Most organization leaders believe their emergency plans are state-of-the-art. When, in fact, their plans are dangerously flawed.
Their emergency plans do not comply with federal and state regulations, ignore many classes of personnel and rarely consider visitors. Additionally, coordination with local emergency services is nonexistent, and personnel training is haphazard and illegal. The risks to the organization are many and the exposures titanic. This article provides information for creating an emergency plan that complies with regulations and protects your people, your organization and your posterior.
Risk never sleeps. Emergencies can strike any organization with a direct hit, or can clobber anything within a wide path. In the past year, organizations were vulnerable to these reported emergencies:
Sources: OSHA, Department of Justice, National Fire Protection Association, American Red Cross, EPA
Risk always multiplies. What is the fallout for an unprepared organization?
Sources: Agility Recovery Solutions, Continuity Insights Management Conference, London Chamber of Commerce Study
OSHA regulations apply to every employer in the U.S., without exception:
The following federal regulations may also apply to many organizations:
State fire codes also apply to organizations.
NFPA 1600 spells out requirements for emergency preparedness, disaster recovery and business continuity, along with drills, exercises, and training.
NFPA 1600 is recognized in law as the standard by the U.S. Congress [PL 108-458,§7305(a),(b)]. This standard is law (shall) in California and Florida where 56 million residents experience and plan for earthquakes, sinkholes, wildfires, hurricanes, flooding and mudslides-and have formally done so since World War II. Their authority on planning is held high by courts everywhere.
The Fire Department of the City of New York enforces the most robust emergency planning law in the world-inspired by NFPA 1600. Standard & Poor's (S&P) uses this standard when auditing emergency, disaster recovery and business continuity to ensure resiliency. Even in states where NFPA 1600 is a "should" and not "shall," any litigator will convince jurors that those "shoulds" are expected to be "shalls." Jurors will assume that you a) knew the regulations and standards, b) gambled with life safety of your personnel, c) have deep pockets and d) need to learn a lesson that sends a message to all organizations.
Consider that when you are sued for failure to plan and failure to train, you will be asked during your deposition and at the trial, "Is it your testimony that NFPA 1600 is good enough for the U.S. Congress, California, Florida, New York City and S&P, but not good enough for you?" Organization leaders must plan accordingly.
Bo Mitchell was Police Commissioner of Wilton, CT for 16 years. He retired in 2001 to found 911 Consulting which creates emergency, disaster recovery and business continuity plans, training and exercises for organizations like GE Headquarters, Cablevision, Goodrich, Western and Central Connecticut State Universities. He serves clients headquartered from Boston to LA working in their facilities from London to San Francisco. Bo has earned 16 certifications in homeland security, organizational safety and security. He also serves as an expert in landmark court cases nationally.
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