Emergency planning and disaster exercises
Despite all prevention measures, a major accident may still occur. That is why authorities and companies draw up emergency plans.
Internal emergency plan
In an emergency, the operator of the establishment must try to bring the situation under control as soon as possible. All Seveso establishments have an internal emergency plan for this.
Operators are also obliged to notify the authorities in case of an incident.
External emergency plan
Every mayor or governor must have a general emergency and intervention plan for their municipality or province. A general emergency and intervention plan provides general guidelines to better manage any type of emergency situation.
The major accident hazard requires additional preparation measures. That is why provincial governors also draw up a special emergency and intervention plan in accordance with the Seveso Directive. This is mandatory when there is an upper-tier establishment in its territory.
In other words, this emergency plan supplements:
- The internal plan of the Seveso establishment.
- The general emergency and intervention plan of the municipality/province.
- The mono-disciplinary intervention plan. A mono-disciplinary intervention plan is a plan that is drawn up by each discipline, for instance a medical intervention plan or a fire brigade intervention plan.
This special emergency plan contains:
- a description of the risks.
- a description of the emergency planning zones. Emergency planning zones are areas in which the various authorities and emergency services prepare protective measures. Emergency planning zones are calculated based on the risks and their possible effects.
- a description of the organisation of the intervention areas. Intervention areas are those applicable at the time of the emergency. An evaluation of the situation at the time of the emergency will determine the intervention area.
- a contact list of all partners involved.
- a list of accident scenarios.
- the specific procedures for the major accident hazard, e.g. on information to the public.
- the specific measures for the protection of the population and property.
When drafting a new special emergency and intervention plan, or in case of a major change to an existing emergency plan, the governor makes the draft of this plan available in the municipality where the establishment is located. Residents can then inspect the public parts of this plan and submit comments.
Authorities and companies practise the different emergency plans every three years. Such exercises help to test (new) procedures, evaluate their feasibility and familiarise everyone with their role in an emergency. An evaluation takes place after every exercise.