5 Building Blocks for Emergency Response Preparedness!

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When an event occurs emergency management processes normally take place in an Emergency Operations Center. Preparedness within the field of emergency management can best be defined as a state of readiness to respond to a disaster, crisis, or any other type of emergency situation.

Anyone who has a role in emergency preparedness knows that their organizations next emergency is a matter of when and not if. People and resources are the driver for any organizations recovery operations. When an emergency strikes, organizations pull together subject matter experts from different areas. Their role is to manage and monitor the response to the event, as well as the overall recovery of operations.

There a number of building blocks any organization can put in place to ensure the most effective response possible occurs;

1. Consider How Your Organization Will Communicate

When an incident occurs, the need to communicate is immediate. If business operations are impacted, customers will want to know how they will be disrupted. Regulators may need to be updated and local government officials will want to know what is going on in their community. Employees and their families will be concerned and want information. Neighbours living near a facility may need information, even more so if they are threatened by the incident. All of these stakeholders will want information before your organization has a chance to begin communicating internally. An important component of the preparedness program is the communications plan. A business must be able to respond promptly, accurately and confidently during an emergency in the hours and days that follow. Many different audiences must be reached with information specific to their interests and needs. The image of an organization can be positively or negatively impacted by public perceptions of the handling of the incident.

2. Assess Your Need For Purpose Built Information Management System

An Emergency communication in recent years is typically a computer-based system that allows for the primary purpose of supporting two-way communication of emergency messages between both individuals and groups of individuals. These systems are commonly designed to integrate the cross-communication of messages between a variety of communication technologies, forming a unified communication system intended to optimize communications during emergencies. If you have any kind of exposure to emergency preparedness you know well what a physical Emergency Operations Center looks like. It houses the subject matter experts from different areas of the organization. Their role is to manage and monitor the response to the event, as well as the overall recovery of the organization. The primary function of any EOC is to establish and manage the Control, Communication, Collaboration, and Coordination. However more and more, organizations are looking to the concept of a virtual EOC as their information management system of choice. A virtual EOC takes the physical EOC and moves it online through a variety of technology tools.

3. Clearly Identify And Understood Roles.

Getting together in person is especially tough for agencies with limited staffing. The incident management concept is designed specifically to allow personnel to adopt an integrated organizational structure equal to the complexity and demands of any single incident or multiple incidents without being hindered by jurisdictional boundaries. By creating clearly defined roles and an incident command structure, organizations can avoid some of the common pitfalls in a response. Such as; too many people reporting to one supervisor, lack of reliable incident information, inadequate and incompatible communications, lack of structure for coordinated planning among departments, unclear lines of authority and unclear or unspecified incident objectives.

4.Think About Your Resource Management

If you think that resource management is important on a normal day, imagine how important it is on a day when you don’t have any power and when you can’t even get in touch with your employees. This not only includes physical equipment but personnel.Nobody likes an emergency situation. Whether you’re dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood, or some other major disaster, you’ve got to be able to kick your resource management plans into high-gear. Your organization can’t run without people. If you don’t have a solid, easily accessible resource management plan in place when an emergency strikes, your company will be in trouble. People rarely think clearly during and shortly after an emergency. They’re probably dealing with problems of their own, so the last thing they’re capable of is coming in and devising an emergency strategy. Instead, you need a pre-planned resource blueprint that will be easy for even the most distracted employees to follow.

5. Ensure Availability Of Trained And Qualified Personnel

Training is essential to ensure that everyone knows what to do when there is an emergency, or disruption of business operations. Members of emergency response, business continuity and crisis communications teams should be trained so they are familiar with their role and responsibilities as defined within the plans. Leaders and decision makers should receive a higher level of training, including incident command system training, so they can lead their teams.

No matter how successful you may have been before disaster, crisis or an emergency incident struck, all that matters is how you respond to it. If you don’t start the recovery process as soon as possible, you may miss out on your chance to recover altogether. Like it or not, your future depends on what you do right now with your available resources.We're always interested in anything that aids in improving your capabilities. Being able to easily manage and track youremergency is one of the reasons we created [D4H] Technologies .

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