Is your organisation prepared for an emergency situation? Has biosecurity been included in the response planning? Does everyone know how to act in case of an incident or calamity? Are the plans coordinated with external emergency services?

Response plans, crisis response plans, contingency plans, business continuity plans; the name does not matter as long as an organisation is prepared for emergency situations. After an incident or calamity, adequate measures must be taken to limit the damage and to restore operations as soon as possible. In response plans, the measures that need to be taken are described for each type of calamity. This also includes biological calamities. Aftercare for employees or others who were affected by or involved in the calamity should also be included in the response plans.

To ensure a fast and effective response, internal and external emergency services should be coordinated with each other. Internal responders include security staff, emergency response officers (BHV in Dutch), first aid providers and possibly the internal fire service. To mitigate the consequences of an incident or calamity, effective agreements and coordination with external emergency services are crucial. This includes agreements with the police, local/regional fire brigade and environmental services, and health/safety advisers on hazardous materials (the corresponding Dutch authorities are abbreviated as GAGS/GGD and AGS). Periodic exercises and training with simulated emergency situations and calamities help to ensure an adequate response when it is needed. This can be done internally, but also in cooperation with external organisations. By reporting on and evaluating the exercises, incidents and calamities, an organisation can formulate concrete follow-up actions and implement improvements.