Emergency Action Plans: A Legal and Practical Blueprint Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail
52 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2005
The tragedies of 9/11, Katrina and Rita raised major problems with emergency responses, which did not proceed according to plan. Emergency action plans (EAP's) are a relatively new phenomenon, but the legal principles governing them are based in long-established rules of negligence.
Statutes, regulations, and professional standards often require the preparation of emergency action plans (EAP's) to facilitate the response, recovery, and rebuilding efforts when a disaster occurs. The tragic events of 9/11 prompted an article, published by the University of Pittsburg Law Review (63 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 791) three years ago. It laid out the legal issues invoved with emergency planning. The article discussed the three separate problems with EAP's: 1) Failure to prepare an EAP in the first instance; 2) Failure to follow the EAP; and 3) ineffectiveness of the EAP. The article has been substantially expanded since the initial publication in recognition of the reality that we are still on a steep learning curve with emergency planning.
The article was the third in a series dealing with the issues of disasters. The first, Act of God? or Act of Man? A Reapprisal of the Act of God Defense in Tort Law was published at 15 The Review of Litigation 1 (1996) and is available on SSRN. The second is The Duty to Disclose Geologic Hazards in Real Estate Transactions, 1 Chapman Law Rev.13 (1998). The thesis of the three articles is that natural disasters are generally foreseeable today, and even if they cannot be prevented, the effects may be ameliorated through the exercise of reasonable care in the planning and response efforts.
Keywords: Emergency Action Plans, Emergency Responses, Katrina, 9/11
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