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24/7 Software Blog

Ready to Revamp Your Emergency Management Plan?

by 24/7 Software / December 22, 2016

When is the last time you took a close look at your emergency management plan (EMP)?

It’s probably been a while, right? But, you know you need to be on top of it – especially with 2017 rolling in quickly.

Your EMP defines how your team responds in critical situations. From adverse weather to bomb threats, everything is outlined in your plan.

The plan in a binder, on a shelf, in the back of your office…

Far from anyone that would need it.

Sound familiar?

You’re probably not using half of the protocols either, are you? Even worse, your team is “winging it” when incidents happen.

Let’s be honest. This practice doesn’t work.

It’s not effective, and it’s a dangerous way to run your operation. It puts your people, property, and guests at risk.

You’re probably still using pen and paper too. This practice also needs to change. 

21st century here you come!

Keep reading; we’re going to get your emergency management plan set for 2017.

First, you need an incident management system in 2017. Then, we’re going to show you how to revamp your EMP – and actually use it.

Are you ready? Let’s not waste any more time.

You Were Missing an Incident Management System in 2016

Your emergency management plan contains the breakdown for all your protocols to handle issues and incidents at your venue.

You’d probably like to have this information communicated effectively to your staff when they need it most, right?

Giving your staff the ability to communicate effectively and efficiently is the ultimate goal.

Now, in order to gain real-time data and have communication throughout all your departments, you must put an incident management infrastructure in place.

Real-time communication is the only way to receive real-time data. It’s vital in an emergency.

An incident management system is what gives you essential information. Supplementing it with mobile hand-held apps will help your command center broadcast protocols to handle – when they need to be – and how you need them to be handled.

Your front-line staff can report incidents in seconds directly into your incident management system.

What’s the best part?

The system isn’t purely capturing the incident. It captures all of the actions associated with that incident and communicates proper protocols to your emergency response teams.

Frequent incidents pose a challenge in operations. Emergencies cannot, because there’s absolutely no room for error. Your incident management infrastructure is imperative!

Consider this: severe weather is approaching.

Lightning is showing on the radar 16 miles out. You need to communicate to all your departments immediately.

Timing is everything when it comes to the safety of your patrons. With enhanced communication, you’ll be able to quickly let your staff know it’s time to execute the adverse weather protocols.

Have the rules ready for your employees, because no one has time to first scan through a large binder.

Does your operation have protocols in place for adverse weather conditions? If not, this will help.

Adverse Weather Conditions: Required Protocols for Any Emergency Management Plan

Event / Game Day

  1. Upon determining that weather conditions threaten the safety of patrons and participants at an event, your Command Post operator will contact the Manager on Duty and/or the Incident Management Team and the Event Promoters (if time permits) to advise accordingly.
  2. The Command Post will advise the police department and event security to prepare to assist patrons to move under shelter or to evacuate.

Shelter

  1. A public announcement will inform the patrons of the threatening situation and their option to leave the venue.
  2. Patrons will be advised of safe areas to seek shelter in the venue should such areas be available.

Evacuation Order

A public announcement will notify patrons that a report of pending weather problems requires the event be canceled.

  1. Upon notice of evacuation, all security, ushers, maintenance, police, and fire rescue personnel shall go to their assigned evacuation posts.
  2. All food and merchandise vendors shall close their stands, secure their inventory and lock their cash drawers. Upon stand closure, all vendors shall exit the venue to a particular location and assemble for headcount.

Gates

  1. Proceed to assigned gates as if the event were about to end, and open the gates. If a gate key is not available, one can be obtained from the event staff supervisor.
  2. Ensure that all gates are open. All turnstiles should be closed.
  3. Direct patrons out of the venue and make sure that patrons do not re-enter the venue.

Concourses

  1. Position themselves near each exit from the seating areas as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing patrons out of the venue to the closest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Upon being relieved, reassemble with a supervisor at a particular location for headcount. Attendance will be taken.

Ramps & Elevators

  1. Position themselves at each exit to the ramps as if the event were about to end, and assist in directing patrons out of the venue as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Calmly advise exiting patrons that the escalators will not be working during an evacuation. The ramps must be used.

Seating Areas

  1. Respond to the front of your section as if the event has ended.
  2. Direct patrons out of their seating area toward the nearest exit as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  3. Assist the handicapped.
  4. Advise any disabled in your area that in the case of an evacuation; the elevators will not be in service.

Field Staff

  1. Assist the police department with escorting officials from the field.
  2. Secure all playing field entrances to the ground level tunnel.
  3. Ensure that no one is allowed to re-enter the playing field except authorized personnel.
  4. Upon all staff and officials exiting the venue and being relieved, reassemble with your supervisor for headcount.

Parking

  1. Parking operations should prepare to open all exit gates as if the event has ended.
  2. Parking operations should stand by for directives from the command post concerning blocking off the gate(s) and sections of the venue perimeter road for use by emergency vehicles.
  3. Upon all spectator vehicles leaving the venue, parking operations will reassemble with supervisors for headcount.

How impressed will your patrons be when you execute these protocols in a professional, seamless manner? They’ll feel safe and secure during the entire process.

Where adverse weather conditions are present, so are puddles and wet spots.

Use your incident management system to implement adverse weather protocols, so your patrons are safe.

Staff Training Coupled With Incident Management Are Key

It’s important for you to get your emergency management strategy into motion with a well-trained and high performing team, to be ready for anything.

You've got new and returning staff, right?

Position yourself as a credible leader by setting your team up for success.

Help them develop the know-how to mitigate incidents like adverse weather and bomb threats that might occur at your venue.

Integrate role-playing techniques into your training process as well.

Create a role-playing process for returning, new and temporary staff to bring together relevant policies and procedures from your emergency management strategy into tabletop scenarios where staff can learn what you need them to do.

Even better, how you need them to do it!

Ask questions.

  • Do you have the awareness needed to identify potential hazards?
  • What if a suspicious person or package appeared at your venue? How does your team handle this?
  • Does your team have the training and ability to handle a bomb threat professionally and in a way that your patrons don’t feel the effects?

In the end, you want to deliver an exceptional customer experience!

Do you have bomb threat protocols put in place at your venue?

We've put protocols together for you. Whether you have an existing plan in place or are starting from scratch, we encourage you to use these to gauge where your operation measures up.

You need to practice the steps with your staff so that everyone’s prepared to deliver a safe and secure experience for patrons.

Bomb Threat Protocols for Proactive Operations

  1. All bomb threats received at your venue must be reported immediately to the command post and venue If the bomb threat is received during an event, the command post will inform the Manager on Duty and/or the Incident Management Team, and the Command Officers from the police department and fire rescue.
    1. If a bomb threat is phoned in, the recipient of the threat must keep possession of a bomb threat information sheet until it is given to the appropriate official.
    2. If the bomb threat is received in written format, all materials (envelope, box, etc.) received along with the threat must be maintained and turned over to the appropriate official.
    3. If the bomb threat is personally reported by an individual, officials will be requested to the location of the reporting person.
  2. All information known about the bomb threat will be reviewed by commanders from the police department and fire rescue, in conjunction with the Manager on Duty and/or members of the Incident Management Team.
  3. The decision to conduct a full or partial evacuation of the entire venue will be a collaborative effort by the members of the police department, fire rescue, and the Incident Management Team.

Effective Search Procedures

  1. If approved, venue personnel who are familiar with the area(s) of search should be utilized to search designated area(s).
  2. Rooms and enclosed area searches should be made with two person search teams who divide the area into search zones by both height and floor area.
  3. Search teams should look for unusual objects, a package similar to one that might have been described in the conversation with the telephone caller; or a package whose origin is questionable and/or suspicious in nature. Do not touch or disturb such objects.
  4. Upon completion of the search of each area, the Command Post should be notified who will note the end of each zone's search.

Over to You

We’ve noticed a lot of proactive leaders addressing their emergency management plan this time of year. With 2017 approaching, it’s a critical aspect of your operation to review and scrutinize.

We’ve laid out a plethora of useful strategies to use, but you have to implement them and hold your team accountable.

So, are you ready to revamp your EMP for the upcoming year?

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