Emergency Management Plan Revision of May 1, 2011


DEPARTMENT MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS



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DEPARTMENT MANAGERS AND SUPERVISORS

Providing they can do so without posing a risk to themselves, they are to quickly check all areas of the building or facility to ensure that all employees have evacuated safely. The managers/supervisors should close all doors behind them as they make their way out of the building, as this will significantly slow the spread of smoke and/or fire throughout the rest of the building. Once the facility is safely cleared of all personnel, the managers/supervisors should promptly report to the designated place of refuge.


If there are any personnel requiring help to get out of the building, one of the managers/supervisors shall assist them as needed, or shall ensure that someone else is assigned to assist them.
EVACUATION PROCEDURES

Consult floor plans to determine the shortest and fastest route from your location to the designated place of refuge. ALWAYS have an alternate route picked out, in case the primary route is blocked by fire, etc . .


If there is visible smoke, stay low (smoke will be thicker near the ceiling) and move quickly to the nearest exit. If the smoke is extremely heavy, crawl on your hands and knees to the exit, keeping close to the floor.
If you have to open any doors en route to the exit, feel the door with the back of your hand before you open it. IF IT FEELS WARM OR HOT, DO NOT OPEN IT if you do not have to. If you are able, take an alternative route out of the building. If you must open the door to reach an exit, open the door VERY slowly a small amount, to determine if fire is present near the door.
Close all doors behind you as you make your way out of the building. This will help significantly slow the spread of smoke and/or fire throughout the rest of the building.
If the evacuation is due to actual or potential gas or vapor chemical release such as chlorine, wind direction must be taken into consideration. DO NOT MOVE DOWNWIND OF THE RELEASE. The designated places of refuge outlined in this plan may need to be adjusted if wind direction renders them potentially unsafe in a chemical release emergency.
HEAD COUNT PROCEDURES

Once at the designated place of refuge, managers and supervisors shall conduct a Head Count of the personnel within their department. If any personnel are not accounted for, or if there is any uncertainty about anyone’s whereabouts, the Incident Commander shall be notified immediately. NO ONE IS TO RE-ENTER without clearance from the Incident Commander. If personnel are known or suspected to be missing, alert the IC immediately.


RESCUE AND/OR FIRST AID

Rescue duties shall only be performed by the trained, equipped, and qualified personnel. No employee shall ever take any actions that jeopardize their health and safety, or the health and safety of others.


Any employee properly trained in first aid may be able to render emergency care to the injured until emergency services personnel arrive on the scene. If there are serious injuries, ensure that EMS has been activated.


    1. Emergency Communication Plan




      1. INTRODUCTION

During and following almost any emergency, there is a critical need to communicate information to a number of different audiences. The size and number of these audiences can vary greatly depending on the emergency, and can range from a few employees of one department, up to and including every person within GSWSA’s service area.




      1. PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES

The overall purpose of the crisis communications function, during and following virtually any emergency, is to ensure accurate and consistent information is communicated to all those with a need to know. The specific objectives of this function include the following:

To ensure factual and current information is provided, in a controlled and organized manner, to the media, the public, and other outside agencies, groups, or personnel that have a need to be informed.
To ensure adequate personnel and procedures are in place to handle incoming telephone calls, and that these individuals are provided current, accurate, and consistent information to work from.
To ensure factual and current information is provided, in a controlled and organized manner, to all GSWSA employees.



      1. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS

The Crisis Communications Plan may be activated and implemented by either; the CEO or the Incident Commander.


Crisis Communications will normally be activated whenever there is an event that causes activation of the Incident Command System.
The CEO will coordinate all activities within the scope of the Crisis Communications Plan.
The CEO will coordinate and oversee the development and creation of all printed information such as Press Releases, Fact Sheets, Notices and Bulletins. The CEO will also coordinate the dissemination of up-to-date and approved information to telephone operators, radio dispatchers, department heads / supervisors, and affected employees.
The CEO or Incident Commander may fill the role of Spokesperson, or may choose to appoint another qualified person to serve as Spokesperson. The designated Spokesperson will conduct all Press Briefings, on-air / on-camera interviews, telephone interviews, etc., for and with the media.
The CEO will serve as a Liaison to the media, and will coordinate the scheduling of press briefings, interviews, etc.
The CEO or Incident Commander must approve and authorize all information prior to release or dissemination.
All inquiries or requests from the media will be forwarded to the CEO.
Any employee approached or questioned by the media shall politely refer them to the CEO, and explain that the CEO can provide them with the most up-to-date information, and can also put them in touch with the designated GSWSA Spokesperson.



      1. POTENTIAL CRISIS EVENTS

The list of potential crisis events, or “emergencies”, that may require crisis communications activities includes, but is not limited to the following.


Hurricane Water System Contamination

Tornado Earthquake

Hazardous Material Spill / Release

Severe Thunderstorm Confined Space Emergency

Multiple Employees Injured T rench / Excavation Collapse

Employee Fatality Fire / Explosion

Power Outage Suspicious Mail / Package

Telephone System Failure Vandalism / Stolen Property

SCADA Failure / Cyber-attack Violence / Assault

IS Failure / Cyber-attack Armed Robbery

Major Water Main Leak / Break Terrorist Attack

Water System Pressure Loss Freeze / Winter Storm

Scandal I nternal Corruption
Widespread Health Issue

SSO – severe environmental situation / major spill

Unexpected traffic tie-up caused by leak, spill, construction, etc.


      1. KEY AUDIENCES

The list of potential key audiences that may require communication activities during and/or after a crisis or emergency includes, but is not limited to the following.


Board Members Horry County EMS

Mayors / Administrators / Councils SC DHEC

SCDHEC Horry County PIO

Horry County Police Department Affected Customers

Horry County Sheriff’s Office ……………….. All Customers

Bull Creek Participants ……………….. GSWSA Wholesale Customers

FBI News Media / General Public

County Fire Department ……………….. Employee Families

Horry County Emergency Preparedness Department

Hospitals / Medical Facilities / Dentists / Dialysis Clinics




      1. COMMUNICATION CHANNELS

The list of potential communications channels that may be used to communicate during and/or after a crisis or emergency includes, but is not limited to the following.

Door-to-Door Personal Contact Radio Stations

Door Hangers Newspaper

Flyers GSWSA Website

Telephone Press Release

Press Conference Mobil Radio

Automated Attendant Greeting Television Stations

Sandwich Boards / Signs Bulletin Boards

Internal Employee Bulletin Boards Homeowner’s Associations




      1. EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS CENTER

Normally, the Emergency Communications Center will be incorporated with the GSWSA Emergency Operations Center (EOC). The main function of the Crisis Communications Center is to provide GSWSA staff the facilities and equipment needed to gather, evaluate, develop and disseminate information related to an emergency. A secondary function may be to provide members of the media a place to stage, set up equipment, conduct interviews, etc. The type, severity, and duration of the incident will determine the function and complexity of the Emergency Communications Center.


Primary location: Operations Center, 170 Jackson Bluff Road
Alternate location: Bull Creek Water Treatment Plan
If any location other than the Operations Center must be utilized, consider the potential need for the following supplies and equipment.

Emergency Management Plan Paper, pens

Laptop computer Printer
Extension cords Copier

Easels, Pad, Markers Cell phones

Maps, Drawings Radios

Fax machine Flashlights

Battery powered radio First Aid Kit


      1. HANDLING INQUIRIES

Customer Inquiries, Complaints or Concerns


Incoming customer calls involving complaints, concerns, or questions pertaining to an emergency situation should be received by, or forwarded to, the Dispatch Center. The CEO or IC shall be notified of all communications from “critical” customers (i.e., hospitals, dentists, etc.)
Refer to ISF-6, Telephones for additional procedures regarding the management of incoming phone calls.
All persons taking incoming customer calls shall obtain and record the caller’s name, address, phone number, and the nature of the call. (Utilize the “Call Taker’s Worksheet” contained within this Plan.)
All persons taking incoming customer calls shall obtain from the CEO, Incident Fact Sheets or Bulletins containing up to date incident information. Call takers are to use this, and only this information to answer questions, or otherwise address customer calls.
Media Inquiries
Inquiries from the media regarding an emergency situation should be received by, or forwarded to the CEO.
Only the CEO or Incident Commander may release information and/or may coordinate for the media to obtain statements or interviews with the Spokesperson.
Any employee approached or questioned by the media shall politely refer them to the CEO, and explain that the CEO will have the most up-to-date and accurate information to better answer their questions.

All Other Inquiries / Communications


Guidance for all inquiries and communications can be found in the Emergency Notification Matrix contained within this plan.


      1. KEY MESSAGES

Following are various key messages that can be used as a foundation for developing Press Releases, Written Statements, Incident Bulletins, and other communications regarding an emergency incident. The designated Spokesperson should be very familiar with these key messages, and should stress these messages often during interviews or statements made to the media.

The appropriate key messages should also be included as part of the information provided by the PIO to call takers, so these points can be emphasized to customers who are calling in with questions or concerns.

General Messages

Public health and safety is, and always has been, our highest priority.

Preservation of our environment is a top priority.

GSWSA has emergency response plans in place to enable us to respond quickly and effectively to emergency events, and promptly implement corrective procedures.

GSWSA has an Emergency Communications Plan to ensure timely notification of affected customers and other interested or involved parties.


Our emergency plans are tested and refined through an ongoing process of training, drills, and plan updates / revisions.

GSWSA will provide temporary alternate supplies of drinking water if necessary, while the system is being restored to normal operations.

GSWSA has “mutual aid” arrangements with various agencies and organizations, allowing us to call upon an extensive pool of resources during an emergency.

Hazardous Materials Release

Protecting public health and safety is, and always has been, the number one priority of Grand Strand Water & Sewer Authority.

Water and wastewater treatment requires the use of chemicals such as chlorine and ammonia, which if released into the atmosphere, can be potentially harmful. GSWSA has an excellent safety record with these chemicals. While we have had minor or “incidental” releases that were completely contained within our facilities, we have never had a release that posed any potential danger to the public.

Leak detectors and alarm systems are installed at every location where chlorine or ammonia is used. In the event of a leak, these systems will immediately detect it, activate an alarm light and audible alarm at the site of the leak, and send an Alarm Message to various pagers to alert Plant Operations personnel.

GSWSA is an active member of the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), and works closely with local responders to ensure preparations are in place in the event of an emergency.

Our emergency plans are tested and refined through an ongoing process of training, drills, and plan updates / revisions.

Severe Weather

GSWSA is committed to providing safe, clean, good tasting drinking water, and environmentally acceptable wastewater treatment at all times; even during severe weather events.

In the event of severe weather, GSWSA’s goal is to keep our water and wastewater systems operating safely and efficiently for as long as possible, while considering employee safety and the need to protect our facilities from damage. If it becomes necessary to shut down our facilities, we will do so in a manner that protects personnel and equipment, makes the best use of available resources, leaves the facility as protected as possible, and allows for quick restoration.


GSWSA’s emergency plans have withstood the test of wind and rain. Numerous severe weather events in past years have seriously challenged our plans and our implementation of them. Although storms have caused the loss of electricity to more than half of our entire system, water and wastewater services were never interrupted due to the effective implementation of our emergency plans and procedures.



      1. MEDIA GUIDELINES

The following guidelines are based on information published by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) and the AWWA Public Affairs Committee.





      1. MEDIA RELATIONS

Understand How the Media Works. In order to do their jobs, media representatives must gather as much information about a given topic as possible in a short amount of time, and then craft a story on the topic that is interesting, informative, and accurate. It is their JOB to be objective and report all sides of the story.

Respect the Media as Professionals. From time to time your professional perspective and obligations will not coincide with those of the media; they understand this, and so should you. Don’t overreact if they challenge you or the information you have presented. Interviews are opportunities to tell your story and get the correct information out there.

Develop Credibility; Be Open and Honest. Credibility is built on trust and may take a while to develop. Be open and honest with the media. Don’t leave out important facts and DON”T misrepresent what is true, even if this may force you to provide less favorable explanations for your organization.

Be Prepared. Communicate with employees throughout your organization and encourage them to call and inform you of any crisis or unusual, potentially newsworthy occurrence – positive or negative. If you know ahead of time that a main line has ruptured and water is rushing down the street, you have time to find out the facts and what’s being done to repair it BEFORE the media contacts you. Similarly, establish a protocol within your utility regarding the appropriate people or persons to speak with the media.

Be Proactive. If you know something newsworthy is occurring, tell the media before they need to call you. Bring them “into the loop” from the start. Develop a relationship with local reporters. Reporters are always looking for good stories – offer them ideas of ongoing and emerging occurrences and initiatives in your organization.

Return Media Calls and Be Responsive. Reporters work under tight deadlines. If someone calls to ask a question or get “your side of the story,” get back to them promptly. If they are seeking a subject matter expert or need to speak with someone else within the utility, be certain that person responds promptly. If you don’t, the reporter will likely find someone else and it may not work to your benefit.

Be Fair. When a reporter writes a good, well-balanced story, call or e-mail them to say you liked it and express your appreciation. If there is an error, consider the magnitude and the potential impact before reacting. Some mistakes can simply be let go. If one is particularly damaging, respectfully point out the error and offer the correct information. Being accusatory to the media – particularly in a public forum – is rarely beneficial in the long term.

Read the Paper, Listen to the Radio, Watch Television News. Become familiar with the media representatives in your area. The more you know about the person you’re talking with, the easier it will be to tailor your message so it will be received effectively.



      1. PREPARING for an INTERVIEW

Gather all the information about the situation: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How.

Write a summary statement to describe the incident; then rewrite it using half the words.

Write a sentence or two to describe how it affects the community and what you’re doing to inform, protect, correct, and repair the situation. Describe the record of your utility in serving the public responsibly and safely (including statistics, if appropriate).

Rewrite the sentence(s) above in the form of two to five main CONCISE [bullet-type] points you can emphasize. These are your “Key Messages.” Memorize them and practice speaking them, so you can feed them back easily during the interview. Reword the language, if necessary, to fit your speaking style.

Think of some questions you may be asked about the situation. What sorts of things have you heard the media ask in similar situations? As a viewer or consumer, what would you want to know? Practice answering these until you are comfortable with your answer.

Ask a couple of coworkers to listen to you and help you practice responding to questions.



      1. DURING an INTERVIEW

There is no “off the record.” Anything you say is fair game.

Statements should be brief, and to the point. You interview will likely end up being only 10 to 30 seconds of air time. Make yourself the “editor” of your comments, rather than leaving it in the hands of the news director.

Show compassion. Articulate your concern for the impacts on those affected by the crisis. Ensure you do not appear cold, uncaring or bureaucratic in your attitude. Meter your level of concern and empathy to the particular situation.

Show confidence. Do not appear nervous or unsure of what you’re saying. Reflect certainty and commitment that your utility will resolve the issue.

Do not provide personal opinions, conjecture, or respond to hypotheticals. If a reporter asks what you think of the situation or proposes a hypothetical, bring the point back to the situation at hand.

Never say “no comment.” This often leads to speculations that you know information you do not want to reveal or are trying to hide something.

It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” Do not try to provide information you are not certain about or guess at a response. Inform the reporter that you will find that information and get back to them. (Then do!)

Be honest. Do not lie to the media. [Do not attempt to belittle, minimize, distort, or in ANY way misrepresent the situation.]

Act naturally. Sincerity is important. You don’t want to seem tense or in any way out of control.

Appearance is important. Consider what you are wearing. Do you look like the person you would want to be relying on in an emergency?

Beware of becoming, or even seeming, defensive. Your best response to an apparent negative or “goading” question is to reiterate the positives, as you prepared in your Key Messages.





      1. EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION MATRIX

The following matrix indicates the Key Audiences to consider communicating with during each Emergency Event. The initials indicate who is responsible for ensuring communications with each audience as appropriate. These are guidelines only, and may change as conditions dictate.

Key Audiences




Emergency Events

Affected Depart and Employees

Board Of Directors

Mayor / Administrator / Town Council

SC DHEC

Horry County Police Dept.

FBI Local Office

Horry County Fire Dept.

City Fire Departments.

Horry County EMS

Horry County EOC

Local Hospitals / Medical Facilities

Critical Customers

Affected Customers

News Media / Public

Other Water and Sewer Utilities

SC OSHA

Employee Families

Hurricane

SM

CEO

CEO

IC







IC

IC




CEO

CEO

CS

CS

CEO

CEO

CEO




Tornado

SM

CEO

CEO

IC







IC

IC




CEO

CEO

CS

CS

CEO

CEO

CEO




Earthquake

SM

CEO

CEO

IC







IC

IC




CEO

CEO

CS

CS

CEO

CEO

CEO




Multiple Employee Injuries (3 or more)

SM

CEO



















IC



















CEO

CEO

Employee Fatality

SM

CEO







IC










IC



















CEO

CEO

Power Outage

SM




CEO

























CS

CS

CEO

CEO







Telephone System Failure

SM

CEO


































CEO










IT, MIS, SCADA System Failure

SM

CEO














































Cyber-Attack

SM

CEO







IC

CEO


































Major Water Leak

SM

CEO

CEO

























CS

CS

CEO










Water System Pressure Loss

SM

CEO

CEO

IC







IC

IC







CS

CS

CS

CEO

IC

CEO




Water System Contamination

SM

CEO

CEO

IC

IC













CEO

CS

CS

CS

CEO

IC

CEO




Loss of Water

SM




























CS

CS

CS

CEO

IC

CEO




Haz Mat Release

SM

CEO

CEO




IC




IC

IC

IC

CEO







CS

CEO










Confined Space Emergency

SM
















IC

IC

IC






















CEO

Trench Collapse

SM






















IC






















CEO

Fire / Explosion

SM

CEO













IC

IC

IC













CEO










Suspicious Mail or Package

SM

CEO







IC





































Vandalism / Stolen Property

SM










IC





































Violence / Assault

SM










IC










IC






















CEO

Armed Robbery

SM

CEO







IC





































Terrorist Attack

SM

CEO

CEO

IC

IC

CEO




CEO




CEO










CEO




CEO




CEO = CEO IC = Incident Commander CS = Customer Services SM = Senior Management




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