ERP’s don’t get soaked Don’t go overboard: In theory, virtually any disaster—even a meteor falling to earth and striking your workplace—could hit your facility. It's not possible to cover ever possible scenario that can happen, so don’t try. Instead, limit your emergency response plan to the most likely and most hazardous potential events. Also, since many disasters have common elements, you’ll hit the most of the important points even if a “never saw it coming” disaster does strike. Don’t write a novel: There isn’t time in an emergency to read long, drawn-out explanations. Keep sentences and paragraphs short and to the point, and language simple. Make liberal use of easy-to-read bulleted lists. Remember the old adage about a picture: Pictures (such as one of a master utility shut-off valve) can be worth a thousand words in an emergency situation, aiding understanding and saving valuable time. Create tabs: Use tabs for major categories in your plan (e.g., contact information, evacuation procedures, etc.) to make finding information quick and easy. Take care how you categorize: Some disasters have their own special characteristics that may require deviation from your “average” emergency response procedures. When addressing these issues, make sure that you don’t inadvertently hide vital information. For example, if evacuation routes would be different in the event of a flood at the facility, don’t bury the information in a flood section. Instead, put it in the evacuation section of your plan—or, ideally, in both locations. Don’t succumb to technology: While it may be tempting to keep your plans only in electronic form for easy updating, remember that during an emergency response, a power outage would not be unusual. Keeping up-to-date hard copies of your plan will ensure the information is available when technology fails. Don’t make finding your plan hard: It does no good to have your emergency response plan tucked away in a file cabinet drawer, in a locked closet, or anywhere else it may not be found. Remember that the plan will be used in a situation that is far more stressful than everyday plant operations and that speed of response may be vital—so make it really easy to get to. If your facility is large or has multiple locations, maintain several copies throughout the facility in easily accessible areas, and label the plan so that it's easily recognizable. Get the Real-World Answers You Need! Other businesses have likely had the same questions you have about emergency planning. How often must drills be run? How often must training be done? Now you can benefit from the experience and the real-life EHS management answers on emergency planning and response. Our EHS Real-Life Answers: Emergency Planning & Response is a compilation of practical and compliant replies to those frequently asked, real-life emergency planning questions.