Contingency Planning, Business Risk Assessment and Emergency Procedures for Texas
What is a Contingency Plan?
A contingency plan is a plan devised for a specific situation when things could go wrong. Contingency plans are often devised by governments, business organizations and schools who want to be prepared for anything that could happen.
Why would my Company need one, and what is the benefit of having one?
Think this doesn’t apply to your Company? Think again.
The process of contingency planning can get an entire organization optimistically thinking about the importance of numerous business practices, procedures, policies and safety measures.
Do you remember when the Y2K hysteria underscored the urgency for contingency planning? The worldwide WORRY of, what is going to happen? What will everyone do about food, water, electricity? What if I can’t get into my bank account? How will I get to my children? What if transportation goes hay-wire? What will happen if we lose all of our inventory data? What if safety devices fail? What do we do if we have a hazardous spill?
Today, most quality driven and safety minded organizations will have a contingency plan and contingency planning process. Why, you ask? Bottom line! A contingency plan can reduce or completely alter various business risks, property damage, transportation emergencies and possibly even save lives during a worst case scenario.
A contingency plan should be attainable by all employees, provide detailed procedures on how to initiate emergency response personnel including contact information, prepare for worst case scenarios, provide steps and chain of events to limit down time, evacuation and hazard awareness, personal safety and first aid locations, mechanical shut off valve(s), safe zone location and maps, containment and mitigation procedures, accountability procedures before, during and after.
In preparing a contingency plan, notification, access or ability to obtain important or critical data, staff and response personnel arrangements need to be addressed and in place. The following is an example of emergency responders and other vital personnel that may be required to fulfill your contingency plan.
• Fire Department
• Police Department
• Medical Transport
• Environmental Hazmat Responders
• Insurance Agent
• Mass Transportation
• Health Department
• Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
• Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)
• Company Department Heads/Assigned Safety (to cover each area or department)
• Onsite Security & Medical personnel (If applicable)
Creating a company contingency plan will be time consuming and pull numerous resources. However, the end results will be worth it with the knowledgeable and prepared personnel.
Tips in starting a contingency plan.
• Decide who the lead for contingency planning is. (Usually Quality Assurance Quality Control, Health & Safety and Risk Management departments are best suited to fill this role.
• A contingency plan is a Federal, State or Local requirement for many Companies. It is a good idea to research and document your industry requirements for guidance while drafting your plans.
• Figure out and list all areas to be addressed by your contingency plan.
• Provide the list to each department it applies to, to review and communicate what is important and critical in each department, any policies or procedures already in place, issues and wareness, as well as prevention plans.
Test Your Contingency Plan
It is very important to test your contingency plan to check for critical errors and flaws. The idea for testing your contingency plan is to catch and repair errors before they happen in the critical time. Each department should test another departments plan. This will be truly beneficial in testing all areas and provide a better insight for any questions, additions or corrections that need to be addressed.
Make sure to contact all emergency response personnel and test for accurate contact information, data, and accessibility. (Announce that this is a test and not a live response request)
Final draft and completion
Once you’ve completed testing and making any adjustments, provide a final draft to all parties involved for final proofing, editing and comments. Save as a hard copy and an electronic copy. One or more copies should be available in each department and accessible to all employees at all times.
Check out further assistance on contingency planning or on the requirements specific to your company and industry.