Development of an Emergency Response Plan

The failures in preparing for and responding to hurricane Katrina serve as an example of why we all need an emergency response plan. In the months and years ahead as we review what went wrong with emergency management when Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the common theme that will likely emerge is that too many individuals, organizations and political jurisdictions were dependant upon others to care for them in the face of disaster. Whether it was housing, food, communications, medical care, safety or all of the above, the ability to provide it was impaired by a lack of planning on every level. Above all else, reliance upon government is at best the default position when it comes to providing immediate relief, and each individual and organization, recognizing its own unique survival needs, must shoulder the responsibility for providing that relief.

First and foremost in emergency response planning has to be providing for individual safety and security. Whether the threat is from flood waters or rioters, the response plan needs to anticipate the nature of any reasonable threat to life and property, how to protect against it and how to survive it if it must be faced without outside assistance. For a business or public organization, this means anticipating the personal needs of employees and the business or operational needs of the company, institution or agency. Recognizing that public services may be curtailed or totally shut down, communications, transportation, and utilities may need to be provided for. As police, fire and heath service may become temporarily unavailable, as was the case in New Orleans, consideration of how the loss of any of those services will affect you and how you might respond to it will need to become part of your emergency response plan.

FRAC can assist in analyzing the reasonably foreseeable risks faced in an emergency and help develop a plan to protect people, property and continuity of service until more normal conditions return. The absence of a well prepared emergency response plan is likely to add chaos and disruption to the other issues that need to be resolved in managing your part of a wider disaster, and FRAC can help in facing and resolving those issues in advance.