The Australian Standards AS 3745 is an important document to use for emergency preparation in your operations. Whether you have a single facility or multiple locations an emergency preparedness plan is an essential step to keep your operation and people safe.
As part of your emergency planning process you should establish an emergency planning committee (EPC). This group of individuals will set up guidelines and procedures that are specific for your operation while also adhering to the Australian Standards guidelines.
The process for putting together an emergency planning committee should initially review the responsibilities for the committee. These tasks include:
- Review and confirm that any legislative requirements are achieved
- Establish a clear communications process with all facility personnel
- Evaluate the types of emergencies and how they should be handled
- Analyse lease stipulations or obligations regarding emergencies
- Allocate appropriate resources including financial requirements, equipment needs, time and personnel
- Determine if more than one committee is needed for a group of facilities – particularly if the locations are in different states or territories
- For more detailed information on committee responsibilities refer to this blog post.
Appointing People to the EPC
Persons who should be a part of your committee may vary depending on your particular situation and requirements. Consider these requirements for staffing your emergency planning committee:
- A minimum of two people should be on the committee
- One member should be someone from senior management or in a primary leadership role
- One member should be familiar with the facility and its operations. This person could be in a maintenance or engineering role – or someone with operational skills
- If available it would be ideal to also have a member who has a disability and can provide input on the emergency plan. This person could be an occupant or someone on staff at the location
Meetings and topics
EPC meetings should be conducted at least once a year. Records of all meetings should be created that cover the topics discussed and any follow up items on the agenda. Meetings can include a review of the budget, equipment issues, legal or indemnity issues, change requests or other items.
It is best to have a knowledgeable partner that can assist you in creating your emergency planning committee. This partner should be well versed in current regulations and also be able to coordinate and address any needs as they occur.
Ultimately your emergency planning committee should have established clear guidelines on emergency procedures, communicated those guidelines to all responsible parties, and be prepared to assist in the event of any emergency.