10 Questions to Improve Your Facility’s Emergency Preparedness

July 24, 2013

vanguard--emergency plan

In previous blog posts, we’ve discussed the importance of disaster training, one of the best investments the savvy facilities manager can make to ensure the safety of his or her operation — not to mention uninterrupted services — in the event of emergencies.

Unfortunately, emergencies are largely unexpected, unplanned and don’t follow any schedule or season. A wintry, snowy disaster can be just as harmful to the health of your facility and the people who work and do business in them, as a heat wave that can spur prolonged brownouts, raise the chances of fires and cause roads to crumble.

Extreme weather conditions really test the emergency preparedness of facilities managers, even the most well-prepared professionals. The good news: There are some basic elements and contingencies all emergency operations plans should contain, and we’ve included them in these 10 key questions:

1. Is the equipment you need to keep running in the event of an emergency safe from the elements? (If not, what are you waiting for?)

2. Do you have an up-to-date inventory of the critical systems you need to keep running?

3. Do you have a schedule in place for reviewing, revising and testing your emergency operations plan?

4. Have your shared this plan with key performers to ensure there is continuity in the event of an emergency?

5. Who are your contacts at the various utility companies, and have you made an effort to build a relationship with them? (They can be your best friends when a disaster strikes.)

6. Are your facility’s support documents stored in a safe place (and backed up)?

7. Do you have emergency supply kits that cover everything from minor emergencies to major disasters stocked and on hand?

8. Do you (along with key members of your support team) have a set of building plans on paper?

9. Whose responsibility is it to notify workers when their facility is closed, or that they should report for duty immediately?

10. Have you set aside a piece of your budget to plan for the worst?

“Separate from these 10 questions but just as critical, leaders must remember that facility staff remember what they practice in drills, not what’s written in a plan,” says William B. Copes, Vanguard Resources’ Vice President of Business Development.

“Practice, practice, practice is critical. If you don’t fail during the exercise, you aren’t really exercising the emergency operations plan.”

For more information about protecting your health care facility in extreme weather conditions, contact Vanguard Resources.