Emergency Preparedness and Security

The capacities to live, make food, and maintain hygiene are dependent on a supply of safe water. In an event that disrupts daily routine, residents need water to cure disease, extinguish fires or avoid evacuation. Essentially, water is important to everyday life. It cannot stop flowing when disasters occur. Operating a water plant comes with a responsibility to the public trust. Water system operators should be ready to work when others are expecting to stay home.

Below you will find information on various topics to help you be better prepared should an incident affecting drinking water occur.

ODW Emergency Response Plan - ODW Emergency Response Plan

An emergency response plan (ERP) is a course of action developed to mitigate the damage of potential events that could endanger an organization's ability to function. Such a plan should include measures that provide for the safety of personnel and, if possible, property and facilities. For community water systems this plan:

    • Identifies personnel responsible for emergency response to an incident,
    • Identifies foreseeable natural and human-caused emergency events including water shortages and outages,
    • Describes the emergency response plan for each identified event,
    • Describes notification procedures, and
    • Identifies and evaluates all facilities and equipment whose failure would result in a water outage or water quality violations
    • An emergency response plan for non-transient non-community systems contains the positions and phone numbers of responsible persons to contact in the event of an emergency.

The main points to remember about an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) are:

  1. Your ERP is always a work in progress. Add new phone numbers, new scenarios, and new people on an on-going basis. At a minimum, it should be completely checked when:
  2. When making a modification to the water system,
  3. Whenever there are changes to personnel, equipment, contact information or anything that would affect the accuracy of information in the ERP, and/or
  4. Once per year (recommendation: check your plan in September, which is National Emergency Preparedness Month).
  5. The ERP should be in an easily modifiable format - such as a three ring binder - so updates are easy to complete.
  6. The ERP should be easy to use. It should contain tabs with different types of events with tear-out pages that would guide anyone faced with a particular event.
  7. Distribute the ERP to several locations where an operator, administrative contact or a system owner could consult it at a moment's notice.

Emergency Planning Guidance

Below are some links to assist you in writing your emergency plans. There are also some templates to assist you in the planning process.

NOTE: Do not wait until an emergency to access these links. Develop your plan in advance so that it is available to guide you during an emergency.