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Incident Action Plan

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Incident Action Plan
Jason Robins
MGT 401 Hazardous Materials Management
Dr. Jeffery Turk

Incident Action Plan You look up at the clock on the wall and begin to realize your first day as the newly appointed safety manager of a plastics company. As you look out your office window you begin to realize that’s it been snowing outside and the roads are icing over. There is a knock on your door and one of the dock workers runs into your office shouting one of the delivery vans has slid into some trailers surrounding the truck in flames causing the pellets to give off a toxic smoke. What are you going to do? What is your plan of action? The handling of incidents such as these can turn disastrous if not handled properly. The National Incident Management System Glossary defines incidents as “an occurrence, natural or manmade, that requires a response to protect life or property (FEMA, 2012). When a serious incident happens an Incident Action Plan (IAP) will mean the difference between a quick resolution, and total destruction. With city emergency services delayed with the ensuing ice storm, it will be my responsibility to develop an IAP based on the current events. We can’t always predict the next “big” disaster, but we can always plan for it. No one had any idea of the possibility of a terrorist attack on American soil, but there were concerns about terrorism and the ability to identify and deter it. In September 1999, the U.S. Commission on National Security (the Hart-Rudman Commission) predicted that “America will become increasingly vulnerable to hostile attack on our homeland, and our military superiority will not entirely protect us….States, terrorists, and other disaffected groups will acquire weapons of mass destruction and mass disruption, and some will use them. Americans will likely die on American soil, possibly in large numbers” (U.S. Commission on National Security). Hurricane Katrina was no different. Information was gathered from local emergency management practitioners, and private-sector technology implementers, with the goal of creating a “worst-case but believable event” named Hurricane Pam. Information gathered is then used to develop action plans, which are based on IAPs. Paul Gantt defined an IAP in his textbook, Hazardous Materials Regulation, Response, & Site Operations as, “…an emergency response plan that is used to identify specific hazards and operations that must be conducted in the event of an emergency response to hazardous substance.” (Gantt, 2009) IAP’s are strategic plans that when done correctly provide “the governor of an affected state, through the State Coordinating Officer (SCO); and the President, through the Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO), a way to communicate their expectations and provide clear guidance to those managing an incident” (FEMA, 2012). Plans are built on the following phases: 1. Understand the situation 2. Establish incident objectives 3. Develop the plan 4. Prepare and disseminate the plan 5. Execute, evaluate, and revise the plan.
Phase one Understanding the situation is perhaps the most important because actions done during this period can be the difference between a successfully managed incident or one that is slow to respond or not at all. Many important things are taking place during the early stages of a disaster, but efforts are usually focused on gaining a better understanding of the situation and developing incident priorities. In order to attain an understanding of the situation, you must collect, analyze and display information regarding the scale, scope, difficulty, and likely impacts. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Incident Planning Guide further points out, “Accurate situational awareness is essential throughout the life cycle of an incident. After the initial efforts to gain situational awareness, the iterative information collection process continues to inform all aspects of incident action planning” (FEMA, 2012). Initial incident objectives are then usually laid out by the local governor and or the FEMA regional administrator.

Goals:
1. To protect the facility, personnel, and other potentially hazardous material from the effects of the fire and hazard (i.e., toxic smoke) while providing optimal care to incident victims and maintaining normal operations.
2. To prevent the toxic smoke from spreading to the surrounding community
Objectives:
* Maintain safety of personnel * Maintain safety of community * Provide care to infected, exposed, or concerned personnel.
Strategies and tactics: * Activate appropriate assets in the factory to address general need for increased pull of manpower to aid in the control of the fire and containment of the potential toxic smoke (incident management team, emergency department, etc.) * Establish the operational period for response planning * Secure portals of entry into the factory and parking area to limit possible people from exposure * Post signs that contain easy-to-understand instructions for potential incident personnel to know the signs if exposed * Post security at each entrance (with personal protective equipment (PPE)) to monitor purpose of visit. * Monitor staff for signs/symptoms of exposure * Unit leader to perform check at shift change; have safety gear available to new shift members to prevent exposure. * Provide for exposure control * Distribute PPE to personnel * Provide instruction on the use of PPE * Provide decontamination of affect personnel.

Roles and Responsibilities First established in the 1970’s the Incident Command System or ICS, is simply a chain of command that gives responders an integrated organizational structure while not being delayed by jurisdictional borders. Now a national program, the National Interagency Incident Management System (NIIMS) is divided into five groups: Command, Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance and Administration. The Incident Commander or IC is the highest ranking official on scene and the one in charge. His or her main responsibilities are but not limited to: Determining immediate priorities, stabilizing the incident and determining incident objectives and strategy to achieve the objectives. The IC usually appoints a command staff which consists of an Information Officer, Safety Officer and a Liaison Officer. These officers are usually in charge of public affairs, public health and safety and any liaison activates. The IC may also decide to appoint Operations, Planning, Logistics, and Finance/Administrative staff members, who are in charge of the overall operation of the mission, developing IAPs, obtaining supplies and or facilities, and all financial, administrative, and cost analysis aspects of the incident respectively.
Health and Safety plan The CDC says the” EMS protocol for responding to potential hazardous materials incidents should consider: (1) activities to undertake en route and upon arrival at the scene; (2) guidelines for assessment, decontamination, and treatment of affected persons; and (3) patient transport to the hospital” (CDC, 2013). EMS personnel should collect as much information during transit time to the incident. A checklist usually helps out with this. All information gathered during this time should be relayed back to the predetermined resource center for information on specific care procedures. If hazardous materials are involved, first responders should gather as much information from websites, MSDS, DOT’s North American Emergency Response Guidebook as possible. This information can be used to identify possible injuries, risks of contamination, decontamination procedures and required PPE. Communication channels should also be established while in route and remain open at all times. Once communication is established, the Incident Commander will let EMS know the best avenue of approach along with probable dangers and number of injuries. Upon arrival on scene, first responders will set up a Hot Zone which will encompass the entire contaminated area. No one with enter this area and will be presumed to be contaminated if seen exiting the area. Emergency personnel will then conduct patient treatment and containment of the hazard all while making sure not to risk their own safety. Addition duties of emergency personnel may include: Safety officer, Section leader, or Public Information officer.
Communication Pipe Line The following will be the flow of information from the bottom making its way up to the top to the IC.

An Incident Communication Plan will also be made. This form will list assignments for all radio/phone communications for the Command and staff all the way down to the first responders. Primary communications will be cell phone and portable radios as backup. While we can’t always predict the next terrorist biological attack or the next oil spill, but taking the time to practice these action plans can mean the difference between a disastrous incident and a minor hassle. Performing dry runs, reviewing past AARs and planning are all great ways for commanders to sharpen their skills. Every employee should be aware of the plans and the role they play in a potential occurrence. As discussed, by looking at past disasters and incidents, companies can use those events as a guide to create an action plan to handle the potential situations should they occur. There are many different components to a plan and for the plan to be successful each part must be implemented.

References
Anonymous (2012) Federal Emergency Management Agency Incident Action Planning Guide, Retrieved from: http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/cg534/nsarc/FEMA%20Incident%
20Action%20Planning%20Guide%20(IAP).pdf
Anonymous (2013) Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Retrieved from: http://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonstats.html Anonymous (2013) United States Department of Labor, Retrieved from: http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm Gantt, P., (2009) Hazardous Materials Regulation, Response, & Site Operations, Cliffton Park, NY: Delmar.

The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century. 1999. New World Coming: American Security in the 21st Century. Washington, DC: The United States Commission on National Security/21st Century.

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