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Emergency Planning

Prepared to respond to a major accident situation


Whilst the aim of safety management is to prevent accidents and incidents, there are a few occasions when the safeguards in place are overwhelmed by the scale or speed of development of a major accident. An effective emergency plan is the last line of defence during a major accident. The evidence from many sources is that most organisations without a well-structured emergency response plan may never recover from a major accident. Emergency response plans are now required by regulators in many cases.


What is Emergency Planning?

Emergency planning is carried out by two bodies, the operating company whose site may suffer an incident, and the local or state authorities who may have to deal with offsite impacts and provision of emergency services. The on-site emergency plan typically establishes procedures for dealing with emergency situations involving loss of containment of hazardous material. The offsite emergency plan gives detail of personnel responsible for particular activities in support of emergency action. The emergency plans should be simple and straightforward, to a defined layout to prevent confusion, and they need to be flexible and achieve necessary compliance with legislative requirements. Effective emergency response plans are based on the identified risks, they are understood by all, and they are rehearsed and improved by feedback from drills.

Your Benefits
An emergency plan is required by most regulators, and has to be put in place by the operator prior to permission to start-up a unit.

A well thought out and tested emergency response plan means that you are fully prepared for the most serious hazard situations. While some disruption is inevitable, a tested plan means that the consequences can be minimized and you maximize the opportunity for rapid recovery.


Bureau Veritas has a very wide experience in emergency planning in the USA and South America, European Union, Australia and New Zealand, and the Middle East. The company operates a Technical Centre operation to support its operations in 140 countries, so that emergency plan development can be carried out by people who understand the business climate, legislation, and culture of people in the countries concerned.


  • What is meant by a “hierarchy of protection”?

    The fundamental aim behind emergency management is to safeguard people from immediate and chronic effects to their lives. A secondary but essential aim is also to protect the environment. Whilst survival of the plant may be an important business priority, it comes lower in importance than the other two.

  • Emergency simulation exercises are stressful. Are there any downsides?

    Yes. Emergency simulations can be highly stressful due the “information overload” which often occurs. Incident controllers need to be experienced, but above-all they need to be medically fit.


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