The Most Valuable Asset in a Workplace Emergency

What’s the most important component of any emergency plan, that one crucial factor that would sometimes spell the difference between life and death in a crisis situation? Some people may point at emergency equipment, while others would say that proper warning systems hold the key to any effective emergency response plan.

While both of these are vital, however, experience shows that the most crucial factor can be found within the workforce itself –- more specifically, its leaders or those individuals designated to take immediate command when an emergency situation arises.

An effective chain-of-command allows workers to take control of the emergency situation, and not just respond to it. Emergency situations can very easily escalate into total chaos unless order is maintained through an organized chain of individuals tasked and trained to be in charge of such situations. Without such a chain, employees and workers can become confused, with different individuals offering different solutions at the same time.

And at the very top of a command chain is the emergency leader, the individual who is responsible for assessing the situation, deciding on the path to take, and making choices for the rest of the people involved. A single minute of indecision on his part could lead to a full-blown disaster within seconds. In a very real sense, lives will depend on him.

To make sure that your emergency command system will work well provide training and drills and equip leaders with the internal tools to handle on emergency situations. Your command team should be ready to make quick decisions and they can only do that if they are confident about what they’re doing.

At the same time, all employees should be properly oriented and informed about the chain-of-command that will come to play when emergencies arise. They should know who to contact when they encounter an emergency situation, and they should be prepared to receive and follow orders from the person in command of emergency responses.

Sometimes, we can become so caught up in equipping our workplace with the latest and most updated safety equipment and emergency response apparatus that we may forget that the most important element of an effective emergency response are the very people involved in the emergency. Equipment is important but it is people who make them work.

Training products for Emergency Response Planning: