Emergency Management Planning: Who will be in charge? Could we have foreseen this? How do we recover?

These are just some of the many questions that should be addressed in planning for an emergency long before you need to have the answers in real time!

Emergency management planning is vital for almost all businesses. Naturally, the scale of planning required will vary depending on the complexity of an individual business. For example, the detail required in an emergency management plan for a major hazard facility will be far greater than that required for an online sole trader. Nevertheless, every business should consider having an emergency management plan.

Emergency management planning is much more than evacuation planning and fire warden training. Thorough emergency management planning will be empowered by your organisation’s Board or owners, executed by senior management and implemented by all members of your organisation.

A well-considered emergency management plan is vital for any organisation to advance following an emergency and should complement the organisation’s business continuity plan.

How do you know if your emergency management planning arrangements are sufficient to meet the needs of an emergency?

Nuffield Group has developed an “Emergency Management Plan self-assessment guide” which identifies the imperative elements that your emergency management plan should have and allows you to assess your organisation’s current plan.

In broad terms the critical elements of any emergency management plan include:

  • Hazard identification and understanding the trends and underlying root causes of incidents
  • Checking incident management systems and processes are effective and align with the risk appetite of your organisation.
  • Establishing, current and relevant formal procedures for your organisation.
  • Testing and exercising your emergency management plan.
  • Formally training team members in their roles in emergency management.
  • Having effective internal and external communication.
  • Having appropriate tools and infrastructure in place.
  • Establishing structure and process around lessons to be learnt to ensure continuous improvement.
  • Developing business continuity and recovery plans to minimise disruption to operations, customers, and other vital business functions; and assist in recovery.
  • Having the current capability and capacity to respond to, and recover from, an emergency.

Nuffield Group’s “Emergency Management Plan self–assessment guide” enables an organisation to undertake an assessment of their own emergency management plan on a regular basis to ensure it is strong, thorough and empowered to meet the emergency management needs of the organisation, stakeholders and the community.

The guide identifies the imperative elements that your emergency management plan should have and allows you to assess your organisation’s current plan.

It is a simple and easy-to-use template that results in an action plan when improvement is needed.

Nuffield Group’s ‘Emergency Management Plan self-assessment guide’ is published on our collaborative online platform, GNTX. Here, non-competitive information and tools are made available for businesses to share, download and modify for their own use.

Find out more about GNTX herehttps://www.nuffieldgroup.com/gntx/ or contact us to discuss.

Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School

Nuffield Group is proud to be supporting the Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School (VIEWS) this year.

The program traditionally coincides with NAIDOC week, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. However, this year, due to the challenges of COVID it will be held 27th September – 1st October 2021 inclusive.

VIEWS is an annual event spawned by the 2015 National Indigenous Engineering Summit – a collaborative venture between four of Victoria’s top Universities (Melbourne, RMIT, Swinburne & Monash).

The purpose of VIEWS is to give Year 10,11 & 12 indigenous students an insight into what it’s like to study and work in engineering and to find out more about the different educational and career pathways that exist for budding engineers.

Supporting VIEWS 2021 is a perfect fit for Nuffield Group, whose head of Finance and HR is Rebecca Terzini: “We have taken our time looking for a program that promotes the wonderful world of engineering to Indigenous students with a keen interest in STEM subjects – and VIEWS ticks all the boxes”.

Participants in the program get to hear first-hand, inspirational stories from Indigenous engineers and students about their lived experiences. They also find out more about how an engineering career can help them have a positive impact on society and on the lives of millions of people around the world.

The Winter School normally gives the students a chance to live in University accommodation and explore the campuses of the participating Universities; To visit industry sites and Engineering companies and take part in hands-on workshops developing the kind of problem-solving and design skills engineers use every day. This year these experiences will be conducted virtually with hands-on kits for virtual workshops and activities including site visits and campus tours.

VIEWS is a unique and invaluable educational experience that also provides students an opportunity to connect with like-minded people, meet Indigenous elders and learn about the Indigenous support groups that exist to help them in their higher education and career journeys.

The program addresses a wide variety of opportunities and challenges for engineers including global climate change, energy options, resource management, robotics, technology, and medicine. It’s been well received by students and educators since its inception and Nuffield Group Managing Director, Jayston Small, is delighted to be involved this year.

“2020 was extremely disruptive for everyone and particularly difficult for students and Universities. Nuffield Group has been championing industry & community recovery and resilience projects and so, it’s a natural step for us to get involved with VIEWS. We’re immensely proud to be able to support Indigenous students through the Winter School and look forward to helping the 2021 cohort make the most of this opportunity”.

Emergency response and recovery

I am constantly intrigued by the regularity and severity of critical events. Over the last two years, in Australia alone, we have seen numerous major events including bushfires, floods cyclones, a pandemic and heatwaves. At a local level there have been many more events that have impacted communities and businesses including building fires, workplace accidents, protests, social issues and health events. Each of these has the potential to impact you, your employees, stakeholders, customers and ultimately your business.

So, when it comes to emergency response and recovery, how you respond and how you plan to recover can be a game-changer. 

We have previously discussed, in our series of articles, that your Emergency Management Plan needs to be based on the risks identified via your business’s risk assessment process. This is such a crucial piece of work because unidentified risks will not receive the attention they deserve in your emergency management arrangements.

There are many ways to manage risk, usually incorporating numerous layers of protection but when each of those layers of protection fail, an uncontrolled event occurs, affecting your business. In most circumstances this is known as an emergency situation which requires an emergency response. The best emergency response is the one that is planned for.

Emergency response planning is the development of a set of written procedures for dealing with emergencies, designed specifically to minimise the impact of the event and facilitate recovery from that event. At an instinctive level these procedures address matters such as:

  • How to alert staff and visitors of the emergency
  • How to evacuate, including escape routes and assembly locations
  • How to account for employees and visitors
  • How to notify and liaise with emergency service
  • How to provision initial welfare arrangements
  • and what early notifications are required, including statutory notifications

One of the keys to developing good emergency response plans is to consult with the emergency services early in the process. There are benefits for all in the consultation process. The emergency services gain an understanding of your business operations and processes along with the likely emergency scenarios and your capability to initially respond to them. Using this information, the emergency services can plan their response. In return, you gain an understanding of how the emergency services plan to respond, the equipment they will respond with, the timeframe in which they will respond and their expectations of you when they arrive.

The sooner the emergency services can get to work, the sooner your emergency event will be controlled. The importance of exercising your plan cannot be overstated, the engagement with the local responders is one important step and you should practise your plans and review them annually to be successful.

A valuable and simultaneous process to be undertaken whilst developing your emergency response plan is to develop your recovery plan.

A recovery plan will help you to commence your recovery efforts earlier and more smoothly when an emergency event impacts your business. The purpose of the recovery plan is to reduce your recovery time and minimise losses.

Recovery plans can include a vast array of critical information relevant to the recovery of your business including information on how to resume critical business activities and the time frame in which you can realistically expect to resume usual business operations. It can also include:

  • Strategies to recover your business activities in the quickest possible time
  • A description of key resources, equipment and staff required to recover your operations
  • Your recovery time objectives
  • And a checklist you can use following an emergency event, when it is safe to return to your premises

Recovering from any setback is a challenge for all of us. Thinking and planning how you would go about your recovery process based on a likely emergency scenario could make a big difference to your business.

Nuffield Group has invested in developing its capability in Emergency and Crisis Management to support customers and organisations build safety and resilience into their business.

Nuffield Group provides consultancy and advisory services and also has an online platform, https://www.gntx.com.au for the exchange of non-competitive information and tools allowing businesses to share, download and modify frameworks and documents for their own use.

Find out more about GNTX here: https://www.nuffieldgroup.com/gntx/ or give us a call 1300 308 257 or mobile 0404 852 062.

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