As we watch news events unfold, whether they be criminal incidents or natural disasters, we often focus on that moment in time when the event is occurring. Do we ever sit back and think about what led up to that event occurring at that location? Or wonder what will happen there the following day once the dust settles? We rarely do, unless of course, it's our office, or home, or neighborhood that's affected by the tragedy. It's not until we become the news, that the reality of "this could happen to me" sets in.
But more and more businesses across America are starting to take a proactive approach to preparing for crisis situations. We've always known we should be prepared for such things as fires and natural disasters, but very often the information of what to do in an emergency situation has been contained only in the minds of a few select people within an organization. Aside from the federally mandated emergency drills (based on the size of your building and occupancy), not much was ever done to practice any type of emergency planning.
Times are changing. Fifteen years ago the term "active shooter" hadn't even been thought of. Much less the terms "lone wolf" or "suicide bomber." As inevitable as it is that the times change, so must we. Enter the Emergency Action Plan or EAP.
All part of what's known as Emergency Preparedness Planning, this EAP is a structured cyclic system which includes five phases:
These five action phases can be integrated into any company of any size. The key to their success is to continuously update each one, so your entire emergency plan remains current.
Out of all those phases, experts agree that "training" is by far the most critical. The written plan can be great, but if your staff is unaware of how to implement and carry out those instructions, then the plan is destined for failure.
As we all know, you never want to perform an emergency procedure for the first time during the actual emergency. Many of you have heard me say during our For Your Safety segment, that being proactive and having a plan of action is absolutely vital when confronted with a critical situation.
For more information on how to develop an emergency action plan, visit OSHA.gov. In addition, there are local agencies that specialize in Emergency Preparedness Planning.
Remain prepared and don't let the bad guys win!