Before an Emergency

We all hope that an emergency will not take place, but if we do not plan for emergencies we are going to be ill-prepared when one happens. COVID-19 is just one current example of how important preparation really is. We need to be considering 'what if' and identifying the types of risks, hazards and threats we might face and assessing their likelihood and consequences if they actually occur. This is called risk assessment. This should be an important starting point when we are deciding how best to plan and prepare for emergencies. The same approach should be taken for all emergencies, whether or not they are 'natural disasters' such as flooding, or 'man-made' like a terror attack.


The types of activities that we must consider before an emergency occurs include:

  • Anticipating and assessing the risk of emergencies taking place - this is called risk assessment
  • Developing, maintaining and evaluating emergency plans and response arrangements - to improve our preparedness;
  • Developing, maintaining and evaluating business continuity plans - so that we can continue working when disaster strikes;
  • Creating emergency exercises to practice or validate emergency or business continuity arrangements;
  • Raise awareness of the risk, potential impact and arrangements in place for responding to emergencies; and
  • Co-operate with others and share information so that we can plan and prepare in the most effective way possible.