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Take action with an emergency response plan

No business is immune to emergency situations. If disaster strikes, you want to make sure your business survives. An emergency response plan provides the logistics you’ll need to take action, control damage and continue operations in the event of a major incident.

An emergency plan can help you face all sorts of incidents:

  • Natural disasters: wind storm, ice storm, flood, etc.
  • Accidents: drinking water outage, serious injury, poisoning, etc.
  • Technical disasters: fire, explosion, collapse, gas leak, water damage, power outage, etc.
  • Human disasters: theft, burglary, vandalism, contamination, bomb threats, pandemics, terrorism, etc.

The objectives and advantages of an emergency response plan

The main objective of an emergency response plan is to maintain an organization’s performance in the event of a fire or other major incident by reducing risks, preventable damage and adverse effects. Developing an emergency response plan and keeping it up to date improves your company’s security and provides others advantages, such as:

  • Better client and employee retention
  • Increased profitability
  • Greater insurability
  • Reduced insurance premiums
  • Shorter recovery period in the event of a disaster
  • Improved company image and reputation
  • Enhanced environmental protection

Set up a committee

An emergency response committee develops a plan for emergency measures. It should include key roles such as:

  • A lead who is familiar with the organization and its operations
  • A member of the management team who can allocate the appropriate resources
  • Employees who are interested and competent
  • (If necessary) specialized external resources, such as prevention specialists, risk managers, consultants, emergency plan developers and the local fire department

It’s essential to have a person in charge of media relations during a major incident to manage pressure from the press. This preventive measure will also help maintain the company’s reputation, by helping control rumours and speculations that could compromise the credibility of your business.

Develop your plan

An emergency plan should be easy to understand, as it’s going to be used in an emergency. It should get straight to the point. In short, the plan must:

  • Be easy to use (quick reference tool)
  • Provide the right support where needed
  • Clearly define responsibilities
  • Identify the exact chain of command

Once you’ve decided to develop an emergency plan, the main steps are:

  1. Identify risks and hazards (internal and external)
  2. Determine control methods to reduce or manage risks
  3. Identify actions to be taken and assign responsibilities
  4. Prepare the first draft of the plan
  5. Train staff
  6. Test the plan
  7. Revise the plan, if necessary
  8. Keep the plan up to date

Check out our other prevention fact sheets:

How to effectively manage storage areas

Are your storage lockers, stockrooms or warehouses potential fire hazards?

Business continuity plan

Make sure your business survives a natural disaster or emergency situation.

Want to learn more?

See our complete list of prevention fact sheets.

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The information in this fact sheet is of a general nature and is provided for information purposes only. It is not exhaustive. Any action taken after reading this fact sheet should be carried out safely and, if necessary, by an experienced and authorized person.

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