Gustin observed six key elements that have to be implemented in any emergency preparedness plan. I will compare these key elements to the ones provided at Unigard (Gustin, 2007). Unigard insurance Group implemented an emergency preparedness program that equips employees with the required training to help them in times of emergencies. The most important parameter in emergency preparedness is the method used to escape the risky zone as well as path followed. Unigard has been able to achieve this as all the trainees have to do assignments that are aimed at ensuring that they understand all the safety procedure. Preparedness program is known as ERT (emergency response team) and two full employee evacuation drills are completed annually followed by sessions of practice. There are those employees who are left back to carry out important duties before they finally leave the emergency zone. This has been another important achievement by Unigard. All employees in the program are trained in emergency procedures which addresses medical emergencies. The training has also been expanded to include workplace violence prevention (Mitzel, 2007).
Unigard insurance emergence preparedness established a core emergency response team (ERT) which was responsible for establishing fire, medical and search-and-rescue teams as its preferred means for reporting fires and other emergencies. A container was provided to serve the purpose of storing important implements. There were a total of 54 workers in the ERT. There were important organizational details which could be found here.
Some Unigard’s actions differ from those recommended by OSHA, for example we do not find the installation of alarms as required. Gustin observed that, all employers are required to install an alarm system that warns employees in case of an emergency. Also most of the training is carried out within a very short period of time (4 to 5 hours) which might not be sufficient for employees to learn all the required skills. The training of people who can help during emergency cases especially the process of making sure that workers are evacuated from danger zones is one type of activity which appears to be almost the same as that of Unigard. The insurance company does carry out hazard audit for ascertaining potential disasters.
According to Gustin, it is the work of the management to ensure that the emergency preparedness program established is regularly reviewed and updated to meet the current needs. To do this, the management has to be supported by the personnel within the company. This program must be site-specific and should address all types of emergencies (Gustin, 2007). This is the case at the Unigard emergency preparedness as reflected in the response structure. It has specified almost all types of emergencies that might occur (including the personnel responsible) and it is also site specific. It is headed by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) followed by the risk officer and other senior executives (Mitzel, 2007).
Unigard training program can be compared to that recommended by OSHA since all employees are trained on evacuation plans as well as on disaster response on the different types of emergencies. Training is reviewed annually for the old employees and any new ones are trained as soon as they arrive. This ensures that these teams remain to be effective and efficient in their line of duty. Response teams are provided with advanced equipments which they are also trained how to use them in order to make their work easier (Mitzel, 2007).
Gustin, J.F. (2007) Disaster and recovery planning 4th Edition.
Mitzel, B. (2007) Emergency preparedness and response. One company’s successful approach.