Major Incident Planning and Support (MIP+S) Level 2

80 videos, 4 hours and 32 minutes

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The importance of planning

Video 77 of 80
4 min 31 sec
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We are at a quarry site and we need to look at the importance of planning and why we need to have a plan that works, that is tried and tested in place for the site, and it has to be site-specific. So, what are your feelings about planning? How is it done? Why is it done? And is it done badly? What is your experience with this?

I think the more prepared you are for an event, the better you will be able to handle it and planning is very much part of that preparation process. So that as an organisation such as this quarry, it proves that you have assessed the risks, you provided mitigation for that. And it will help you with the after the action of you are fortunate enough to have an event, because once the lawyers descend and start saying, "Well, do you think about that? Were you prepared? Did you have a plan? Did you plan in isolation? Have you worked with others? Have you tested the plan?" They will go into such detail as to if you have had staff trained? Not only did you have the staff trained, when they were trained, who trained them and who trained the trainer? Health and safety are able to get into some real detail in terms of the qualifications and the content of absolutely everything. And certainly, planning is a process that helps you find risks that you perhaps were not aware of before.

So in your experience as a tier-one responder and as an incident manager for many, many years with an extremely large ambulance service. When you arrive on the scene at the incidents that you have attended, where have you found the problems? Do you find companies are prepared for you arriving on the scene or do you feel or find that there are gaps in what they have actually got in place?

I think there is always going to be gaps, particularly where organizations may have planned, but they have actually planned in isolation, internally only, without any reference to outside agencies. And just having that discussion and understanding that if you have a major incident, you may have up to 100 ambulance vehicles arriving. Where are you going to hold those? Where are they going to go? How can your people help with the marshalling of those? Et cetera. And that's just the simple thing like parking and allowing the services to get on-site.

So I'm taking it from what you are saying that a lot of places have their own internal preparation or their own internal plan, but that plan does not necessarily neatly mesh into what the emergency services are going to be doing when they arrive. So they have got their own little set of ideas of what is going to happen, but they have not thought about what happens when 100 ambulances and a whole lot of fire engines turn up to the incident. And also potentially not thought about scribing the detail and the information gathering that needs to be in place for post-incident. So when they get interrogated by all the services in the HSE, they have not got anything in place to be able to mitigate the risk.

I think that is quite a valid point, actually. Logging the information, not showing, not only what have you done before, but what you did during the event. The timeliness of your decisions, when those decisions were made. Because actually, to be fair, a decision can be right at one point in time but wrong later because the information has changed or the circumstances change. But providing that you can show that you had a thought process and a decision-making process that was accurate with the information you had at that point in time, that will stand you well for any future inquiries that you go on.

So also, again, we are talking at the moment, and we are in a quarry site, but I am presuming that you think that this is something that is useful on all sites where we have got multiple people.

I think anybody that deals with either a large first workforce or large members of the public, be you a stadium, a concert hall, a shopping mall, an industry business, a large retail park, et cetera, needs to have some preparation and planning as part of what they do.