Floods | Natural Risks

Flood effects may be limited to a local event affecting an individual community in a lowlying area or adjacent to a river, or may be widespread, affecting entire river basins. Floods may occur in a matter of minutes (i.e., flash floods), or may develop slowly over a period of days. Flash floods often have a dangerous wall of water that carries rocks, mud, and other debris, can sweep away buildings, vehicles, and other structures in its path, and occur with little sign of the rainfall that initiated the event. Overland flooding occurs outside a defined river or stream, such as when a levee is breached. Overland flood effects can be limited, or can engulf an entire city resulting in catastrophic levels of devastation. Flooding can also occur when a dam breaks, or when water is channeled without warning along small streams, gullies, creeks, culverts, dry streambeds, wadis, or lowlying ground that might appear harmless in dry weather.
Add a note hereCompanies should ensure that weather warnings are tracked and local advisories regarding safe and unsafe areas are identified. Personnel should avoid dry riverbeds, lowlying areas, and valleys during storms. Upon notification of a flood warning, managers should ensure that all electrical appliances, water, and supplies are moved above ground level. Where possible, water barricades should be constructed using sandbags against doorjambs and cracks, or around buildings and valuable materials. During a flood, personnel should avoid streams, drainage channels, canyons, and other areas known to flood suddenly. If flash flooding is a possibility, personnel should be moved immediately to higher ground or to the top level of a building. Managers should track radio and television broadcasts to stay abreast of the situation, and to listen for local emergency alerts or instructions if caught within a floodstricken area. You can post your status and requirements for emergency services using sheets, paint markings, or other indicators as to the number of personnel within a facility, any injuries that require treatment, and special assistance required.
Add a note hereIf personnel need to leave a facility, they should not walk through more than six inches of moving water, as the water velocity can cause them to fall. In addition, moving water can disguise holes or hidden obstructions that could result in injury. If movement through water is necessary, stillwater areas should be selected and a stick should be used to check depth, identify holes, or discover underwater obstructions. Individuals or groups being evacuated should be tied to one another on a safety line and should be aware of the threats from power lines and debris hazards. Personnel should not attempt to drive vehicles through a flooded area if the water is higher than the bottom of the door, as such levels will likely cause the vehicle to stall or lose traction. One foot of water will float most vehicles, and two feet of rushing water can carry most vehicles downstream.
Add a note hereOnce the initial effects of a flood have abated, the IRT should continue to monitor radio and television broadcasts to track secondary flood hazards as well as emergency response instructions. Special attention should be paid to whether water supplies have been contaminated and whether there has been damage to transportation and medical infrastructures. Personnel should avoid floodwaters, as water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, raw sewage, or, in extreme cases, decaying carcasses. Water may also be electrically charged by underground or downed power lines. Personnel should also be wary of areas where floodwaters have receded; roads may be weakened and could collapse under the weight of a vehicle. Buildings also may have been structurally weakened and may collapse or have concealed threats. The IMP is designed to support incident managers during the initial stages of a flood, taking action to increase the safety of personnel, as well as the protection of critical infrastructures where possible.

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.

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