All industrial facilities should have an emergency response plan. Here are ten tips for establishing and implementing an emergency response plan.

1. Establish a well-defined Emergency Response Plan (ERP)

* Check ERP to ensure compliance with regulations and standards

* Involve various plant disciplines in the ERP such as operations, management, medical, industrial, hygiene, safety, environmental

* Take recommendations for improvements from various plant sectors

2. Ensure the company personnel are familiarized and trained to carry out the ERP

* Perform fire drills and run simulated release scenarios

3. Update the ERP in response to changes in operations, state and federal regulations, etc.

4. Coordinate and plan post-incident investigation

* Evaluate system policies and the effects of spoliation issues

* Review electronic security and policies

* Appropriate use of attorney-client privilege

5. Stress importance of proper report-writing technique

* All observations and conclusions should be factual

* Committee opinions and beliefs based on circumstantial evidence should not be stated

* Recommendations should be limited to those which have a direct bearing on the incident in question

* All documents and emails are most likely discoverable and may be used in court

6. Update management on facility maintenance and operational safety procedures

* Train employees on writing reports and keeping accurate files

* Install professional systems and a safety audit

7. Establish accurate procedures for communication with state
and federal authorities

* Review calculations and reporting procedure – Peer review system

* Library of materials for calculations

* Emphasize wording and language of report

* Train personnel on importance of accurate documentation

8. Establish effective and accurate lines of communication with community

* Identify and train spokespeople

* Establish lines of communication with security personnel

* Review community alert systems and warning system for neighboring plants

* Retain media consultant

9. Mitigate severe health consequences immediately

* Have an on-site toxicologist / industrial hygienist

* Review and audit MSDS’s

* Train emergency responders and update plant medical personnel

10. Install chemical monitoring equipment; map and trace hazardous concentration of released chemicals

* Pre-mapped demographic information of surrounding area

* Procedure for obtaining meteorological data

* Pre-established monitoring points correlated to meteorological data

* Plan for necessary monitoring equipment/acquisition of data