We live in a dangerous world with natural and man-made disasters an ever-present threat to our safety.
But what constitutes a real emergency and how do we plan for the associated risks to our property, our staff and ourselves? As Steps to Prepare for an Emergency is the focus topic.
An emergency is defined as an event that is actually happening or is about to happen. It potentially endangers or threatens our lives or property or our environment.
The danger must be so great that we need a coordinated effort from a large number of people or agencies to respond to the threat and provide mobile security.
For us to manage such an emergency, we need to plan for it by performing a risk assessment. Based on the risk assessment, we must draft a plan of action and then ensure that everyone involved is trained in what they need to do and understand their role in the emergency plan.
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Security Risk Assessment
There are 5 types of risk assessment relating to health and safety.
- Dynamic risk assessment
Risk assessments look at the potential hazards within an environment or task and then quantify the likelihood that harm will come to you.
Assessing the risk involves 5 steps:
- Identify the potential dangers
- Identify who might be in harm’s way and how they may be harmed
- Evaluate risks and consider what precautions can be taken
- Make a record of your findings
- Periodically review the risk assessment and update it if required
The person who performs the risk assessment needs to be experienced and have the knowledge necessary to assess the risks.
Qualitative Risk Assessment
This is the most common form of risk assessment.
The person who assesses the risk will have experience in this task. They will use their judgment and experience to decide on the severity of an emergency.
Each individual, family, business, and community has its own particular risk level. The assessor will also consult with various people within an organization to complete a thorough risk assessment.
Risks are categorized as either high, medium, or low risk. Once this is done, then each risk is systematically investigated, and decisions are made regarding the existing precautions and whether they are adequate to prevent harm.
Quantitative Risk Assessment
Quantitative risk assessments assign numbers to the risk and are used for large-scale and complex risks.
This is the sort of assessment that a nuclear plant or complex factory environment will use. Here the assessor will look at machinery or chemicals that could cause harm.
Generic Risk Assessment
Generic risk assessments are carried out on a large scale and are used when similar risks are present in multiple different areas.
It cuts down on the amount of work necessary to assess risk and makes it easier to handle.
Site-Specific Risk Assessment
This type of assessment takes into account that not all risks are the same even when the tasks are similar.
The location, number of people, and environment are assessed to provide greater accuracy when evaluating the risk.
Dynamic Risk Assessment
Dynamic risk assessment is used when the nature of the risk is possibly unknown or extremely variable.
In a changing environment, the risk could increase or decrease based on various factors. The skill and awareness of the assessor count highly when dealing with volatile situations like this.
The response to a changing risky situation depends on the personnel who are on the ground and can decide for themselves on the riskiness of a course of action and can act accordingly.
Create a Solid Plan
Once the risks are identified and assessed, it’s time to draft a plan to deal with the possible problems.
There are 5 phases in emergency management:
These are precautions taken to prevent or avoid an incident.
Procedures and policies are put in place to prevent an accident or situation from happening. These policies and procedures will include surveillance, assessment, monitoring, and deterrence.
This is the first line of defense against an emergency being declared.
Mitigation measures help to prevent an emergency or reduce its severity.
There are building codes, zoning requirements, the construction of various physical barriers, and the installation of defenses against threats.
Building codes will include specifications for the strength and grade of material used in construction. Zoning requirements will prevent buildings from being erected on flood plains and unstable ground.
Physical barriers such as sea walls and levees protect against natural disasters that result from flooding.
Companies will erect barriers to prevent vehicles from accessing specific areas or put barricades in place to prevent escape if other measures have failed.
It stands to reason that the emergency plan must be communicated to everyone.
And once the plan is broadcast, training needs to be provided so that the various role-players know what it is they must do and how to do it.
Disaster training exercises that are coordinated by all the agencies involved allow flaws in the plan to surface and give everyone a chance to see if the plan will work.
Problems can be ironed out and plans revised to include feedback from real-world exercises.
This is where the rubber meets the road.
In the event of a real emergency, there must be clear communication and authority to initiate the plan.
Operations centers must be activated and evacuations authorized. Shelter must be made available as well as emergency rescue operations and care for medical emergencies initiated.
Once the emergency is over, services need to be restored to normal and repairs undertaken.
Social and economic damage must be assessed, and assistance is given where required.
Train Your Staff Correctly
Staff must be trained to deal with emergencies.
They need to know what to do, whom to call and what to do until help arrives. The only way to do this is to practice. This ensures that they all know and understand the plan.
Specific training can and should be given to those who must perform specific tasks such as first aid.
Advance On-Site Protection Security provides mobile security and assists businesses and families who wish to create emergency plans for their staff and families.