Emergency Preparedness and Response

All emergencies are either internal or external in origin. The internal ones can be better
planned for, as there are known sources and points of origin where the emergency is likely
to occur. These include, but are not limited to, violence in the workplace, leaks or spills of
hazardous materials, fires, explosions, loss of use of water, or loss of power. External
emergencies include, but are not limited to, large-scale power outages, hurricanes,
tornados, external hazardous material exposures, biological threats, and plane or multiple
vehicle crashes.
Even facility should have a set of survival tactics that cover what to do about evacuating or
sheltering in place and food, water, and medical supplies in the event there is an
emergency. It is essential that everyone knows the chain of command in every situation.
Developing an emergency action plan (EAP) is a natural next step following the
completion of a thorough workplace evaluation depicting all noted hazards.
The plan is based upon describing how employees will respond to various types of
emergencies. The following areas should be considered when developing the description
of how employees should respond in these various situations:
• Work site layout
• Structural features
• Emergency systems
Some of the essentials to consider when deciding if an emergency evacuation is necessary
• Conditions-fires, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, toxic chemical release,
biological and/or radiological accidents, violence in the workplace, or civil
• Shelter in Place-In situations when a biological or radiological accident or a toxic
chemical release occurs outside, a decision to shelter in place may be made.
• Chain of Command- A designated person (s) should be chosen to order a shutdown or
evacuation or initiate any emergency preparedness procedures.
• Routes, Exits- Routes and procedures to use in evacuations should be clearly outlined.
• Assisting Occupants with Evacuation- Some may need special assistance, and that
should be available. This is especially important for those with disabilities or language
o Accounting for Employees
o Special Equipment
o Appropriate Respirators

What is a Chain of Command?
A chain of command works as a designated team of authority figures led by an incident
commander (IC). This individual is in charge of implementing the entire emergency plan.
The IC is responsible for the entire process including:
• Developing incident objectives
• Managing incident operations
• Setting priorities
• Defining the ICS organization for the particular response
The IC may choose deputies and assign them responsibilities for certain aspects of the
response plan. These deputies must have the same qualifications as the IC since they may
have to take over the position of IC at any time.
It is for this reason that every member of the emergency response team must be trained for
potential crisis. Furthermore, it is important that they can each physically carry out the
duties needed to properly expedite the tasks they may be responsible to perform. Some of
the areas to train them include:
• Use of various types of fire extinguishers
• Shutdown procedures
• Requirements of the OPSHA bloodborne pathogens standard
• First aid, including CPR and use of SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus)
• Chemical spill control procedures
• Search and emergency rescue procedures
• Hazardous materials emergency response