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How to create an emergency plan

video outlining the stages of developing an emergency plan.
So, let’s look at the issues around preparing an emergency plan. What we’re going to do in this section is look at what is involved in preparing an effective emergency plan. The UK Cabinet Office provides a very useful and excellent guide to developing a plan which can be used as a template. The starting point is always defining the scope of the plan, what it is intended to achieve, who owns it, and setting the objectives. All emergency plans are unique in nature and although they have a common template, the content will be specific to that particular organisation. A key part of the emergency planning process is risk assessment and understanding the likelihood and consequences of threats.
When you have a clear understanding of these issues, you’re ready to prepare the plan. The plan should define the response structure explaining the relationship between the different teams involved. It should also define the specific responsibilities of those teams and the actions they should be taking during an emergency. In most organisations, emergencies are very low probability events so a good plan will also provide guidance and support to the response teams to help them understand what they need to do. Although a plan may be prescriptive, it must also be flexible as all emergencies are different in nature and will vary from organisation to organisation.
And finally, an emergency plan is a living document and for it to be fit for purpose, it must be reviewed and amended on a regular basis to meet changing circumstances of the organisation.

Find out how to create an effective emergency plan.

In this video, Michael Gilbert talks you through the stages involved in creating an effective emergency plan.

These include:

  • Carrying out a risk assessment;
  • Setting the scope and objectives;
  • Defining the key elements of the plan including roles and responsibilities; and
  • Implementing the plan.

As we have discussed, all emergency plans are unique in that they are specific to the organisation and the threats it faces.

All plans should be flexible, as it is not possible to fully define all scenarios. Expect the unexpected.

Emergency plans should give the responders the necessary direction, guidance and support but also an appropriate degree of freedom of operation.

Your task

What information would you need from an organisation to carry out these stages?


Cabinet Office (2011) ‘Chapter 5 Emergency Planning revision to Emergency Preparedness’ [online] available from attachment_data/file/61028/Emergency_Preparedness_chapter5_amends_21112011.pdf [11 May 2018]

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Emergency Planning and Preparedness: An Introduction

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