10 Things to Include in Your Emergency Response Plan

In preparation for National Preparedness Month, happening in September, we will be publishing a series of articles sharing tips and tricks for businesses and buildings to create and implement a successful emergency response plan.

If you’re a building owner, property manager or you manage a business, an emergency response plan for your building(s) should be comprehensive and customized. While your local Fire Department may have specific requirements for your emergency response plan, a solid all-hazards plan should include the following:

1. List of Key Contacts. Include both key internal staff, as well as utilities and third-party vendors who would be critical to helping you respond and recover.

2. Building Systems Inventory. This is an inventory of the building’s protection and life safety systems, communication systems, emergency equipment, hazards, etc.

3. Emergency Team Duties.  This section details the general responsibilities of every member/group of your response team. This includes: engineering, property/facility management, security, parking, floor wardens, etc.

4. Core Response Procedures.  While you can plan for some 3 dozen emergency scenarios, almost all will involve one of the core procedures: partial & full evacuation, shelter in place, or internal relocation. Defining these in great detail will give your team the foundation they need to manage through most adverse events. Consider adding Lockdown procedures as well.

5. Emergency Scenarios. Your plan should address any of the following adverse events that could affect your building:

  • Fire
  • Medical Emergency
  • Bomb Threat
  • Gas Leak
  • Explosion
  • Hazardous Materials Release
  • CBRN Release
  • Workplace Violence
  • Fatality
  • Active Shooter
  • Civil Disturbance
  • Severe Weather
  • Tornado/High Winds
  • Hurricane
  • Earthquake
  • Flooding
  • Elevator Entrapment
  • Utility/Power Failure
  • Transit Disruption
  • Pandemic Flu/Staph Infection

6. Emergency Plan Diagrams.  Most jurisdictions require code-compliant emergency response diagrams be included in your plan.

7. Assembly Area Map.  Designate a primary and alternate external assembly area where your tenants/occupants should gather during an evacuation.  Remember that assembly areas need to be a safe distance away from your building, ideally with another building in between for protection.

8. Building Information Card.  Now required by code for high-rise buildings in most US cities, these 11-by-17 laminated cards provide arriving firefighters with a quick-reference sheet on your building’s layout and systems.  In addition to keeping one in your Fire Control Room, include a copy in your plan binders as well. Learn more about Building Information Cards here.

9. Rosters.  Include and maintain current rosters of building staff, tenant contacts, floor wardens, key vendors, corporate contacts, tenant critical operations staff, and occupants with mobility impairments. Update these regularly.

10. Additional Content. Also consider including: PA/Email announcement scripts, media guidelines, after-hours procedures, full-building shutdown procedures, fire drill and training logs.

Want to learn more about creating an emergency response plan for your building or business? Visit our website, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and feel free to reach out with any questions.