Sunday, August 15, 2010

Do You Have an Emergency Response Plan for Your Organization

On the wake of the earthquake that shook Ontario on June 23rd, 2010 many of you may be asking – what is this; why are we getting earthquakes, when we never have before! According to the CBC, the 5.0 magnitude earthquake hit Ontario with shaking and tremors felt in Montreal, Toronto, Kitchener and even Boston and Cleveland. Apparently, earthquakes are not uncommon to Canada with some 5000 per year – minor that they are, this is one of the largest we have had in Ontario. Weather is more dramatic with severe tornado’s that are more intense than ever before, sink holes are appearing all over the country (around the world); earthquakes are more intense and more dramatic in nature than they ever have been. What is this world coming to? No I don’t think the world will end in 2012, but we certainly need to understand the severity of the changes that are occurring and how to prepare and respond.

Definition of an Emergency: An emergency is any unplanned event that can cause deaths 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. Obviously, numerous events can be "emergencies," including:

Hazardous materials incident
Flood or flash flood
Winter storm
Communications failure
Radiological accident
Loss of key supplier or customer

Definition of Emergency management: Emergency Management is a dynamic process of preparing and planning for, mitigating, responding to and recovering from an emergency; providing proper training, conducting drills, testing equipment and coordinating activities with the community are other important functions and areas of your organization.

How can we address this or do anything about it you say? First, we need to look at safety, security and sustainability.

It is every employers responsibility to provide a safe workplace – it is called “due diligence”. Employers should also be mindful of their obligation to provide information to employees under Occupational Health and Safety Act, which could extend to the obligation to inform employees about the potential risk of an emergency situation from a natural disaster in the workplace and steps the employer will take to mitigate this risk. Develop your emergency plan to ensure the safety of your employees and continued work availability after an emergency occurs.

The following items should be addressed (but is not exhaustive) when preparing your emergency response plan.

hazard identification/assessment
emergency resources
communication system
administration of plan
emergency response procedure
communication of procedure
debriefing and post-traumatic stress procedure

For more information on Creating an Emergency Management and Response Plan for your organization, contact us at:


To purchase our Emergency Management Planning Toolkit or Guide go to:

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