An incident Action plan is an organized set of activities, which are prepared in advance with the aim of responding to any emergency that will occur in case of an accident, fire or a hazard to endanger human beings or property (Zoe, 2007). It contains the strategies and ways in which a hazard will be controlled by the commanding officer.
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Having an incident plan is always a sure way of controlling accidents and hazards that are prone to occur in the life of human beings as it is said say that, prevention is better than cure. An incident control plan is one of the best ways to avoid an incident (Krieger & Sullivan, 2001).
The following is an incident Action Plan on how to deal with emergencies in the place of employment, a banking hall in the seventh floor of a building in the town centre. There are three hazards which are likely to affect any building or they are likely to occur.
The first thing to have in an incident plan is the objectives, which in other words refers to the purpose of the incident strategies and what they are intended to help. In the case of a banking hall, the incident plan will have the following goals to prevent the customers from fire. To have an easy evacuation points in case of fire. To have emergency exits to be used in case of a hazard or a bomb. To have emergency exits in case a customer faints or falls ill in the banking hall.
To protect the property and filing systems from fire, to handle cases of fire in the shortest period possible before it spreads to other buildings. To develop proper and sober objectives there should be proper risk assessment. Risk assessment is the process in which the drafter of the incident action plan determines how a particular incident can affect a particular property or people within a given place or location if a certain occurrence was to happen.
The risk assessor has to take into consideration the kind of activities, which happen in a particular place, and how those activities can affect those who are in that environment. For instance, in a factory workshop where oil and flammable materials are used to paint certain products, the risk of fire is higher than in the banking hall. This assessment goes a long way in ensuring that proper work is done to prevent the people or property from a likely hazardous incident.
There are three tasks, which are hazardous, and if they are not performed with care, there is a possibility of having hazards with great consequences. The first activity is that of oil changing. Whenever there is petroleum oil or products, extra care should be taken because this oil is hazardous to both the property and human beings around.
Oil spills should be prevented by ensuring that one has a container or polythene to tap the spilling oil. In case the oil is spilt on the soil, the soil should be disposed to a place where there is no likelihood of fire or simply put away from human settlements (Krieger & Sullivan, 2001).
The other occupation, which should be considered during risk assessment, is that of painting. Though the work does not sound risky, it is a likely source of hazardous incidents. This is because paints are made of inflammable substances and these substances are likely to catch fire if exposed to sunlight or air. To avoid this hazard extra care should be taken when using paints by ensuring that all containers are covered when using them. The paint should not be left exposed to the air.
The third occupation for consideration when doing risk assessment is that involving clinical wastes. In other words clinics, health centers and hospitals all discharge clinical waste, which is very hazardous and poisonous to human beings. A professional knows that when handling such waste gloves are worn because the waste can affect the skin.
Once you are through with the risk assessment the next step in preparing an incident action plan for the banking hall is to come up with preventive mechanisms for the incidents, which are likely to occur. The first one is that of congestion, which may result in people fainting as they wait in the long ques.
To avoid this, proper cooling systems to maintain a room temperature, comfort and avoidance of people fainting, the hall should be well ventilated to accommodate as much fresh air as possible. If this is not possible then there should be a cooler or a fan to provide adequate air in the hall, which will certainly prevent hazards.
There should also be a first aid kit to assist in case there is anyone fainting. There should be proper passageways to allow movement of trolleys and people. There should be wide path allowing mass movement of people from the building in case of fire (Keunruther & Lagadec, 1991).
To deal with fire in a banking hall there should be information on the walls indicating what to do in case of fire and a minimum of four fire extinguishers. However, the emergency exit points should be clearly marked and in the event that fire occurs, the people should be in a position to identify such points with ease.
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There should also be an alarm system, which should be well located in a place where people can easily access it so that they can alert others within and outside the building. There should also be the emergency numbers of the departments concerned with the emergency responses of fire. The incident action plan should also include the preventive measures, which are both long term and short term.
The above measures are short term but long-term plans involve ensuring that there is no entry of flammable materials in the bank. Moreover, in case there are renovations or activities such as painting, the paints should not be exposed to the air. The other incident is that of electricity where care should be taken when dealing with electricity repairs and the company should have a policy that only professional electrician should be allowed to do such repairs.
However, hazards continue to occur because incident commanders at times make certain mistakes, which could be prevented rather than cured. The following is an examination of such mistakes and the first mistake that incident commanders do, is failing to plan.
Most of the incident managers do not have an action plan on how to deal with emergencies and they hope that emergencies will never occur. As the saying goes that failure to plan is planning to fail, incident manager who do not plan are planning to fail when an emergency occurs resulting to casualties.
The second mistake, which incident managers make, is to fail to take charge of the incident. This means that most of the incident managers are unavailable and therefore do not take notice of likely hazard causing factors. When they are not controlled in advance, they result in hazardous incidences. Other managers assume that some of the incidences like oil spills do not warrant their attention. This leaves a door for such incidences to birth accidents in various places.
The third mistake by incident managers is to fail to understand the nature of the incident. Without understanding of the incident and its occurrence is hazardous where the manager is not likely to move into action to prevent that incident from bringing a disaster. The ability to classify incidents and tasks on whether they are risky is an important role that the incident manager should play.
The nature of an accident should be classified as an incident or an emergency. It is vital for the incident manager to have an insight on how to handle incidents of any class. This is because classifying an incident gives the commandant a chance to solve it in the best way possible. Incident regulators who want to succeed must have the capability to classify the incidents (Waft, 2007).
Incident managers also tend to base their responses on emotions rather than facts. This is a common failure among incident managers whereby when faced by an emergency they panic and fear thus losing control of the situation. This means that they are not able to assess the situation first to see the extent of its damage but instead they react quickly on how to prevent it without assessing it.
This has caused a great number of casualties because; incident managers have found themselves first extinguishing fire without first evacuating people from the building. Excellent managers deal with facts first before they respond because feelings at such times cannot be relied upon.
The fifth mistake which incident managers are prone to do is to fail to expect changes. It is not only failure to expect changes but also failure to see changes that can be hazardous in this case. Evacuation managers should keep themselves abreast with the latest developments within their locations, which are likely to affect their operations.
They should also anticipate changes, which are going to be a threat to their places of work. Activities such as repairs should be anticipated and be monitored by the incident managers to ensure that they adhere to the right standards. Being aloof and unable to monitor changes such as room painting, a renovated house, and so on will make the incident manager fail (Berman, 2001).
The other mistake, which the incident managers make, is failing to come up with proper communication mechanisms. When we refer to communication, it is simply having a strategy on how to inform people involved in a particular task and how that task could have a negative effect if it is mishandled.
For instance, the incident manager should inform painters of a particular building to cover their containers because open paint is flammable and can cause fire if it is taken lightly. Due to lack of this kind of communication, the incident manager will certainly be failing in a very important responsibility (Reis, 2006).
The ultimate mark of a leader is the ability to take responsibility. Shifting blame and accusing others is a major reason why incidents continue to occur. Competent incident managers take responsibility when they agree that they were wrong and use their mistakes as a learning experience. They always ensure that they are learning and accept feedback. Those who do not accept feedback probably due to fear of critics perform dismally and they are always in a rush to assist victims.
In conclusion, a proper mechanism on how to handle emergencies is vital in the modern world because proper planning will considerably reduce casualties and cases of emergency. This can only be done by having an efficient Incident Action Plan, which will be of great help in Emergency response. Companies that want to be well prepared to handle any emergency must have a competent incidence manager.
Berman, J. (2001). The healthy home handbook: Eco-friendly design. London: Frances Lingo.
Krieger, G. & Sullivan, J. (2001). Clinical environmental health and toxic exposures. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Keunruther, H. & Lagadec, P. (1991). Managing risk and hazardous waste. Mexico: Wharton Publishers.
Reis, P. (2006). Understanding health care facility safety. Illinois: Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
Waft, N. (2007). Safety in the use of chemicals at the workplace, in chemical safety. Germany: Richardson.
Zoe, A. (2007). Incident action plan. Philadelphia: Xlibris Corporation.