How COVID affected Emergency Action Planning in 2020 and how its bouncing back in 2021
GSS emergency action planning adheres closely to OSHA guidelines.
- Considers all potential natural or man-made emergencies that could disrupt a workplace or security assignment location.
- Considers all potential internal sources of emergencies that could disrupt or endanger a workplace or security assignment location.
- Planning to tailor all responses to emergencies to the workplace.
- Plan contains names, titles, departments, and contact information of key personnel as well as contact information for local emergency responders, agencies, and contractors.
- Plan will address how rescue operations will be performed.
- Plan will address how medical assistance will be provided.
- Conditions under which an evacuation would be necessary, with a clear chain of command and designating a person authorized to order an evacuation.
- Specifying necessary shut down operations and involved personnel, and identification of evacuation routes and alternatives.
- A preferred method of reporting fires and other emergencies.
- Training and drill protocol development.
This emergency action planning is broad and meant to encompass all scenarios from office environments, industrial settings, security assignments, hospitality security, and executive protection.
At the beginning of 2020 GSS had in place effective emergency action plans for our security services. With the appearance of COVID-19, it became obvious that many components of our plan would be seriously affected.
Considering the OSHA guidelines above, the appearance of COVID needed to be incorporated as a natural emergency impacting the safety of all work locations, that indeed disrupted and endangered the workplace and security assignments.
The presumed presence of the COVID virus everywhere caused what could be considered a shutdown of operations for our clients, and lockdowns could be similarly considered a permanent evacuation.
This situation through most of 2020 severely impacted GSS operations – both in the field, and in our offices.
During the year, citizens became adept at following social distancing guidelines, covering faces, and sanitary habits to minimize exposure to COVID. Hospitals developed protocols for handling and treatment of infected patients that in many cases minimized serious illness, and therapeutics were developed that proved to be highly effective in treatment of the disease.
Vaccines with unbelievable efficacy made their appearance late in the year and were approved for emergency use. By 2021, millions of Americans were receiving vaccinations for COVID, minimizing the pool of potential infections, and gradually bringing the population into a herd immunity situation.
2021 saw an increase of emergency action planning roles for GSS in New York as companies cautiously reopened. In fact, the experience of an entire year of an illness-caused emergency was a great stimulus for GSS clients to review and implement emergency action planning.
GSS has provided guidance in emergency action planning for our clients, and our experience with COVID and related protocol is proving invaluable in incorporating this experience for a comprehensive plan that would provide plans for any future pandemics as well.
We see our emergency action planning business bouncing back in 2021 as a result of lessons learned through 2020 and application of sound security practices.