Emergency Preparedness and Response

September Is National Preparedness Month

It makes business sense.

Having a plan for emergencies is key to getting back to work with minimum disruptions. A strong emergency response/continuity plan provides the means to address the numerous issues involved in performing essential functions and services during and after an emergency.

Sometimes you just have to!

In addition, laws and regulations require emergency planning. Several federal programs have been established to ensure that facilities take steps to prevent hazardous substance releases, oil spills, chemical accidents, and other emergencies. These programs implement planning and preparedness requirements and respond to environmental emergencies. In addition to environmental requirements, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires facilities to have written emergency action plans (EAPs) to deal with the types of emergencies specific to the facility. The EAP requirements are meant to ensure the safety of employees initially being evacuated, as well as provide the procedures for employees who remain in your facility to perform critical operations or shutdown operations.

Help from FEMA and others.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and most state emergency management agencies offer a number of tips aimed at helping businesses be prepared for and recover from emergencies. These tips revolve around developing a plan for preparedness, response, and recovery. All should be part of your Emergency Response Plan.

FEMA also offers Business Continuity Planning Suite software, created for any business with the need to create, improve, or update its business continuity plan.

With the newly released 2015 federal UST regulations, there are additional reporting and compatibility requirements for storing regulated substances blended with greater than 10 percent ethanol or greater than 20 percent biodiesel in UST systems. Learn more by attending this webinar on Tuesday, September 24.

Be prepared.

Take an “all hazards” approach in your planning process. There are many different threats or hazards, from natural disasters to man-made threats that could affect your business. The probability that a specific hazard will impact your business is hard to determine. That’s why it’s important to consider many different threats and hazards, and the likelihood they will occur.

  • Conduct hazard vulnerability assessments of all buildings on your site and strengthen hazardous structures where necessary.
  • Eliminate nonstructural hazards, such as making sure containers carrying hazardous substances are secured.
  • Conduct emergency drills and train employees in preparedness and response.
  • Identify vital business records and protect computer data and equipment. Many businesses now have cloud-based or other off-site backup for essential records.

Remember, a thorough risk assessment not only identifies hazards and threats, but also affords you the opportunity to prevent hazards and mitigate risks.

Ethanol and Biodiesel in Your ASTs and USTs: How to Prevent Corrosion and Achieve Compliance

Learn how to properly store alternative fuels in both aboveground and underground storage tanks while maintaining compliance with regulations that apply to your facility. Register today!

Respond quickly.

Stabilizing an emergency may involve many different actions, including firefighting, administering medical treatment, rescue, containing a spill of hazardous chemicals, or handling a threat or act of violence.

  • Immediately after a severe weather event or other disaster, locate all employees and provide first aid as necessary.
  • Conduct initial damage assessments and activate your evacuation plan, if necessary.
  • Provide emergency power for critical operations.
  • Maintain open communications with employees, your community, and the media.

Begin recovery operations.

When business is disrupted, it can cost money. It is critical to get back to business as soon as possible. Following an incident that disrupts business operations, resources will be needed to carry out recovery strategies and to restore normal business operations.

  • Conduct a comprehensive site damage survey to determine the need for temporary relocation.
  • Secure contractors to clean up and repair damages.
  • Restore essential facilities and processes and/or establish temporary ones.
  • Obtain critical supplies from vendors.