Emergency Response Planning: 5 tips for success

How we help our clients to STOP ticking boxes

How we help our clients to STOP ticking boxes

In case you’re interested… For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It’s a one stop shop for fast info to start accelerating...

read more
Stop Confusing Acceptance Criteria with Tolerance Limits

Stop Confusing Acceptance Criteria with Tolerance Limits

In case you're interested... For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It's a one stop shop for fast info to start...

read more
How we help our clients achieve Project Success

How we help our clients achieve Project Success

In case you’re interested… For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It’s a one stop shop for fast info to start accelerating...

read more
Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

If you're an emerging Contractor looking to land your first tender award, this is the article you can't afford to miss! I've worked with Contractor's of all shapes and sizes, from the multi-billion international giants to the small sole traders. To even qualify for...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more
How we help our clients to STOP ticking boxes

How we help our clients to STOP ticking boxes

In case you’re interested… For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It’s a one stop shop for fast info to start accelerating...

read more
Stop Confusing Acceptance Criteria with Tolerance Limits

Stop Confusing Acceptance Criteria with Tolerance Limits

In case you're interested... For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It's a one stop shop for fast info to start...

read more
How we help our clients achieve Project Success

How we help our clients achieve Project Success

In case you’re interested… For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It’s a one stop shop for fast info to start accelerating...

read more
Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

If you're an emerging Contractor looking to land your first tender award, this is the article you can't afford to miss! I've worked with Contractor's of all shapes and sizes, from the multi-billion international giants to the small sole traders. To even qualify for...

read more
What is an effective Assurance Programme?

What is an effective Assurance Programme?

The term "Assurance Programme" gets thrown about quite a bit. Sadly, this is the aspect of the management system that I consistently see ISO 9001 certified organisations struggling with. In this article we'll explore why we need an effective assurance programme and...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more
How we help our clients to STOP ticking boxes

How we help our clients to STOP ticking boxes

In case you’re interested… For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It’s a one stop shop for fast info to start accelerating...

read more
Stop Confusing Acceptance Criteria with Tolerance Limits

Stop Confusing Acceptance Criteria with Tolerance Limits

In case you're interested... For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It's a one stop shop for fast info to start...

read more
How we help our clients achieve Project Success

How we help our clients achieve Project Success

In case you’re interested… For more strategies on reducing project nonconformity and rework, saving money and time, improving your client relationship and winning more work, check out our free resource library. It’s a one stop shop for fast info to start accelerating...

read more
Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

Construction Project Tenders – Getting Started

If you're an emerging Contractor looking to land your first tender award, this is the article you can't afford to miss! I've worked with Contractor's of all shapes and sizes, from the multi-billion international giants to the small sole traders. To even qualify for...

read more
Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

I want to start a very candid conversation about objective evidence, what is it really, why do we have it, and why is it so important? This topic is for both members of an organisation and also for auditors. 1: What is Objective Evidence? There's a plethora of...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more
Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

Did the dog REALLY eat your homework…?

I want to start a very candid conversation about objective evidence, what is it really, why do we have it, and why is it so important? This topic is for both members of an organisation and also for auditors. 1: What is Objective Evidence? There's a plethora of...

read more
What is risk based thinking?

What is risk based thinking?

Back in 2015 there was a game-changing shift for ISO 9001 (Quality Management Systems - Requirements). Everyone was used to the normal Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. Everyone knew they had boxes to tick and processes to follow. And yet...there was still something...

read more
How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

How to have a better auditor/auditee relationship

The auditor and auditee relationship is delicate. On one hand, you have a professional who puts their heart and soul into their work that is suddenly up for “examination”. On the other hand, you have a professional who is measuring evidence against requirements. It is...

read more

Our sunburnt country is currently facing devastating impacts from heavy rain and flooding. Here at IMAS we hope everyone is safe and supported during this heartbreaking time.

I myself, along with my neighbours have been trapped on our property for four days now, cut off from our nearest townships. I’ve seen friends lose everything, their homes, livestock and businesses.

It got me thinking about the importance of effective emergency response planning. This is a requirement that appears in multiple ISO standards and it’s so important to get it right. Throughout my career I’ve both written and sadly implemented emergency response plans. I’ve experienced all kinds of emergencies during my career in construction, from floods, fires and chemical spills, to broken bones, heart attacks and tragically, decapitation. These are experiences that stay with you in your heart and memories forever.

When it comes to emergency response planning, the old adage applies of “it’s better to have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it”. Here are my 5 tips for emergency response planning effectiveness.

Be specific

Every emergency situation will at some point require actions and resources that are specific to that scenario. For example, you wouldn’t call the fire brigade for a heart-attack, you’d call an ambulance. Start by identifying every likely emergency situation you could face. Rank those situations from most likely to least likely. I use the following likelihood categories:

  • Certain to occur (Either already happens regularly, or there is some reason to believe it is virtually imminent)
  • Very likely (It would be a surprise if the situation did not occur either based on past frequency or current circumstances)
  • Possible (The situation is more likely to happen than not)
  • Unlikely (There is a possibility that it could happen, but it probably won’t)
  • Rare (Has never happened before and there is no reason to think it is any more likely now)

Make sure you record all your identified potential emergency scenarios on your organisational risk register.

I won’t go into too much detail regarding rating the consequence of the emergency situation. Any emergency situation is going to be Major at least, or Catastrophic for the organisation and any interested parties involved.

Keep it simple

In any emergency situation, emotions run high and it becomes harder to think clearly and harder to listen effectively. The fight, flight or freeze response is very real and there is no way to predict how an individual will respond when it’s crunch time. Some people may stay cool, calm and collected during the incident, and then completely fall apart from shock hours or days after. Whereas other people might be rendered completely mentally incapacitated during the emergency. You just don’t know who, how and when the effects of an emergency will present itself.

During a time like this, overly complicated work flows and lots of different things to remember won’t help you. Keep everything simple and easy to remember.

You may find that you have multiple potential emergency situations, however 80% of the steps required to respond are the same. If that is the case, it’s a good idea to train everyone on the bulk of the “core” process, and have cheat sheets handy to walk people through the specific differences. They can even be little pocket book cards, such as “FIRE” or “MEDICAL EMERGENCY” that steps out who to contact and what they should do until help arrives.

Practice makes perfect

As we touched on earlier, people react to emergencies in all kinds of unpredictable ways. You do NOT want your first trial of your emergency response planning to be an actual emergency, when lives are counting on you. I can’t stress enough how important it is to test your emergency response planning before you need it.

Regular testing of your emergency response planning is also a great opportunity to familiarise your crew on the steps needed to overcome the situation successfully. The more this becomes an automatic muscle memory, the more effective it’s going to become when it’s needed most, bypassing that fight, flight or freeze response. Nobody needs to think…they just need to do.

Remember earlier, when we ranked our scenarios from “certain to occur” down to “rare”? This gives you an order of priority and how frequently you should test your emergency response plan for a given scenario. If something is ranked as “certain to occur” you might want to run monthly tests. However, if something is “rare” then once a year should be sufficient.

To review the effectiveness of the emergency response plan for a given situation, you will need observers who are not participating in the test. They will be watching and listening, timing responses and reactions, taking notes and ensuring the plan steps were taken.

Improve and update

So now you’ve tested your plan, your observers took some notes. Brilliant. Don’t sit on them! Use your management system to implement continual improvement. Do not delay on this, it might just save a life. Here are some examples that I’ve seen first hand over the years that came out of good testing practices:

  • There wasn’t enough mobile service to call for help – emergency radios were on standby that were dedicated as an emergency response frequency
  • Emergency equipment took too long to access – we ensured more resources were available where they were most likely to be needed
  • People didn’t know where to go – we improved signage and awareness on muster points
  • We couldn’t evacuate the site quick enough – we installed dedicated emergency access points to permit more vehicles to vacate at the same time
  • It took too long to find a first aid responder – we trained more people
  • We couldn’t clearly hear what was being said over radio – we trained people in slowing their breathing, reducing their heart rate and speaking slowly and clearly into the radio

It’s also good to point out that business conditions change. People come and go, or if you’re in construction, the site changes from week to week. Make sure your planning remains relevant and current.

Communication

There’s no point having a brilliant plan if it sits lonely and forgotten on a shelf or in the guts of your electronic document filing. Make sure everyone knows about it, knows how to access it and keeps up to date with improvements and changes.

Also, think about who else needs to know about the plan? Depending on your business context, you may need to consider communicating your emergency response planning with emergency services in your area. For example, if you have a difficult to access site, speak to your local paramedics, police, fire and SES departments. Give them the plan. Talk them through it. They might even have suggestions to help them get you help sooner, such as having an escort waiting at an access point to guide them in. Anything you can proactively do to reduce the time it takes to get help can save a life.

The bottom line:

This week I’ve seen some amazing emergency response planning in action from my friends and neighbours. Moving hundreds of livestock in obscene weather conditions on horseback to higher ground is no easy feat. However, I’ve seen those same neighbours save their livelihoods, homes and their lives by knowing exactly what to do and when to do it.

My hearts and thoughts are with those who have lost so much this week. If you have been affected by the flood events this week, please reach out to your locals SES unit or police for support and assistance.

We believe in the importance of good emergency planning so much that we are offering 50% off the price of our services to establish or improve emergency response planning until 30 September 2021. Contact us for more information and reference “ERP2021″ to claim your discount.

Stay safe Australia.

Karice Grundon PCQI, 24 March 2021

Karice Grundon PCQI is an experienced Certified Lead Auditor and Management System designer across several ISO standards, a mentor for emerging auditors in the profession and the Director and Principal Consultant of Integrated Management & Assurance Solutions Pty Ltd. If you would like to learn more about Karice or get in contact, you can do so through LinkedIn or directly through our company website . Don’t forget to subscribe to follow Karice for future content.

Comments

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Envelope

We are just one Email away from working together!

+61 467 831 326