APPENDIX D: The Elements of an Emergency Procedure Plan

The essence of a plan to handle emergencies is summarized in the acronym "NEAR": N otify, E vacuate, A ssemble, R eport

Establish who notifies whom. Usually of course "who notifies" is a person involved in or witnessing the incident. Depending upon the severity and complexity of the incident, that person may or may not be able to evaluate and wisely determine the actions next to be taken. For example, even for a small fire, persons closest to the scene may inadvertently choose an inappropriate means to extinguish the flames and thereby intensify the consequences.

Although at first it may seem foolish to notify someone else instead of acting immediately to control events, it is often wiser to notify instead of acting directly. Obviously, the person to be notified should be known to be capable of making proper, and prompt, decisions.

Evacuation may or may not be in order; the decision should be made by the person who is notified.

Evacuees should assemble at a pre-established location and report their arrival to a prior named person or to his or her prior named alternate. It is important to be certain that persons are or are not missing. Note particularly that it may be unwise to too quickly conclude on the basis of incomplete information that persons are not present at the assembly point and are, therefore, trapped within the incident area.

This brief discussion emphasizes the obvious: The best Emergency Procedure Plan requires detailed planning by management as well as employee training in advance of an accident, with not infrequent drills to make sure that those involved will act prudently and promptly should an accident occur.