Emergency Management Guide for Business & Industry
A hurricane blasts through South Florida causing more than $25
billion in damages. A fire at a food processing plant results in 25
deaths, a company out of business and a small town devastated. A
blizzard shuts down much of the East Coast for days. More than 150 lives
are lost and millions of dollars in damages incurred.
Every year emergencies take their toll on business and industry -- in
lives and dollars. But something can be done. Business and industry can
limit injuries and damages and return more quickly to normal operations
if they plan ahead.
About This Guide
This guide provides step-by-step advice on how to create and maintain
a comprehensive emergency management program. It can be used by
manufacturers, corporate offices, retailers, utilities or any
organization where a sizable number of people work or gather.
Whether you operate from a high-rise building or an industrial
complex; whether you own, rent or lease your property; whether you are a
large or small company; the concepts in this guide will apply.
To begin, you need not have in-depth knowledge of emergency
management. What you need is the authority to create a plan and a
commitment from the chief executive officer to make emergency management
part of your corporate culture.
If you already have a plan, use this guide as a resource to assess
and update your plan. The guide is organized as follows:
- Section 1: 4 Steps in the Planning Process -- how to form a
planning team; how to conduct a vulnerability analysis; how to
develop a plan; and how to implement the plan. The information can
be applied to virtually any type of business or industry.
- Section 2: Emergency Management Considerations -- how to build
such emergency management capabilities as life safety, property
protection, communications and community outreach.
- Section 3: Hazard-Specific Information -- technical information
about specific hazards your facility may face.
- Section 4: Information Sources -- where to turn for additional
What Is an Emergency?
An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths or
significant injuries to employees, customers or the public; or that can
shut down your business, disrupt operations, cause physical or
environmental damage, or threaten the facility's financial standing or
public image. Obviously, numerous events can be "emergencies,"
- Hazardous materials incident
- Flood or flash flood
- Winter storm
- Communications failure
- Radiological accident
- Civil disturbance
- Loss of key supplier or customer
The term "disaster" has been left out of this document because it
lends itself to a preconceived notion of a large-scale event, usually a
"natural disaster." In fact, each event must be addressed within the
context of the impact it has on the company and the community. What
might constitute a nuisance to a large industrial facility could be a
"disaster" to a small business.
What Is Emergency Management?
Emergency management is the process of preparing for, mitigating,
responding to and recovering from an emergency.
Emergency management is a dynamic process. Planning, though critical,
is not the only component. Training, conducting drills, testing
equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other
Making the "Case" for Emergency Management
To be successful, emergency management requires upper management
support. The chief executive sets the tone by authorizing planning to
take place and directing senior management to get involved.
When presenting the "case" for emergency management, avoid dwelling
on the negative effects of an emergency (e.g., deaths, fines, criminal
prosecution) and emphasize the positive aspects of preparedness. For
- It helps companies fulfill their moral responsibility to protect
employees, the community and the environment.
- It facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements of
Federal, State and local agencies.
- It enhances a company's ability to recover from financial
losses, regulatory fines, loss of market share, damages to equipment
or products or business interruption.
- It reduces exposure to civil or criminal liability in the event
of an incident.
- It enhances a company's image and credibility with employees,
customers, suppliers and the community.
- It may reduce your insurance premiums.