What is within your span of control when lowering the risk of a release or the chaos of an emergency? Our experts will take you through five best practices to response preparedness in emergency incidents.

Emergency incident disruptions can include a wide variety of areas such as juggling response plans, site investigations, working with regulatory agencies, managing regulatory affairs and documentation requests, stakeholder engagement, and not to mention the cost of business.

Therefore, you may stop to ask…What is within your span of control when lowering the risk of a release or the chaos of an emergency?

Definition of Incident:

Any event that could lead to loss of, or disruption to, an organization’s operations, services or functions.

The simple answer is your Preparedness to Respond!! Limiting disruption, mitigating risk and understanding what the organization defines as normal operations are keys to preparing for the worst-case incident.

Five Steps to Preparedness

Below are five best practices that are associated with incident response preparedness:

1. Drills and Exercises
Often organizations will conduct desktop drills or field exercises that allow for responders, key stakeholders and regulators to come together and work through the plans that have been developed for responding to an emergency incident.  Once completing the drills organizations will complete a lesson learned work session (or hotwash) to discuss what worked well and what needed to be corrected should an actual emergency incident occur.

2. Planning
Through the planning process the organization can use this time to gather information to identify the course of action that may be necessary to achieve a successful response at specific locations.

Some objectives that might be considered in this process are:

  • Geographical challenges
  • Outline of tactical response procedures and techniques for addressing the incident
  • Identification and protection of sensitive receptors
  • Understanding of regulatory compliance guidelines

These planning tools assist in the implementation of an overall response strategy by minimizing the impact of the release.

3. Implementation of internal response teams
Teams may include representation from internal resources such as environmental, health and safety, operations, and management teams.  When an organization puts into practice the various policies, plans and procedures that are created, it allows for there to be a unified approach for addressing the emergency incident. This approach provides guidance and direction directly from the organization while mitigating the emergency.

4. Partnership with industry experts and regulatory agencies 
Having a knowledgeable network of environmental cleanup specialists, having a working relationship with regulatory agencies, and expertise with incident response processes and practices will help to mitigate some of the disruption that can be faced during an incident.  A network of experts can help your organization to return to order quickly by deploying and providing cost-effective solutions.  As you know, time is of the essence when an emergency incident occurs. Furthermore, not only do these relationships and practices assist in mitigating the disruption of the incident, but truly act as the foundation and path forward in helping to reduce the long-term liabilities of the incident.

5. Right resources and equipment deployed at the right time
At the onset of an emergency incident, it is critical for an organization to be able to communicate in a timely manner with their response specialists to ensure that the right resources and equipment are deployed.  Knowing what you have in the region or within the footprint of the organization is critical when considering if the plans and policies created can be carried out as written.  Utilizing a contractor/equipment management tracking tool can be useful to an organization to ensure that the proper internal notifications are made when activating contractors to respond to the organization’s emergency incident

Essential Principles of Emergency Incident Management

The best practices discussed above all fall within the essential principles of emergency incident management.  These principles of emergency incident management will help an organization check whether they are ready to RESPOND!

We focused on the core of these principles in starting with the preparedness phase. If this foundation is set up right the rest of the cycle of incident response will fall into place based on your initial preparedness plans to respond.

As the new normal is still to be determined, we find ourselves having to do more with less.  It is important that your organization gives consideration to streamlining and standardizing its methods of preparedness while ensuring readiness to RESPOND!!

Ready to make an Emergency Incident Response plan? Let our team at Antea Group help you make your own plan. 

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