashion thanks to phased alert states.
The evacuation order is crucial in alerting personnel. Only one type of signal should be used for the evacuation order to avoid confusion. In noisy environments, sirens, fire bells, whistles, flashing lights, paging system announcements, or word-of-mouth are commonly used for this purpose. Because time is not an issue, the all-clear signal is less important.
Identify evacuation routes and alternate means of escape, and make these available to all staff; keep the routes clear.
Set aside safe areas for staff to gather for head counts to ensure that everyone has exited the danger zone. Assign people to help employees with disabilities.
Concurrently treat the injured and search for the missing while attempting to contain the emergency.
When normal medical facilities are in jeopardy, provide alternate sources of medical aid. First, ensure the safety of all employees (and/or the general public), and then deal with the fire or other emergency situation.
Completing a comprehensive emergency response plan is a significant step toward disaster prevention. However, unless the plan is tested, it is difficult to predict all of the problems that may arise.
Exercises and drills may be carried out to put all or critical parts of the plan (such as evacuation) through their paces. A thorough and immediate review following each exercise, drill, or actual emergency will identify areas for improvement. Individual responsibilities can be assessed using paper tests or interviews.
The plan should be revised when flaws are discovered, and it should be reviewed at least once a year. Changes in the plant’s infrastructure, processes, materials, and key personnel are all reasons to update the plan.
It should be emphasized that training for both individuals and teams is required if they are to perform adequately in an emergency. A full-scale exercise once a year will aid in maintaining a high level of proficiency.