PEP = People, Equipment,
PEP - People,
Equipment, Procedures - all are needed to ensure
emergency response is timely and effective. The
following principles may assist those required to
plan, train for and implement emergency response
actions. Though simple in theory, neglect of
these principles can lead to disaster.
planning, - all are useless without an initial
hazard assessment. First we must ask what if?
What if there is a power cut? A fire in the
Communications Centre? A storm during a confined
space entry? There is always the unexpected. Who
anticipated an ice storm which would deprive
large parts of Canada of power? Yet many had
anticipated other disasters and the resources for
such eventualities were brought into service to
deal with the situation.
begins with a hazard assessment. Identified
hazards may then be assessed under potential
and probability. This is where
planners earn their pay. If potential is high but
probability low then resources may be better
employed elsewhere; if probability is high and
the potential for disaster low then perhaps the
hazard may be reduced by training or by
engineering a solution. When both potential and
probability are high resources are usually
expended to address the hazard. When both
potential and probability are low the hazards are
often ignored. Here is the danger: if the small
risks are ignored the chances of a greater risk
occurring is increased. One way of decreasing the
smaller risks is by applying PEP.
People. "The way we train is
the way we will respond." Seems simple, but
how often do we see employees perform complicated
tasks in responding to simulated scenarios with
all the enthusiasm of condemned convicts?
- Relevant --
based on the hazard assessment;
- Brief - no
one learns when standing about for
several hours. Keep it short.
- Realistic -
avoid "disaster syndrome" but
foster realism by use of props. Examples
include use of casualty simulation kits,
live fire training (when possible and
appropriate), using equipment as opposed
to assuming it is OK and most importantly
- a sense of imagination.
enthusiasm can be infectious. To instill a sense
of urgency into training people must act as
though it were real. If they act bored, or move
slowly, or fail to wear all their protective
clothing because "it's only a drill"
that is what they will do when it is real.
A) "The way
you leave it is the way you find it" and
B) "Better to
be looking at it than looking for it."
A. This may seem
obvious, but emergency equipment is often used
and not replenished or replaced because "lightning
doesn't strike twice." It may. E.g. SCBAs
used for operations or training and left with the
straps cinched tight render the set initially
unusable next time around. Precious time is lost
doing what should have been done before the set
B. When making a
confined space entry, have the rescue equipment
rigged first. That way, if needed, it's there. If
not needed, at least the workers have practiced
rigging it and have the confidence of knowing it
is immediately available. This raises their
awareness of hazard and perhaps reduces the
possibility of mishap.
Another example is
having fire equipment ready for use during
transfer of flammable liquids or during hot work
(welding, grinding or burning.) This leads to the
Procedures. "The smaller the gap
between normal operational procedures and
emergency procedures the greater the chance of
successful emergency response."
If we look again
at the examples above this principle is seen in
action. If we make a procedure part of normal
operations we are less likely to have an accident
and more likely to have the resources at hand to
deal with an accident should one happen.
- We leave
safety goggles hanging beside the
grinding machine employees are more
likely to remember to use them than if we
keep the goggles in a locked store.
- The usual
path to the exits is the same as the
preferred path in an emergency people are
more likely to get out quickly. Ensure
responding personnel use a different
route to avoid congestion or collision.
- SCBAs are
stored in racks rather than in the cases
they may be donned quicker.
The foregoing may
seem simple; even simplistic. Try it. Apply the
PEP Principles to your workplace and see how it
goes. With a little effort you'll find you spend
less time training and have better results when
you do - and less accidents or incidents. And
that is the goal.