All organisations must have appropriate emergency response plans in place for coping during any unforeseen crisis or disaster that threatens to interrupt their normal operation. This includes emergencies caused by power cuts and fires, by adverse weather events, such as heatwaves, floods and extreme winter conditions, and those caused by serious security alerts, such as terrorism and bomb threats. Plans should be supported by effective business continuity management arrangements which cover how essential services will be maintained during a crisis and how the business will be recovered as quickly as possible afterwards.
- There are a number of legal requirements that establish duties and set criteria for organisations to establish procedures, competencies and equipment specifications for emergency events.
- Planning for emergencies should encompass a wide range of potential accidents, incidents and scenarios.
- The starting point for any planning process will be a risk assessment, to determine the most foreseeable and likely events that may affect the organisation.
- Both guidance for the management of emergencies and plans to deal with them should be developed.
- Identifying hazards in the workplace is vital to implementing successful emergency procedures. This includes security risks to the premises and those individuals within it.
- Planning should encompass consideration of what internal and external resources are needed, and how media communications will be handled.
- In preparing for an emergency, it is essential to identify those who will be responsible for managing the emergency as it happens and implementing the plan.
- A crucial step is to test the plan and carry out regular rehearsals.
- Business continuity management refers to identifying those parts of an organisation that are essential to its functioning and planning how to maintain these, if an incident occurs, and return to normal after the incident is passed.
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