Our professional lives at inFRONT are spent in conversation with refineries and chemical plants about the importance of continuous improvement in Emergency Response. In the process, we encounter facilities and emergency responder teams in varying states of readiness. Despite their differences, we engage with them in achieving the same goal: continuous improvement in Emergency Response.
Some sites are just getting started. Their drills are disorganized and they may not ever reach full accountability of staff on site. Others are able to gather data but rarely get to a point where they have actionable data.Then, there are some who have a solid process but don’t have the tools they need to manage the incident and analyze it after it’s over.
We use the metric of 15 minutes as our conversation starter: Every site should complete their site-wide headcount and have a trusted list of missing people within 15 minutes. (Production units within a site should be almost instant). Any longer than that, and you risk making the transition from rescue to recovery. Since many people ask us how to get to 15 minutes, I thought I would provide some thought starters here that mark the journey:
Define Your Process
This step is the embarkation point for the continuous improvement journey. Most sites have a defined mustering process that exists within the constraints of the age-old manual head-counting. Start there and measure your ability to obtain actionable data in 15 minutes or less. Follow the logical analysis: “Can we complete our mustering exercise in 15 minutes?” If not, use the next steps to decide how to get there.
Define the Data to Feed Your Process
Data definition answers the question, “What information do we need to achieve the mission of this process?” In mustering, the base data set is:
- Number of people on site
- Number of people on site who have mustered, their identity, and their location
- Number of people on site who have not mustered, their identity, and their last known location
More advanced mustering incorporates other meaningful data, but that can be ignored until a good handle on the basic information is established.
Gather Your Data
Data collection is the mode that enables you to achieve the 4 key attributes of actionable data:
- Pace – Is the data gathered fast enough to achieve the goal?
- Intuitive & Detailed – Is the data easy to understand and detailed enough to effectively inform decision makers?
- Trustworthy – Is the data complete and accurate?
Some facilities collect their data by manually counting heads while others harness the security system to collect their data through badge swipes. Each of these traditional methods falls short on more than one of the key attributes. These gaps represent significant vulnerability to a consistent process.
Analyze Your Data
The process can be measured by conducting drills and analyzing data after the drill is complete. In most cases, emergency response organizations discover after the drill that:
- Their data collection process fails to deliver actionable data to responders
- They don’t possess the data they need to measure their process effectively
- They are unable to define meaningful changes to the process that will get them better data faster.
Clearly, the key to getting to 15 minutes is creating the ability to collect and analyze data that will identify areas for process improvement. Without it, there can’t be the successive iteration, analysis and improvement that defines a continuous improvement process.
AllClear gives emergency response organizations the means to collect actionable data and drive their process more rapidly. In addition, AllClear Forensics provide the data necessary to identify gaps in the process and thereby highlight areas for improvement. With these foundational capabilities, AllClear users set themselves on a continuous improvement path that gets them to 15 minutes and beyond, giving them better information faster during events and making them ever more ready for the unexpected.