« Business Continuity

Tabletop exercises provide sufficient preparation for real evacuations

When an emergency situation happens - like a train derailing - it's beneficial when tabletop exercises have taken place. That way, individuals are fully prepared.
When an emergency situation happens - like a train derailing - it's beneficial when tabletop exercises have taken place. That way, individuals are fully prepared.

One of the best ways businesses can prepare for an emergency situation is to try to prevent one from happening. However, that is not easy to do, and as such, many organizations should conduct tabletop exercises, ensuring that all employees understand the safest procedures and how their actions will affect the successful outcome.

Comprehensive business continuity planning should account for natural disasters and other outside forces. Companies cannot control everything that might impact their daily operations and it's crucial for employees to be well-prepared.

New Jersey train derails, spilling toxic chemicals

On Friday, a freight train derailed in Paulsboro, New Jersey, releasing hazardous gases into the air. Many residents complained of breathing problems and 40 were sent to Underwood Memorial Hospital, according to The Associated Press.

The train was going over an old-style swing bridge that apparently buckled, three years after a similar failure. Specifically, state Senate president Stephen Sweeney, said he had been told about complaints made in recent weeks about noise coming from the bridge and that Conrail – the freight company – was looking into it.

Authorities told the source that at least four of the cars on the bridge contained vinyl chloride and a fifth was hauling ethanol.

"Most vinyl chloride is gone from your body a day after you breathe or swallow it," reported the AP. "Breathing high levels of the gas can cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy. Breathing very high levels can cause you to pass out, and breathing extremely high levels can cause death."

In situations such as this, emergency first responders and even local residents will be able to respond quickly when they have performed tabletop exercises. The same holds true for businesses. When all employees have been properly trained, business resumption can be prompt and individuals will know how best to keep themselves safe.