Every month you change the filter on your furnace. Every 3,000 miles you get the oil changed on your car. Every six months you (hopefully) visit your dentist for a cleaning.
Maintenance is important. It’s key to keeping you, your home, or your auto running
Your business is no different. The office
copy machine is serviced after a predetermined number of copies, and when your
color printer signals a service code, you
put in a call for service. But what about
your emergency response plan? Your
safety team already has devoted a considerable amount of time meeting regularly
and putting together a well-thought out
emergency response plan. Do you know
where this plan is located?
Chances are, you promptly filed it or
it’s tucked away on the shelf above your
computer. If the cover page states the last
update was more than one year ago, it’s
time to dust off your plan and put it into
action. How long has it been since you last
conducted a mock disaster exercise using
your emergency plan as your guide?
The emergency response plan is a living
document. It should be updated whenever
you add new products or services, make
technology upgrades, or staff changes.
Ideally, changes in the plan should be made
as they occur in the workforce. Your plan
should be tested at least once a year. More
frequent tests can be performed on critical items for the response such as notifications to the teams involved. These do not
have to have extensive time involvement.
However, if you are not able to reach the
people necessary for the response, your
ability to handle the crisis will be ham-
strung. Without testing, you won’t know
where further support might be needed,
and you won’t know if your employees
fully understand their role and responsi-
bilities during a crisis.
Conducting periodic drills and updating your plan are crucial — yet often overlooked — pieces of the disaster response
planning process. Since the last edit of
your disaster plan, you may have added
another building to your facility and hired
an additional 50 employees, but have you
taken the time to update your plan with
these changes? Have the new hires been
trained on what to do in an emergency?
If the answer is yes, congratulations! You
take safety seriously. For many, the answer
will likely be no, so here are a few ideas on
how to conduct plan maintenance.
By VIVIAN MARINELLI, Psy.D.
Conduct a Tabletop Drill to Maintain
Your Emergency Response Plan