Facility Disaster Mitigation

What is an Emergency?

An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause death 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.

Potential Emergencies:

  • Fires
  • Tornados
  • Earthquakes
  • Winter Storms
  • Chemical Spills/Attacks
  • Terrorism

Emergency Management

Emergency management is the process of preparing for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from an emergency.

Plan Ahead

Every year emergencies take their toll on business and industry - in lives and dollars. Business and industry can limit injuries and damages and return more quickly to normal operations if they plan ahead.

4 Steps in the Planning Process

  • STEP 1 - Establish a Planning Team
  • STEP 2 - Analyze Capabilities and Hazards
  • STEP 3 - Develop the Plan
  • STEP 4 - Implement the Plan

Safety Officer Planning Team Flow Chart


Planning Resources:

Emergency Management Guide for Business and Industry


Incident Command System

The Incident Command System (ICS) provides a management structure and system for conducting on-site operations. It is applicable to small scale daily operational activities as well as major mobilizations. ICS provides command center and operational staff with a standardized operational structure and common terminology. Because of this, ICS provides a useful and flexible management system that is particularly adaptable to incidents involving multi-jurisdictional or multi-disciplinary responses. ICS provides the flexibility needed to rapidly activate and establish an organizational format around the functions that need to be performed.

Integrating with the Fire Department

  • Have building information handy.
  • Designate one person to act as a go-between with the FD Incident Commander
  • What information should be handy.

Emergency Information for the FD

  • Building Plans
  • Location of Utility shut-offs
  • Location of Disabled Persons
  • Location of Hazardous Materials
  • MSDS forms
  • Emergency Contact Numbers

Emergency Information For You

  • A Copy of your Emergency Operations Plan
  • Insurance Company Numbers
  • Contractors: plumbers, electricians, etc
  • Emergency Power
  • Important Administrators

Evacuation Planning

  • Assign team members based on ability to function in an emergency - Not where they are in the "food chain"
  • Determine if any employees have special skills/abilities
  • Emergency escape procedures and routes
  • Procedures for employees who may have physical limitations
  • Accounting for employees, visitors and contractors after an evacuation is completed - Outside meeting places
  • Rescue and medical duties for assigned employees
  • Procedures for reporting emergencies - Pull the alarm and Dial 911
  • Communicating with personnel and community responders

Emergency Evacuation

In an emergency, all personnel should know:

  1. What is my role?
  2. Where should I go?

Physically Challenged Persons

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines a disabled person as anyone who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for oneself or working.

An employee could be temporarily disabled due to injury that may inhibit ability to evacuate.

VITAL: Include impacted persons in the planning process - some may not want help or will indicate the accepted level to which they will agree. DO NOT ASSUME.


Shelter-in-Place is one way to protect yourself. If you are told to Shelter-in-Place, do the following:

  • Immediately go inside.
  • Close and lock all windows and doors, a better seal is made. Stay calm. Stay off the telephone.
  • Turn off heating and cooling systems.
  • Go to an interior room with no or few windows. Seal all openings into the room
  • Turn on a battery powered radio to a local Emergency Activation Station (EAS) station for information and directions. Stay tuned to the station until you are given instructions that the emergency is over.
  • After the emergency is over, you will be instructed to air out your building.

How we work...

The Fire Department Way

Components of Emergency Response

  • Caller
  • Call-Taker
  • Dispatcher
  • Responders

About the Interaction

  • Information flows through many hands so it may need to be repeated numerous times.
  • Each group you talk to asks questions from a different perspective
  • Very little information is trusted right away.
  • Responders act on different cues than the general public.
  • Responders are trained to slow down on approach and to not lose sight of the "big picture"
  • There are situations where the Fire/Police will not "rush-in" like in the movies.

How Does the Interaction Begin?

  • You must first identify yourself.
  • Ask for the Incident Commander
  • Let the Incident Commander know what information you have.

The Interaction

  • Emergency scenes are hectic.
  • Do not be surprised or offended if you are not integrated into the emergency right away.
  • Understand if you are asked to move or are excluded from some discussions.
  • Our biggest goal is safety for us and the public and we may ask you to move for your own safety.

The Wrap-up/Recovery

  • If your emergency planning book is in order wrapping up and recovery will be much easier.
  • Call the insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Notify all people on your notification list early.
  • Get the ball rolling on recovery as soon as possible.

Natural Disasters

For Tornados:

  • Go to a basement or lowest point of building.
  • If not possible, go to an interior room with no or few windows.
  • Turn on a battery powered radio to a local EAS station for information and directions. Stay tuned to the station until you are given instructions that the emergency is over.
  • Utilize your Disaster Supplies Kit

Administration and Logistics

  • Maintain complete and accurate records at two separate locations (out of state ideally) at all times to ensure a more efficient emergency response and recovery. certain records may also be required by regulation or by your insurance carriers or prove invaluable in the case of legal action after an incident.
  • If you have an ISP: Find out if they have a separate location to ensure seamless transition and backup in case of emergency.
  • Consider how you would access important personal information about employees (home phone, next-of-kin, medical) in an emergency. Storing information on computer disks or in sealed envelopes are two options.
  • Off-site location is critical.

Emergency Information

  • Emergency Activation Radio Stations:
    WMAL 630 AM
    WTOP 107.7 FM & 1500 AM
    WWRC 1260 AM
    WKYS 93.9 FM

  • Any local TV Station will also have pertinent instructions. Consider purchase of a battery powered TV for the office also.
  • Consider purchasing a N.O.A.A. weather radio for the office.

Prepare and Practice

Planning, though critical, is not the only component. Training, conducting drills, testing equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other important functions!

Other Helpful Links

For Further Information Or To Schedule Am Emergency Management & Evacuation Procedures Planning Session:

Call 911