Emergency Preparedness: The Five Steps of Emergency Management

Unexpected events, the unheard of, and the “could never happen here” all need to be taken into account when creating emergency preparedness plans. Emergency management is composed of five steps: prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. As a general rule, it is recommended to have one “evacuation guard” for every twenty employees or visitors. This person is responsible for checking offices, locking fire doors, and verifying the visitor log to make sure that all unfamiliar with the building's evacuation routes and exits are safe. Respirators are a type of personal protective equipment that must be chosen according to the existing hazards.

There are four categories of respirators that can be used in different situations. For more information on this topic, please refer to the applicable standard 29 CFR 1910.134 as well as the OSHA compliance guide. The first step in developing an emergency response plan is to carry out a risk assessment to identify potential emergency scenarios. If you decide to do nothing more than call for help and evacuate, you should create an emergency plan that includes immediate notification of emergency services, protective measures for the safety of life, and accounting for all employees. Emergency preparedness is essential to guarantee that disaster response is not hindered by disorganization or lack of communication.

CNECT is a group purchasing organization (GPO) that can help you gather the resources and materials needed to develop, train and execute your emergency preparedness plan. The last element of any emergency preparedness plan is to thoroughly test your detailed training scenarios. Regulations will also shape an emergency operations plan, as some companies may need to notify government officials if an emergency occurs at the site. Response actions may include activating the emergency operations center, evacuating threatened populations, opening shelters and providing mass care, emergency rescue and medical care, firefighting, and urban search and rescue. The Joint Commission Emergency Management Standard is the standard that hospitals follow when it comes to emergency planning. Conducting an internal preparedness program that reviews these scenarios and outlines the steps to take in an emergency can be a vital part of the communication process.

Make sure you have all the necessary emergency equipment on hand and well stocked, and clearly mark the storage locations of that equipment in your emergency evacuation plan. Public emergency services include fire departments that can also provide rescue services, hazardous materials and emergency medical services. It refers to measures that prevent an emergency, reduce the chance of an emergency occurring, or reduce the harmful effects of inevitable emergencies. An Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) is a map of the best course of action during an emergency. Government agencies offer a wealth of resources on the subject of emergency preparedness planning, including CDC, FDA and FEMA.

If you have an emergency preparedness plan or are creating one, you are taking the right steps.

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