Getting Started

Before You Begin

Assemble your organization's emergency planning documents. This might include a safety plan, emergency communications plan, or even an existing Emergency Action Plan. Take some time to assess the following in your existing documents:

  • Is your plan based on a recent Hazard Vulnerability Assessment?
  • Is it "all-hazards," meaning the plan can be used for a variety of incidents?
  • Is it specific to your facility?
  • Does it have all of the required elements for your industry requirements or regulations (i.e., State of New Hampshire Licensing, OSHA, Fire & Life Safety Codes, or Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS))?

Don't worry if your existing plans do not meet all of the above criteria. Following this toolkit will allow your organization to develop an Emergency Action Plan that is current, all-hazards, facility-specific, and regulation-compliant.


This toolkit will assist your organization in the creation of four emergency planning documents:

1. Hazard Vulnerability Assessment

      • A Hazard Vulnerability Assessment (HVA) provides an approach to recognizing hazards that may prevent your particular business or organization from providing services. The risks associated with each hazard are analyzed to prioritize planning, mitigation, response and recovery activities.

2. Emergency Action Plan

      • An Emergency Action Plan (EAP) is a written document that facilitates and organizes employer and employee actions during an emergency situation. This toolkit provides sector-specific plans that, depending on your sector-specific requirements and regulations, will be compliant with OSHA, Fire and Life Safety Codes, State Licensing Requirements, and CMS. You may also know of this document as an Occupant Emergency Plan, Emergency Response Plan, or Emergency Operations Plan.

3. Continuity of Operations Plan

      • A Continuity of Operations plan is designed to outline a range of disaster scenarios and the steps an organization can take to continue providing critical services until they can return to normal day-to-day activities. You may also know of this document as a Business Continuity Plan.

4. Resiliency Next Steps

      • After completing the other components of the Toolkit, your organization will need to decide what improvements, modifications, equipment, and training will enhance your organization's resilience to all threats and hazards. Consider the costs of each of the options, and allocate resources where they would be the most beneficial. These recommendations should be incorporated into your yearly training schedule, capital improvements plan, and your annual budget.

Quick Tips

Here is some general guidance to make sure this process runs smoothly:

  • Follow the toolkit in order. Although you may already have some of the planning documents mentioned above, take the time to review and update them as you complete the process.
  • What's the difference between the Emergency Action Plan and the Continuity of Operations Plan...they seem like the same thing?
    • Emergency Action Plan explains what needs to be done because of an emergency or disaster.
    • Continuity of Operations Plan explains what needs to be done despite an emergency or disaster
  • Ask for help. Whenever you get stuck or are unsure, email us. This email is monitored by emergency preparedness and public safety professionals who can answer all of your questions and provide feedback.
  • Don't give up! Planning is not a one-time activity. Good emergency plans are reviewed and updated regularly. Depending on where you start, it may take time to develop a comprehensive plan for your organization.