VICENZA, Italy -- Each organization should have an emergency action plan in place to keep employees safe in case of disaster.

An EAP describes the actions employees should take to ensure their safety if an emergency situation occurs. Different threats require different responses. For example, employees may assemble in one area inside the building (shelter in place) if threatened by a tornado, but evacuated to an exterior location if threatened by a fire.

The EAP must identify when and how employees are to respond to different types of emergencies. At a minimum, an EAP must contain these sections:
•Procedures for reporting emergencies, such as dialing the Military Police Desk number or pulling a fire alarm

•A description of the system (AtHOC or Giant Voice) to be used to notify employees to evacuate and/or shelter in place

•An evacuation policy, procedures and facility evacuation maps. These will ensure that employees understand who is authorized to order an evacuation and under what circumstances such an evacuation would be necessary.

•Procedures to account for employees after the evacuation. Examples of this are a designated gathering area, assembly area maps for each department, and a check-off system to assure everyone is accounted for.

•Assignment of specific tasks to employees or job positions relating to evacuation, rescue, first aid, etc., such as making the department supervisor responsible for accounting for all employees in his/her department.

•Provisions for training employees and/or conducting emergency drills. These should include a means for employees to make suggestions to improve the existing plan.

A well developed and executed EAP will make for a more organized evacuation with less confusion and an overall greater degree of safety for both the employees and the emergency response personnel. We all hope we will never have to use an EAP, but if we do, there is no substitute for being prepared.

Anyone with questions about the EAP or other emergency management issues should contact Michael McKnight, U.S. Army Garrison Italy emergency manager, at DSN 637-8015, or email michael.mcknight.civ@mail.mil