Crisis Action Plan for The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council

Introduction

The mission of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council is to reduce death and disability related to trauma, disaster, and acute illness through the implementation of well-planned and coordinated regional emergency response systems. The purpose of the following emergency plan is to give an account of the guidelines regarding emergency situations within the area of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council’s activity. The emergency plan considers natural disasters, accidents at the workplace, potential emergency events, and possible spoilage of reputation and the goodwill of the organization. The provided plan has to be immediately activated in cases when the entire organization is informed about emergency mode in the physical facility or in the event of a disaster outside the premise. The plan has followed FEMA program and Stafford Act, and its credibility can be confirmed by Emergency Preparedness and Response Division Director, Mark Montgomery. Even though the organization faces emergencies on a daily basis, the management has to be aware of the possible disasters that disrupt routine activities of the organization and pose a danger to well-being of the personnel and patients.

Critical Organizational Functions

The critical organizational functions include staff protection. The personnel of the organization should pay a particular attention to evacuation and panic prevention. The plan should be explained with the purely humanistic approach to emergency management of the company as well as legal requirements initiated by the federal government throughout FEMA system (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2011). However, cases of impossible evacuation are also considered. Thus, the emergency plan presents scenarios of actions applicable to various crisis situations. Despite the fact that all possible cases cannot be accounted for, the overall strategy will minimize the risks of deaths among the human resource and clientele of the organization. In response to the potential problems, FEMA initiated The National Prevention Framework, which involves a top-down approach to reaction to the emergency situations (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2011). In other words, all parties and stakeholders, including the federal government and average workers, should participate in the prevention and control of emergencies in terms of their areas of duty. The solution to the emergency problem is a complex phenomenon; hence it has to be based on a strong leadership.

The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council operates not only in its premise, but also provides its services in various locations. Consequently, emergency situation may occur under the different circumstances if conducted locally. Therefore, the emergency plan involves emergency equipment and means of transportation for any activity outside the organization’s premise. Moreover, hazardous materials and substances are the primary concern of the emergency plan (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2011). In addition to the standard signs of warning, the emergency plan requires the operational environment as well as actions of workers to be maximally safe when contacting hazardous elements.

The vehicles and other means of transport have to include an emergency kit. It depends on a type of transport. Since the organization provides emergency services, it can address its own crisis situations faster by applying available equipment and transport. On the other hand, some cases prohibit the use of transport; thus, the availability of support and logistics does not guarantee complete protection from the external dangers (Haddow, Bullock, & Coppola, 2011). Overall, the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council has an advantage, which is based on the fact that it faces external emergencies on a daily basis. Hence, awareness of the human resource and convenient operational environment provide the organization with the optimal readiness for crises. Nevertheless, the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council is exposed to environmental threats, which should be forecasted. Procedural expertise in emergency management produces a dubious effect on the situational awareness of the organization. The entity is capable of addressing emergency cases of its patients, but may lose control in the conditions of critical danger.

Threat Forecast

Forecasting of threats mainly depends on a type of danger that may emerge in the nearest future. Natural and man-made disasters are the most unexpected events. However, the organization is aware of the universal threats of global warming, greenhouse effects, water contamination, etc. On the other hand, the aforementioned emergency events are expected to surface in a long run; thus, the company is currently working on the adjustment to new external factors (Phillips, Neal, & Webb, 2012). Consequently, the organization participates in the disaster prevention leadership, which is reflected in their sustainable approaches to daily operations. As for man-made disasters, the organization is mainly exposed to the emission of hazardous materials and substances (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012). Forecasting of such events occurs as a result of regular testing of the human resources as well as their training. The investment into human capital is motivated by the assumption that even the most experienced worker may make a mistake.

In regards to procedural and product disasters, it is appropriate to mention hazardous materials. The entity also considers operations related to patient care. Negligence of care, abusive behavior, and risky actions contribute to the occurrence of emergency situation, since the consequences can affect the entire organization or external community (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012). Thus, the emergency plan suggests that every operation should be measured based on the specific criteria that indicate a degree of potential danger. Moreover, the emergency plan suggests the interactive data record. The initiative will process any deviations in daily operations of the organization and analyze them for further improvement of emergency management.

Another threat manifests as the fictive emergency situations. The causes of the issue may include panic attacks of the workers/patients. The purposes of a fictitious disaster do not comply with the ethical code of the organization. Thus, forecasting the potential cases is a responsibility of human resource management. The entity should treat any evidence of conflict situation in the working environment as a favorable condition for a fictitious disaster. Despite the importance of the threat, other dangers are also forecasted throughout an all-hazard approach, which does not prioritize any operational circumstances (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012). To the greatest extent, the emergency situation may happen even in the most unpredictable environment. Therefore, the exclusion of every possibility of danger in the company is a preventive step. Henceforth, prediction has consideration for specific peculiarities of potential disasters and conditions of their emerging. However, forecasting is not a single way of disaster prevention, because the pre-crisis mitigation should have an account.

Pre-Crisis Mitigation Actions

The protection of physical facilities should start with careful attention to natural disasters. As it has been already mentioned, changes in climate, water contamination, and other environmental impacts will continue spreading. Thus, the changes will cause various disasters in the organization’s area. The physical facility of the company was designed and built from the perspective of productivity. Also, the design included contingency planning. However, performance-based mitigation of floods, earthquakes, and other typical natural disasters is suggested by the emergency plan (Phillips, Neal, & Webb, 2012). However, the suggestion requires considerable changes to a design of the physical facility, but it will address the issues of resistance to earthquakes, the ability to pump out flooding water, protection of the personnel from tornadoes and thunderbolts, and adequate temperature balance. Therefore, the personnel as well as patients should receive explanation of the main principles of the premise’s emergency elements.

Mitigation strategy provides a long-term benefit (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012). Mitigation aimed at products and procedures should demonstrate its effects on a day-to-day basis; thus, the company has to foster a strong leadership in operational safety. The workers should be aware of the consequences related to inappropriate use of hazardous materials, acts of negligence, and mistakes. Leaders need to become the example of expert specialists, who are always aware of the situation at the workplace (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012). Additionally, application of interactive data record and regular testing of the human resource will ensure the readiness of the organization for the emergency situation. One may argue that it is preposterous to rely on leadership and technologies that may be inappropriately deployed. Therefore, the emergency plan considers mitigation related to products and procedures on the basis of a simple human awareness. The awareness increase is presented with FEMA and other programs. Moreover, the organization initiates similar programs and policies for the same purposes.

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The personnel protection is also included in the emergency plan, which is an especially crucial aspect. The emphasis is placed on the danger awareness of the personnel and the patients, as internal motivation is the strongest influence. Awareness is also a top-down activity; hence, the leaders and the chief executive team have to demonstrate their control of a situation (Fagel, 2011). Personnel protection includes regular training and evaluations to improve the abilities of the human resources. The activities contextualize potential disasters, so that each individual can comprehend threats of real danger, to which he/she can be exposed (Phillips, Neal & Webb, 2012). Deployment of various FEMA-originated programs is also acceptable because they mitigate the workforce safety on the federal government level.

Completely different issue arises from the mitigation of a reputation and goodwill of the organization. The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council follows strictly its vision and mission, while the internal code of ethics complies with the basic concepts of nursing and healthcare. Hence, exposure of patients to a threat can be recognized as poor quality of services provided. Consequently, the emergency plan is presented as open document available to anyone, whom it may concern. In a similar way, the emergency plan suggests that The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council does not hide any information about accidents occurred in the organization. The openness and transparency are the key elements for establishment of good public relations. Thus, a good reputation is the critical factor for the organization. To the largest extent, The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council does not have to give any reasons for a negative public opinion on an accident.

Planning Scenarios

Among various natural disasters caused by the changes in climate and environment, The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council is apparently exposed to a threat of tornadoes. The response to a tornado requires the workers and patients of the organization to evacuate to a basement level of the premise. The purpose is to avoid hazardous materials or other dangerous objects. Thus, potential threats should not be present on the basement level (Fagel, 2011). The requirement is compulsory to the workers and patients outside of the premise in the nearest area. Hence, the personnel in charge of security have to open emergency entrances to the basement, so that people from the outside are able to hide from a tornado. The process of evacuation should follow a standard evacuation plan and be initiated by the team leaders (Fagel, 2011). The leaders have to gather their teams while the security personnel should arrange evacuation of the patients. The use of elevators is prohibited; thus, the disabled patients should be evacuated first. After the tornado, all people have to leave the premise through the emergency exits.

The product and process disasters include the spread of hazardous materials and substances, which are the most dangerous emergency events. Fast evacuation of the personnel and patients is vital in the case because the spread of hazardous material is extremely fast. Moreover, people inside the building can be affected, even though they have protective equipment. As for the emergency gear, it should be used in cases that presuppose direct harm to human health and life. The cases are mentioned in the training programs for the personnel, who work with hazardous materials. As soon as exposure occurs, the employees have to acknowledge the entire organization of the danger and evacuate. Additionally, people, who managed to evacuate first, should call for the external emergency service, as it requires specific knowledge and equipment for eliminating the spread of the hazardous material (Fagel, 2011). Evacuation is required even when a fictitious disaster emerges. As it has been already mentioned, fictitious disasters are usually planned for certain malicious intentions; thus, personnel and patients are exposed to the unidentified threat (Fagel, 2011). Detection of a fictitious disaster initiator is also compulsory because of the legal and safety reasons. The person or a group of people have to take legal responsibility and be isolated from the environment favorable for the fulfilment of their malicious intentions.

Teams and Authorities

There are teams that control with operations disasters as a part of authorities responsible for contingency planning and emergency response. The human resource of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council holds the responsibility. Every single worker is accountable for safety and disaster prevention at his/her workplace. The emergency plan explains the activities with the fact that employees are aware of process at their workplace. Thus, they are capable of making the best judgement of the situation and define the appropriate reaction. As a consequence, communication contingency is also a responsibility of workers, as the emergency plan considers involvement of additional workforce in the crisis modes (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2011). As soon as a disaster happens, an employee or even a patient has to report the event through the means of unified communications installed based on the physical facility of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. The approach minimizes time spent on the acknowledgement of the organization and costs for hiring additional human resource.

Since any event of the emergency should be mitigated, a reliance on logistics is crucial for the emergency plan. Thus, the responsibility for logistics belongs to hired vehicle drivers. Their involvement is also explained with their daily relation to logistics and transportation. For the important role they play in the emergency management, drivers undergo special emergency driving training. In the event of a disaster, which presupposes evacuation from the physical facility on a long distance, the organization’s drivers have to prepare all available vehicles to safe and organized transportation.

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Since the organization is provided with unified communications and interactive data record, an information technology team is responsible for the cyber security and contingency. A threat of the cyberterrorism is often underestimated, but intrusion in the organization’s information system can result in serious consequences. Cybersecurity is a different dimension of emergency planning. However, its general purpose can be scoped as recognition, prevention, reaction, and recovery of the cyber-based disasters (Haddow, Bullock & Coppola, 2011). The information technology team is responsible for emergencies within a cyberspace. Also, at the workplace, computers and equipment faces various dangers within the physical facility. The administrative team is responsible for protection of reputation and goodwill of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. Regular communication with mass media and immediate coverage of any events related to the reputation should preserve The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council from rumors and speculations on its credibility.

Recovery and Restoration

Before introducing recovery and restoration strategies of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, high costs of the processes should be admitted. The organization is most exposed to tornado disasters; its recovery process is time-consuming. Thus, recovery strategy of the organization may rely on the federal funded projects initiated under Stafford Act (Fagel, 2011). It is becoming clear that elements of the damaged physical facility should not be temporally used before their complete restoration and assurance of safety. However, the factor harms the performance of The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council, but preserves it in a long run. Isolation of the damaged areas of the physical facility is the primary objective of the recovery strategy, as the ruined constructions also pose a threat to the organization’s safety.

Recovery of a reputation and goodwill is a hard task for any organization, especially if it was accused of actions that do not belong to its area of responsibility. The organization cannot define the responsibility to the publicity. Therefore, The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council provides a transparent coverage of any dangerous events (Fagel, 2011). Thus, participation of external experts is appreciated by The Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council. Provided that the organization holds responsibility for some accident or disaster, it confirms that it has to face legal rules and is open to a negotiation with a harmed party. In a similar manner, emotional and psychological recovery is considerate and careful in accordance with the emergency plan. The employees are not required to attend their job next (or even more) days after a disaster (Fagel, 2011). Each employee should be contacted individually. Implementation of toll free hotlines is also included in the recovery strategy. Compensation in money and additional days-off are the comprising element of the recovery, as long as the workers need time to recover from the accident and return to normal lifestyle. The cases of psychological trauma are solved with especially hired specialists, who are able to assess the situation from the objective angle.

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