Elements of an Effective Emergency Response

May 13, 2009

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In the event of a public health emergency such as the recent pandemic flu, the facility manager must act as an enabler of the quickest and most effective response to prevent endangering the lives of building tenants. The facility manager should encourage stakeholder involvement in the creation of an emergency preparedness plan that encompasses a comprehensive response – from early prevention and threat detection, effective communication, execution, and recovery actions.

The emergency plan will ensure business continuity because integrated in the plan are the key elements that involve people, resources and functions that should all fall into place in the event of a public health crisis. Because of the high stakes involved in the pandemic flu and similar public health emergencies, the facility manager should strive to setup the key elements below as part of the facility’s emergency preparedness and response plan:

• Clear communication lines to facilitate crisis prevention, early detection and mitigation;

• Identification of key emergency service providers that can be contacted before, during and after a public health emergency, such as medical providers, police and ambulance services, among others;

• Identification of mission-critical operations, and the key people to maintain them, during crisis time;

• Activation of clear operating procedures during crisis scenario or when there is imminent disruption of important business activities, supplies and resources;

• Organization of a command or administrative center that will support the logistical requirements during crisis, such as utilities, resource inventory, medical support, food and transportation, among others.

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