Pre-Incident Planning for Hazmat Emergencies

by | Nov 27, 2023

When it comes to preventing loss of life, injury, and property damage, a robust pre-incident response plan goes a long way. They’re a requirement in many places, and when they’re not, it’s a best practice. At Building Maps, we know how valuable pre-incident plans are, especially in hazmat emergencies.

What Is a Pre-Incident Plan?

A pre-incident plan is a document for emergency responders that outlines how to effectively manage an emergency in a way that protects occupants, the first responders themselves, property, and the environment. (NFPA 1620- 2010 Ed).

Because certain chemical products and other hazardous materials often require special handling, a comprehensive pre-incident plan should give anyone who arrives on site the knowledge they need to respond in a safe and effective manner.

Why Pre-Incident Plans for Hazmat Emergencies Matter

First responders can’t do their job well if they don’t know what type of situation they’re walking into—especially when controlled substances or dangerous waste products are part of the equation. If you’re considering creating a pre-incident plan, or are advocating for plan creation to others, consider that a thorough pre-incident plan can:

  • Make sure an emergency is handled efficiently by first responders
  • Outline how to prioritize protecting both building occupants and the first responders themselves
  • Address any gaps in regulations that apply to the storage and handling of hazardous substances
  • Solidify any industry best practices or standards that responding personnel might not be aware of
  • Quickly communicate how to navigate your facility

We are strong advocates for extensive emergency preparedness planning, and are proud to support organizations in this process, especially those handling hazardous substances.

What’s Included in a Pre-Incident Hazmat Emergency Plan?

Your pre-incident hazmat emergency plan should be tailored to your unique situation. Here’s what is recommended for most plans involving hazardous substances:

  • Any lessons you may have learned from previous incidents
  • Unified command details
  • Evacuation maps
  • The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s Emergency Response Guidebook

Making an effective evacuation map for your pre-incident emergency plan takes a tremendous amount of experience and expertise—not just of mapmaking and wayfinding, but of the relevant codes, governing bodies, and emergency response best practices. At Building Maps, our illustration teams are trained in codes and standards from OSHA, ICC, and NFPA. We know how to create the right map for your situation and are ready to help you get started today.

Undergoing Pre-Incident Planning? Building Maps Can Help

If you’re ready to make your facility a safer place, don’t wait to create or update your evacuation map. We offer free quotes and are happy to help answer any questions you might have about the process, your project, or what regulations you might need to comply with in your planning process. Get in touch with our team today to get started by sending us a message or calling toll-free at 877.866.9696. We look forward to speaking with you!

Tony Jones

About the Author: Tony Jones, CFPS, is the owner and founder of Building Maps. He is a safety mapping and code compliance expert. Tony holds his work to the highest standard because he knows “it’s not just a map, it’s about saving lives.”

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