Monday, March 9, 2015


Get it right


Plan for All-Hazards Events


MY TRUSTED SOURCE for links to Enterprise Risk Management/Business Continuity/COOP* - Advisen FPN - provided a link today (Monday, March 09, 2015) to an EHS Today article heded Emergency Response Plans: Take an All-Hazard Approach

The opening paragraphs set the tone:

    No matter how thick the binder containing a facility's emergency response plan is or how many times it has been reviewed and amended by consultants and professionals, it only is as strong as the abilities of the people performing each of the roles.

    An organization's ability to communicate the elements of its response plan, as well as its dedication to training, drilling and exercising the plan regularly are the keys for a successful outcome when there is an emergency.

The article then proceeds to define the elements should be part of every emergency response plan.

NOT TO BE OUTDONE, our friends at the (U.S.) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offer - gratis, free, too! - its Guide for All-Hazard Emergency Operations Planning.

Both documents and similar documents that can be discovered with a Dogpile or Google search of the internet are worthwhile.

The FEMA document states as its purpose

    One goal of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is to develop, in partnership with State and local governments, a national emergency management system that is comprehensive, risk-based, and all-hazard in approach.

    Crucial to this system are emergency operations plans (EOP), which describe who will do what, as well as when, with what resources, and by what authority--before, during, and immediately after an emergency.

    This State and Local Guide (SLG) provides emergency managers and other emergency services personnel with information on FEMA's concept for developing risk-based, all-hazard emergency operations plans.

The EHS document recommends that practitioners Look for new risks while not abandoning previous research.

    Twenty years ago, emergency response plans tended to focus on fires and spill response. These plans met the letter of the law, and most still would be adequate to satisfy certain regulations. But being prepared for emergencies is much more involved than having clear exit routes and the tools and supplies onsite to clean up a spill. The risk of business interruptions stemming from natural disasters, acts of terrorism and workplace violence also need to be considered. Taking an all-hazard approach increases efficiency and helps simplify training.

Of the two documents, the shorter EHS one probably will prove more useful for the less experienced practitioner, but it - due to its length - is a tip of the iceberg presentation.

The positive bottom line to both documents, however, is their focus on an all-hazards approach.

Too often practitioners, particularly those coming to ERM from an IT/Disaster Recovery background, tend to focus on one, perhaps two, processes and the immediate risks specific to those processes, ignoring in some cases an organization's raison d'etre.

Neither document qualifies as ERM 101, but they both are instructive.

Taking the time to read the EHS short effort and downloading for later review of the FEMA document would be a good use of any practitioner's time = even a "pro" can use a refresher from time to time.


* Continuation Of OPerations and has nothing to do with co-ops or brands.

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