The main purpose of having an emergency plan in place is to help minimise the disruption caused when an incident occurs on your site. An emergency plan can also help determine previously unidentified risks, for example if a flood occurs and you rely on pumps to ensure cooling of a reaction are they placed so that they won’t be affected? By being able to effectively mitigate an incident the costs to you, through the polluter pays principal can be reduced. Both tier COMAH sites are required to plan for emergencies (Schedules 2 and 4) but the benefits of creating a plan apply to any site.
When designing an emergency plan it is important to identify all the hazards on your site; the acts which could result in an incident; and the abilities, or lack therefore, of the workforce to resolve an issue. Once these have been determined a proposal can be formulated to reduce any inadequacies that are noted, such as in skills or equipment. The emergency plan can then be designed and communicated so all responsible are aware of their roles.
So you have designed your emergency plan and that’s all you need to do? Unfortunately not, in order to ensure that the emergency plan works it should be tested under various scenarios. This will allow you to recognize and resolve any failures that may be present so that in a real incident the emergency plan is implemented smoothly. The best method of testing an emergency plan is with the use of exercises as this will help those responsible to become familiar and confident with their roles. Thorough testing will ensure people know what they are doing and all of your options and challenges you may face have been thought through. You may want to involve partner organisations or the fire and rescue services in your scenarios to make them as life-like as possible.
We can help you ensure compliance with the British Standard for business continuity (BS25999) and also work to best practice in emergency planning. For full details see our Emergency Planning & Business Continuity page.
The NCEC is regularly involved in helping the UK’s Fire and Rescue Services plan exercises, both as practical and table top assignments. We are able to design realistic site specific exercises for you to help test your emergency plan. This can be either single exercises or a suite covering the different hazards present and the incidents which could occur, for example fire, flood or spillage. NCEC can also organise for attendance of local Fire and Rescue services or other bodies if appropriate.
Once we have provided you with a real-life exercise which fully tests your plan we can help you run the exercise, monitoring it and debrief the key personnel. This can include arrangement of the incident area, observing your emergency response team and a review of the effectiveness of your emergency plan. We can also organise for the local Fire and Rescue services or other third parties to attend to make it as realistic as possible.
Assistance with preparing your on-site major accident prevention policy and emergency plan
For further information or to find out how NCEC can help you please contact us or call us on +44 (0) 1235 753654.
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