As a matter of fact, it’s inevitable that every year that many businesses will be affected by some type of emergency. In short, potentially a lifetime of work could be compromised. Furthermore, there are no guarantees, but there is one thing all business owners can do. This being to produce and implement an emergency management plan.

prepardness-response-recoveryThe Emergency Management Plan is about mitigating the risks to your livelihood. Whatever happens, priorities need to be set to ultimately protect, life, property and the environment – in that order. Nevertheless, you probably have a number of systems and processes in place to streamline the functioning of your business. Efficiency increases productivity and increases the likelihood of success. On the other hand, emergency management planning is no different. Likewise, its about putting systems and processes in place to prepare for emergencies and reduce the risk.

Equally, important the plan can be seen as a process providing yourself and employees with a guide to deal with almost any situation. Lessening the impact to life property and the environment.

Access WHS hazard information for the emergency management plan

  1. Firstly, Identify sources of information is a great place to start. Similarly, there is an enormous amount of information available that can often be seen as a barrier. While much of this detail is relevant. It is often hard to decipher relevance and what is going to provide necessary details for your specific emergency management plan.
  2. For example, an emergency management plan for a farm or agricultural property is going to be very different compared to multi-story building in the middle of the Sydney or Perth CBD. Nonetheless, the principles and planning process follows a relatively similar process, designed to formulate an effective and ultimately workable plan.
  3. By the same token, once we have established the uniquely relevant information for a specific business. Which will often be gathered using analysis of not only the given business but similar business throughout Australia and sometimes the world.
  4. Finally, this is one of the most critical jobs of the emergency management planner. In contrast, failure to recognise the requirement at this stage. In fact, can put the emergency management plan on a pathway that is likely to lead to poor planning outcomes.

Obtaining information and data to determine the nature and scope of hazards

Moreover, once we understand what is important and what isn’t so critical. An understanding and process to determine the nature and scope of the hazard will guide us into the planning priorities.

The gathered data is then used to analyse the likelihood and consequences of specific emergencies. By the same token, the analysis needs to be structured for the real world providing for workable outcomes. The emergency management plan now starts to take shape and at this stage, this local input will lead to the next planning priority.

Prepare to manage WHS risks

In light of the above, whether a health and safety management system is in place or not. As a result, incorporating what we have learnt so far and forming part of the management system is essential. There are numerous methods of maintaining this, which is really determined by how large or small the business is an associated risk.

In addition, whichever management system used there is a requirement to interpret the appropriate legislative requirements. Consequently, most understand the basic health and safety responsibilities of employers and workers. Further, compliance with other critical factors may be legislated at a state or national level.

Too interpreting and formulating a compliance plan can contribute to a successful recovery after an emergency. In short, reducing the amount of personal stress.

planning for emergenciesImplement an emergency management plan & processes

  1. Firstly, when this phase has reached. The factors controlling implementation can probably somewhat be established by thy the emergency management planner. However, without significant involvement of the business leadership, the implementation phase of the emergency management plan may potentially become a document and nothing else. With little impact on the business preparedness, response and recovery.
  2. A good emergency plan will identify the key personnel and their involvement, responsibility and additionally their accountability. The emergency planner probably needs good interpersonal communication skills here to bring the human factors together. Apply techniques, tools and processes to identify hazards, assess risks and identify control measures.
  3. It’s at this stage the process can often become a positive knowledge and training session. The level of knowledge that key personnel have in relation to risk planning should be analysed by the emergency management planner. A strategy to either increase appropriate knowledge or to use such experience will help with making preparedness activities integrate with the response and recovery phases if required.
  4. Furthermore, using “what if scenarios” allow for a formal type of brainstorming. Ensuring that objectives and strategies to help combat emergencies will have every chance of being successful. Good business may never have large emergencies.  But even so, having an experienced person available to lead conversations is critical to the workability of the emergency management plan. In reality, it is very hard to determine real-life workable solutions if one hasn’t experienced emergency response and recovery.

Is the emergency management plan going to work?

Finally, testing a plan will give confidence to the leaders whose responsibility it is to help implement the emergency management plan. Such activities allow for a critical review. Similarly, where the participant is provided with the opportunity to be part of an after-action review (AAR). Identifying areas for improvement and aspects that worked really well, can establish a process and pathway to make the emergency management plan workable.

Public and private sectors

Leaving the process of emergency management plans for specific businesses. It may help to analyse some of the planning processes used by the emergency services. Moreover, concentrating on fire services.
They often respond to emergencies which impact significant parts of the community i.e. the Black Saturday bushfire in Victoria. Many lives can be lost and when this occurs there is normally a response from the government. Generally, in relation to an investigation, which is totally appropriate.

Incidentally, it may be very difficult to plan for such significant events. As a matter of fact, the public provides significant resources to help such planning happen. With this in mind, emergency service leaders have a large responsibility. When something goes wrong lives and property may be impacted.  As a consequence, the public may want to know why the emergency management plan potentially failed.

In reality, it’s not the intention of this article to criticise any organisation or individual. Even so, when an emergency plan fails it’s often as a result of poor preparedness and integrating workable outcomes. “By on the ground”, I mean those responding to the emergencies.

Hence, to have a plan is great, but as mentioned previously, without buy-in from those expected to implement the emergency management plan. Indeed, the failure of the plan can be the only result.
Failure can be a great learning tool if the impact of emergencies is low. Actually, it offers a way of reviewing a plan and making changes that will help lessen the impact of future emergencies.

However, the takeaway from this is the emphasis on testing and involving every person who will be part of the emergency management plan. A process and system in place to facilitate this can only have positive benefits and lessen the impact on life, property and the environment.

By Ken Walker

Hi, I'm Ken. I am the owner and senior director of Syncretic training Group Pty Ltd. If you have any questions about the website content or require guidance please let us know we are always happy to help.

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