Office, Facility, or Hotel Fires | Scope of Risk

Office, facility, or hotel fires can present unique risks depending on the operating region in which they occur. In some countries, firefighting equipment cannot reach above the third floor of a structure, presenting additional risks to the occupants. In addition, the safety standards in different countries vary, increasing the risks of fires rapidly spreading and not being brought under control by water sprinklers or other fireretardant appliances. For companies operating in highrise buildings, the ability of personnel to safely evacuate from the higher floors may also present challenges. Companies should develop pragmatic and rehearsed fire drills to ensure that personnel instinctively know how to respond to protect themselves during such a crisis event. Facilities may also have additional hazards that might be triggered by a fire, including combustible materials, toxic hazards, and serious structural risks that might occur. Personnel should also receive a fire briefing upon starting work at a new office complex, should understand where alarms are situated, and should also walk escape routes and be shown where muster points are located. The following provides simple measures by which personnel can increase the likelihood of a safe escape during a fire, thus supporting the IMP:
§  Add a note hereReview the floor plans of the office block, facility, or hotel; ask for a copy of the evacuation plan if available.
§  Add a note hereLocate nearby fire alarms and fire extinguishers.
§  Add a note herePractice unlocking and opening the windows in your room or office. Look outside to see if you could escape without injury.
§  Add a note hereLearn the layout of your room, facility work area, or office floor, and know how to unlock your door in the dark. This will help prepare you for quick evacuation at night or during a power outage.
§  Add a note herePlace your room keys/office keys on a nightstand/desk where you can find them quickly. Take your room key/office key with you when you evacuate in case emergency exits are blocked by fire and you must return to your room/office.
§  Add a note hereSound the fire alarm and alert neighbors and other workers on your floor of the emergency.
§  Add a note hereClose doors behind you to prevent the spread of flames within the office space, work area, or hotel floor.
§  Add a note hereWalk to safety via the nearest fire exit. If you encounter smoke en route, crouch or crawl low to the ground. Do not stand up, as you may be overcome by the smoke or toxic fumes.
§  Add a note hereFeel any doors with the back of your hand. If the door feels unusually warm or hot, do not open it—the fire may be right outside. If the door is not warm or hot, open it slowly. Be prepared to close the door quickly if smoke rushes in.
§  Add a note hereOnce you are safe from danger, locate the nearest phone and inform the front desk, hotel, or switchboard operator of the emergency.
§  Add a note hereIf trapped and the phone works, call the hotel or switchboard operator—explain that you are trapped in your room or office and are in need of rescue.
§  Add a note hereIf trapped, fill a bathtub or sink (if available) with water and wet your towels and sheets. You may also use water to cool the walls; use a wastebasket or ice bucket to help bail water. Use a restroom if a bathtub or sink is unavailable.
§  Add a note hereTo seal the room/office doorway from smoke, put wet towels or sheets at the bottom of the door. If you have wide duct tape, seal the entire doorjamb. Stuff any vents with wet towels or sheets, or tape a magazine over each vent to prevent smoke from entering.
§  Add a note hereMake your location more visible to firefighters; hang a sheet out the window. Do not use the sheet to climb down from your room or office.
§  Add a note hereIf smoke enters the room, use a blanket or sheet to make a tent over your head, put your covered head out the window, and breathe clean air. If your window does not open, you may have to break it with a chair or drawer. Break the window only as a last resort.
§  Add a note hereIf smoke can enter your room/office from outside, close the window immediately and keep it closed. Make this observation before breaking a window.
§  Add a note hereDo not take the elevator; if you attempt to take the elevator in a fire, you may become trapped. The elevator may also take you to the floor where the fire is. Use the stairs to walk to the bottom floor of the hotel, office, or facility. Hold on to the handrail as you go so as not to be knocked down by someone behind you, or by the impact of any explosions that might occur.
§  Add a note hereIf you encounter smoke or fire on lower levels, return to your room/office. Call the hotel or facility switchboard operator and explain that you are trapped.
§  Add a note hereIf you cannot make it back to your room/office, walk to a floor with clearer air and attempt to find another emergency exit. As a last resort, climb the stairs to the roof.
Add a note hereCompanies should provide fire briefings to staff to support the IMP, which allows local managers more time to focus on quickly gathering information to assist the safe evacuation of personnel, as well as a more effective response by emergency services rather than herding staff to exits. The IMP element should focus on determining the location and nature of the fire, extracting personnel from danger, and notifying any emergency responders of the situation and details. The following elements should be considered by company first responders and incident managers during an office, facility, or hotel fire:
§  Add a note hereNature, Location, and Extent.: What type of fire is it? Are there additional hazards such as toxic chemicals, explosive materials, or other contaminants that emergency responders need to be aware of? Where is the fire? Is it contained, or has it spread?
§  Add a note hereFire Response Measures.: What measures are in place to deal with the fire (e.g., sprinklers, firesuppressing gases, fire doors)? How do they operate? Are they working?
§  Add a note hereAdditional Risk Areas.: Are any areas particularly at risk from the fire? What impacts will the fire have if it reaches those areas (e.g., explosive, toxic, structural dangers, risks to personnel)?
§  Add a note hereMustered Personnel.: Have all personnel been accounted for? Where are they? Where are the emergency muster points?
§  Add a note hereMissing or Trapped Personnel.: How many personnel have not been accounted for? Are any personnel trapped? If so, where?
§  Add a note hereCasualties.: Are there injuries? If so, how many? What is the status and severity of the casualties?
§  Add a note hereMaterials.: Is there any sensitive, highvalue, or critical material or information that needs to be retrieved? Where is it located? What is the nature of the material? What value is placed against it, and what are the impacts if it is lost?
Add a note hereThe emergency services will typically quickly take control of a crisis situation on arrival in most countries; however, local managers will have a better understanding as to the situation when firefighters arrive and can provide a quick, accurate, and focused briefing to enable responders to more effectively take control of a situation. Local managers will also better understand outofthenorm factors such as toxic or combustible material hazards, as well as the number, status, and location of personnel. The IMP should be considered a bridging tool between the company and emergency responders, supporting the transfer of response to external agencies.

Vehicle‐Borne Improvised Explosive Devices | Scope of Risk

Vehicleborne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs) are an increasingly commonly used weapon by terrorists groups to target facilities, vehicles, or people. Vehicles may be loaded with explosives and driven by suicide bombers to the point of detonation, or may be remotely triggered. In some instances vehicles may also be driven by innocent drivers who have been coerced to drive the vehicle to the point of detonation. Vehicles can range from bicycles to large tankers. Secondary hazards might originate from fuels carried within vehicles, or chemicals that form a crude chemical delivery threat. Explosives come in a variety of forms, from mortar shells to plastic explosives. Additional components such as ball bearings may be packed around explosive materials to create additional damage. Explosives may also be disguised within door frames or other structural components of a vehicle. A VBIED poses an additional element of risk compared to an IED in that it is mobile and often delivered by a suicidal fanatic.
Add a note hereA detonated VBIED causes a range of threats to personnel and facilities, originating from the initial explosion. An explosion is a sudden release of energy caused by a rapid chemical reaction, which usually turns a solid into heat and gas. The rapidly expanding hot gas created by the reaction pushes the surrounding air out in front of it, thus creating a pressure wave, known as the blast wave. The effects of an explosion will depend on the power, quality, and quantity of the explosive material used. There are six basic effects that result from an explosion:
1.  Add a note hereFireball.: The ball of fire created as part of the explosive process is very local to the seat of the explosion and is shortlived; however, it can cause injuries and fires.
2.  Add a note hereShattering.: This effect is local to the seat of the explosion, is normally associated with high explosives, and damages local structures and objects.
3.  Add a note herePrimary Fragments.: These are the fragments of the device and the packaging that are in close contact with the explosive charge. They are propelled at high velocity over a great distance. The primary fragments cause casualties and damage at a greater distance than the secondary fragments.
4.  Add a note hereBlast Wave.: This is the very fastmoving highpressure wave created by the rapidly expanding gas of the explosion. It can bounce off hard surfaces and can be channeled down corridors and elevator shafts.
5.  Add a note hereGround Shock.: Ground shock is produced by the effect of the explosion impacting the ground local to the seat of the explosion, sometimes creating a crater. The shock wave can damage pipes, cables, and other structures.
6.  Add a note hereSecondary Fragments.: These are the fragments that have been created by the blast wave imparting pressure on material unable to withstand the extreme pressure. The material that forms secondary fragments includes glass, roof slates, timber, and metal frames. These fragments can cause significant injuries and damage to the surrounding area.
Add a note hereSecurity standard operating procedures and security plans will be used to mitigate the probability of a VBIED occurrence. This may come in the form of physical security structures, policies, and security personnel. The IMP typically deals with the immediate measures taken following a detonation, or supports such measures if a suspect vehicle has been identified prior to detonation.

Repatriations of Remains | Scope of Risk

While not actually a specific risk type, rather the result of a crisis, repatriations can present a threat to the company if poorly managed. The repatriation of an employee's remains can be a challenging and emotive task for a manager under the best of circumstances. Often repatriation will be managed by a CRT, rather than by an IRT, as the movement of any remains will typically occur over a more protracted period of time. That said, the initial actions taken under the IMP will support the overall process, as the IRT will typically manage the first stages of a fatality event. When the fatality has occurred within a remote area, or in a country with limited infrastructures, repatriation can become significantly more difficult, and often an IRT will play a more involved role within the first stages of a repatriation. It is important that repatriations are effectively managed through every stage of the crisis, not only to reflect the moral obligation a company may have to the deceased and the loved ones, but also to safeguard the employee's insurance claim, as well as protect the company from reputational and liability suites.
Add a note hereRepatriations will differ in nature and complexity, depending on the company, its location, and the insurance requirements and support mechanisms in place. The condition of the deceased, both at the time of death and due to any deterioration that might occur during the repatriation process itself, will also affect the nature and impact of the process. Repatriations may consume considerable amounts of a management team's time and resources, as there are considerable procedural and documentation requirements to move a person's remains both incountry and across international borders. The following considerations should be included in repatriation:
§  Add a note herePossession Considerations.: Ensure that all personal effects are collected and inventoried by appropriate managers. All valuable effects should travel in the casket with the deceased. Inventories should travel with the casket, with copies held by the country CRT.
§  Add a note hereReligious Considerations.: Management should confirm the religion denomination and requirements of the deceased, requesting support in terms of blessings in accordance with particular beliefs.
§  Add a note hereCommunication Considerations.: Management may wish to close down lines of project communications to enable the CRT to personally notify the family, preventing erroneous information from being transmitted from the site of the incident. Media inquiries should be routed through the public relations division. Employees should be advised as to the situation as quickly as possible and appropriate.
§  Add a note hereContribution Considerations.: Under some circumstances it might be appropriate to gather contributions for the family. The company may wish to arrange a bank account for money to be deposited into.
§  Add a note hereTravel and Escort Considerations.: The deceased should be escorted to the family to ensure that all problems are solved en route. A travel plan should be written to minimize errors. A contracted funeral director will require the following information: the deceased's name, passport number, nationality, and passport issue location.
§  Add a note hereEmbalming and Autopsies.: Definitive requirements for autopsies should be established to protect the deceased's insurance policy. Formal notification of a requirement prior to embalming should be gained from the insurer. Embalming is typically a requirement prior to air transportation and should be conducted after the autopsy, as it would interfere with results.
§  Add a note hereClothing Considerations.: On completion of the autopsy and embalming process, suitable attire should be placed on the deceased. This should be taken with the escorts and should reflect cultural requirements. Body shapes may also change noticeably after death or an autopsy, and dressing a corpse can be problematic.
§  Add a note herePay Considerations.: Remaining wages should be paid immediately to the family. Bank account details should be confirmed to ensure that the deceased's bank account has not been frozen and the next of kin can receive the outstanding wages immediately.
§  Add a note hereInsurance Considerations.: The corporate CRT should confirm whether an autopsy is required. If one is required, the deceased should not be embalmed until the autopsy is complete. Local, regional, or national autopsy facilities should be identified. International facilities may be required, en route to the deceased's family location, to conduct any autopsy. Clear guidelines should be issued by the corporate CRT to meet insurance requirements.
§  Add a note hereDocumentation Considerations.: The family will be required to provide a letter of authority for the conduct of an autopsy. Marriage licenses and other proofs of relationship will be required for insurance purposes. The contracted funeral provider assisting with the movement of the deceased must have all necessary documentation emailed in advance, and, in addition, must have specific information on the family's contracted funeral provider in order to secure an air waybill permitting onward air travel. All hard copies should be sent with the deceased.
§  Add a note hereMedical Considerations.: The family must be informed that the deceased may require an autopsy and must be embalmed in order to permit travel on civilian airlines. Medical documentation must be secured from the relevant appropriate person.
§  Add a note hereTravel Requirements.: The aircraft number, departure point, departure date, departure time, arrival point, and arrival time must be documented so that multiple groups can be coordinated within the process.
Add a note hereIt is imperative that the IRT receives appropriate guidance in order to safeguard the family's emotional and insurance welfare, as well as the company's reputational and liability exposure. The IMP initiates the requirements of a repatriation; however, more matured policies and officers should quickly assume responsibility for this form of crisis situation. Repatriations can easily go wrong, and strict management is required to move a deceased's remains across international borders.

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