Risk Management 101: The Importance of Emergency Action Plans

3 min read
February 09, 2023

Droughts, hurricanes, flooding, wind events, and other disasters caused an estimated 29 billion dollars in weather-related losses in 2022 alone.  Business continuity planning through the development of an Emergency Action Plan is essential to ensuring business continuity during and immediately after any stress or hazard.   

What is an Emergency Action Plan (EAP)?

An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document with the purpose of facilitating and organizing employer and employee action during workplace emergencies. While EAPs protect human life during potential crises, they may also serve to reduce the damage to commercial buildings and their assets. There are many different types of EAPs varying with each potential disaster. We will highlight key EAP scenarios and the resources you need to implement them to easily and effectively mitigate the potential loss of your commercial assets. 

Potential EAP Scenarios

The first step when developing any EAP is to conduct a risk assessment to identify location hazards and potential emergency situations. While EAPs can be implemented in nearly every loss scenario, an understanding of local hazards and potential risks will help pinpoint which EAPs are essential to your building or asset class. Provided below is a list of the most common EAPs and the resources where information can be found to help better protect your assets. 

  • Wildfire - A wildfire mitigation plan's purpose is to create a prioritized group of strategies to reduce the harm from future wildfires and wildfire smoke events to people, property, natural resources, and infrastructure.
  • Tornado - A tornado mitigation plan helps protect a business and its employees. Having a plan in place beforehand may help recover from a natural disaster faster and minimize business interruption.
  • Hurricane -  A hurricane emergency plan provides specific evacuation procedures, a chain of command for emergency procedures, procedures for accounting for personnel, and required equipment for personnel.
  • Flood - A flood preparedness plan can help ensure you are ready to evacuate in an orderly manner before rising waters impact your business or residence, or your evacuation routes.
  • Earthquake - An earthquake preparedness plan can provide emergency action for employees to communicate and implement procedures to continue operations as soon as it's safe to do so.
  • Tsunami - There are two important factors to consider when preparing for a tsunami: location and primary risk. By assessing your existing risk you can consider all the factors that may have an impact on your business in the next tsunami event. 

These resources outline key considerations to take into account when developing EAPs for your commercial assets. Using the combined knowledge of these resources and information from your risk assessment can help create a comprehensive EAP when disaster strikes. The following templates can help establish an inclusive and effective EAP. 

Early identification of areas where improvement in business resilience can be made may prevent damage. The Archipelago platform allows a building owner to quickly view all of their assets and building attributes in one location and quickly and efficiently create an emergency action plan for their portfolio and one focus for each building given their local hazards and specific risks.  In order to adapt to our changing environment, we must first be able to recognize where the change is needed.  

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