An emergency management plan is a strategy devised to lessen the impact of probable occurrences that could jeopardize a company's capacity to function. A plan like this should contain safeguards for workers, as well as, if possible, property and facilities. It should also have provisions for determining the seriousness of an occurrence and taking steps to resolve the issue. Identifying probable emergency situations and proper solutions to each is one of the elements of emergency management planning. A business impact study can assist a company in determining the risks posed by certain events. Finally, identify and secure the resources that are required. After an emergency situation has been handled, a company can begin disaster recovery activities to address any damage and/or restore normal business operations.
The fundamental principles of emergency management are based on four phases:
- Mitigation phase - we undertake an annual hazard mitigation risk assessment to identify the dangers that we believe are the most important and on which we should concentrate our efforts in the future year.
- Preparedness phase - Our Preparedness initiatives are focused on developing and sustaining our incident command and crisis action teams.
- Response phase – The search and rescue phase of an emergency response may begin with search and rescue, but in all situations, the focus will swiftly shift to meeting the afflicted population's basic humanitarian requirements.
- Recovery phase - goal is to return the afflicted region to its original state (as it was before the incident) as quickly as possible. Recovery efforts differ from the Response phase in that they focus on challenges and decisions that must be made after immediate needs have been met.
The management challenges that arise during the response and early recovery phases are likely to vary between organizations because of the differing demands for their tasks and structure to change. Four types of organizations in a crisis situation have been identified:
- Established organizations perform the same tasks as they would under normal conditions.
- During a crisis, expanding organizations expand in size and become involved in activities that aren't part of their normal responsibilities.
- Extending organizations keep their pre-disaster organizational structure in place while taking on new disaster-related responsibilities.
- Emergent organizations are made up of private individuals who come together in the face of current or potential disasters to achieve common goals.