19. Feb 2021

Preparation in theory and practice is essential!

Emergency – Emergency preparedness and response – Emergency response capability → protects human lives!

The probability of being directly affected by an act of terrorism, an attack or other violent crime is extremely low. However, it is nevertheless possible and can happen at any time.

No matter how good emergency plans are in theory, the decisive factor is the extent to which the people affected are able to implement it in practice.

In particular, the two Standards ISO 45001 (Occupational Health and Safety) and ISO 22301 (Prevention of business disruption) intensively deal with emergency situations and preparing for them in order to prevent damage by taking preventive actions, or to minimize the impact after a potential emergency situation has occurred.

People often refer to emergency preparedness plans and act according to them. The crucial aspect of any emergency preparedness plan is that the people affected should not only be aware of the plan, but should know how to apply the specified preventive actions.

Know how: Better prepared with emergency planning

In ISO 45001 and ISO 22301, the consultation of the people who may be affected is essential, which in operational practice is the key to success of actions. On the one hand, people should be able to contribute their practical expertise by participating in the preparation of plans. At the same time, by understanding the content of emergency preparedness plans, the persons affected are able to absorb, comprehend and apply the most important information on how to behave. On the other hand, practical exercise of the hypothetical emergency scenarios serves to identify weaknesses and, simultaneously, to improve the emergency response capability of the persons affected.

Emergencies or crisis events almost never occur as they are developed in theory (even with the best intention). However, by actively exercising emergency response actions, the people concerned become more and more familiar with the topic and therefore have the chance to respond in the best possible way according to the actual conditions if an event occurs.

Best response by practicing exercise scenarios

In order to respond appropriately to extreme emergency events such as terrorist attacks, an exercise scenario for an attack by a potential threat could look like the following:

Building a team to work out the actions according to the emergency plan together with decision-makers

  • Work out together the potential scenarios (What can happen?)
  • Scope – To whom do the scenarios and actions apply?
  • Personal behavior in the event of danger from terror, amok, attack
  • Actions to be taken in preparation for an event
    • “We don‘t need a hero”
    • Avoid panic
    • Get an overview of the overall situation
    • Leave the danger zone as fast as possible
    • Seek shelter – hide yourself
    • Defend
    • Emergency call

After the event

  • Derive the actions which can be implemented immediately to prevent hazards
  • Practice an exercise under technical supervision (observation) of an expert (possibly from an emergency organization)
  • Discuss the exercise and determine the potentials for improvement

Practicing an exercise scenario requires only little effort, but it can have a very positive effect on the mood of unsure persons and provide security in case of emergency.

The Standards ISO 45001 and ISO 2301 both contain useful approaches in their requirements. Based on these, a system for practical emergency preparedness and response can be established very well.



Mr. Eckehard Bauer, MSc

Executive Vice President Business Development Safety Management, Business Continuity, Risk, Security, Compliance and Transport

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