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Emergency Planning: Materials and Training

February 17, 2011 - Emergency Preparedness

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor of Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is taking care of materials and training in planning for emergencies.

While developing a written emergency plan, managers can identify the hazards most likely to affect their facilities. Along with identifying those hazards, managers will need to develop an inventory of materials the department should store and supplies workers can buy or lease as needed. They also should provide a reserved purchase order for more materials from suppliers.

Managers can lease other essential items, such as temporary heating and cooling equipment and portable toilets, after the event. The trick is to identify suppliers that can deliver these items quickly after an emergency. They will be in great demand and short supply, so having a relationship with suppliers is crucial.

It is important for managers to identify primary, secondary and even tertiary suppliers that can support facilities after an emergency. Having supplemental agreements in place — and, in some cases, outside the immediate geographical area — is critical.

Since technicians often take a lead role in a recovery, managers must address the training issues an emergency event creates. Specific training in fire safety, evacuations, confined space, lockout/tagout, and respiratory protection is essential.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers free training materials on the hazards of emergencies. OSHA's Emergency Preparedness and Response page includes links to manuals, plans, and presentations.

Too often, a manager's good intentions simply collect dust, which is evidence that the importance of a written plan is overstated. The process, not the plan, ensures success when preparing for an emergency, so embrace the process.


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