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How to Plan for Emergency Events

0111emergencytod.mp3



January 2011 - Emergency Preparedness

This is Chris Matt, Managing Editor - Print & E-Media with Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's tip is effectively planning for emergencies.

Whether preparing for capital improvements or preventive maintenance activities, effective planning is the cornerstone of success for maintenance and engineering managers. Planning for emergencies is no different. A written emergency plan is less important than the process of developing that plan. An emergency plan boils down to five areas:

• defining possible emergencies
• ensuring proper buy-in and budgeting
• identifying staff roles and duties
• procuring equipment and materials
• ensuring training and communication.

Based on history and location, most emergencies managers need to consider are fairly easy to predict. Hurricanes are normal occurrences on the East Coast, earthquakes are more prevalent on the West Coast, and it is not uncommon to see tornados in the Midwest.

While not every emergency is predictable, managers can cover their bases for unusual events by having a plan in place that addresses predictable events, such as fires, chemical spills, and power outages.

A successful emergency plan requires support from the organization's highest levels. But too often, good intentions related to emergency planning fail due to a lack of support from top executives. One strategy to get executives on board is to promote the effort as a business continuity program, or BCP, which speaks more to the loss of revenue from an emergency. It forces executives to realize the risk of not preparing properly.

Conducting a business impact analysis is a standard process for determining the financial impact of lost business. The website for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, provides a template and instructions for conducting a BIA.

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