Developing Written Emergency Plans

Does your organization have formalized and written plans to adequately address an emergency situation?  Is everyone prepared?  A crisis like a fire, terrorism or natural disaster can occur with little or no warning.  Organizations of all types need to have written and organized plans to prepare them to survive a disaster, limit financial losses and avoid business interruption.

The worst time to think about emergency preparedness is after an emergency situation occurs.  All too often, safety committees convene within business occupancies after a problem has already happened.  Unfortunately, high profile disasters are often the catalyst for change.  Codes and ordinances are typically adopted after tragedy strikes to help a society avoid making the same mistakes over and over.  Safe practices and common sense dictates that an organization should not wait until a crisis adversely affects a business operation before emergency preparedness is considered.

Written emergency plans depend on the size of the organization.  Obviously, the larger the organization, the more elaborate the plans must be.  It is important that smaller organizations consider the creation of emergency plans, as well.

The primary element of a good emergency plan or procedure is that it be well written and easy to understand.  A recipe-type format is ideal for most procedures.  A description of the problem, what to do and how to do it is essentially the formula to use.  It is recommended that emergency plans be created for the following emergency situations:

  • Fire Alarm Activation (No smoke or fire present in building.)
  • Fire (Smoke or flames in building.)
  • Severe Weather Conditions (Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Floods, etc.)
  • Civil Disturbance, Terrorism or National Emergency
  • Natural Disasters (Earthquake, Wildland Fire, etc.)
  • Evacuation and Relocation
  • Take Cover (Potential Building Collapse, Fall-out, Hazardous Atmosphere, etc.)

Occupants of a building, especially employees, need to know what to do during a potentially dangerous situation.  Life-safety can only be reasonably assured during a crisis if a plan of action is in place and practiced on a regular basis.  In today’s modern and uncertain times, nothing can be left to chance.  It is essential that your plans be designed to protect your organization and its most important component, the “people” that work there and utilize and visit the establishment.  Being prepared is essential to continuity of operations and survival.

For more information on developing a written emergency plan, contact your Gallagher Bassett Loss Control Consultant or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) website at 

The information contained in this report was obtained from sources which to the best of the writer’s knowledge are authentic and reliable.  Gallagher Bassett Services, Inc. makes no guarantee of results, and assumes no liability in connection with either the information herein contained, or the safety suggestions herein made.  Moreover, it cannot be assumed that every acceptable safety procedure is contained herein or that abnormal or unusual circumstances may not warrant or require further or additional procedures.