In the moments immediately after an emergency or disaster, it will be onsite personnel that will be the first responders until police, fire or other emergency agencies arrive.  Response activities take place during an emergency and include actions to save lives and prevent injury or further property damage.

In a large scale disaster, aid and assistance from state or national agencies may be days or weeks away.  This makes prior planning and preparedness critical. The initial response to an emergency can greatly affect the severity and consequence of an event.   

Each type of emergency or disaster will require specific responses, but in every case, trained staff, proper resources, and a communication plan are essential.  An “all hazards” approach to emergency preparedness lays the foundation for an appropriate response.  Probable fundamental responses should be exercised for possible events. 

Building occupants should be familiar with both evacuation and shelter-in- place procedures.  Building personnel should be well-versed in emergency communication and protocols for notifying occupants. 

Many resources for knowing how to respond can be found at various government and disaster relief agencies.  The list in the Resources section below includes some broad-based resources that carry links to more specific materials related to emergency response.