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Managing Emergencies in the Port


There have been enormous increases in emergency cases in most of our ports worldwide. This has called for efforts to come up with the most appropriate and immediate action to ensure that most of these risks are reduced if not being eliminated. For this to happen, the harbor manager who is also in charge of managing emergencies should at least have sufficient skills in coordinating the human resources and also the material resources to attain the results required for the emergency to be addressed. The harbor master should have thought about the users of the port and their needs identified together with their connected uncertainties and also having some foresight on how to respond to such uncertainties. It is a matter of common knowledge that the cases of these emergencies may not necessarily be a common event in any particular port thus making the ports carry out what are known as exercises to test whether their plans to respond to emergencies are effective or not and see what lessons to learn from such exercises to do some improvements on their strategies. These exercises are supposed to be undertaken on regular basis to make sure that these emergency plans are up-to-date since the technology is rapidly changing. There are various types of exercises and their choice largely depends on their cost-effectiveness also and how the personnel is skilled to perform such tasks. The successful execution of these exercises will serve to instill confidence and trust among the users and also the public at large that adequate measures are there for their safety and therefore they do not need to worry about any critical incidence. In this study, we are going to prepare an exercise for responding to a major emergency. We will also illustrate why our choice of exercise is better than other options.

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Exercise description

Here we are going to consider undertaking an exercise to confirm if the emergency plans for responding to the incidence of fire in port are effective and if not so to identify various ways of improving the strategies. In our case, we are going to prefer to undertake live exercise. This is because live exercises provide a real picture of the degree of effectiveness of the response team and their strategies. It also uses such terms as casualties which add to the greater magnitude to the sense of reality in the course of undertaking the exercise thus giving effective orientation to real-life scenarios. It also tests very well the communication among the personnel running the exercise which is of great importance since in the time of the occurrence of incidence the communication is usually not that smooth because most of the staff are usually under shock and they are not in a good position to give meaningful information and thus this will familiarise them to such occurrences thus perfection. Also, the techniques of responding and properly handling the media can be well articulated. This is very important because if the media is not properly handled it can damage the personal reputation of the individual staff and also that of the organization thus making the organization to be out of business. For our exercise to be a success the following tasks have to be undertaken.

Organization abilities identified first

First one has to identify how the institutions can undertake their exercise process. The duties which the institution performs are also to be put into consideration and also the goals of the institution. Here we are going to look at how theisrsonnel are equipped in terms of proper and relevant training to undertake the task. The relevant and most effective material resources should also be put in pl and the most accessible manner to the respond, ers. Also the refreshment facilities should be in place to ensure that the people who are responding to the incident can rest and also eat and drink. This is because the duration of the incidence is unpredictable and it can last in terms of hours, weeks, or even in terms of months. Thus this calls for a well thought out recreation and resting facilities to ensure that the responders re-energize to become more effective than before. Also, the equipment should be of the most recent technology which can adequately address the incidence of fire without being limited to a particular magnitude of the incidence. Thus should accommodate the strongest magnitude that can be ever thought of in any real occurrence of fire. The institution should allocate relevant duties to different personnel to ensure that each person undertakes the tasks which he or she is comfortable with within the course of undertaking the exercise to test emergency plans on fire. The institution sets goals, at any given moment in time to ensure that it has an effective safety plan to deal with any kind of emergency and this goal should be quite flexible to accommodate any proposed changes and improvements. The most reliable and effective way to improve on efficiency so as achieve the set goals is to carry out many exercises.

Scenario designing

The scenario of the anticipated incidence should be well thought out to reflect on real possible occurrences for one to come up with a perfect design. The scenario should be located and all possible facilities put in place. These facilities should also include the trigger of the fire being in a very strategic position which is not possible to predict with certainty. This is because in almost all the cases which have ever occurred in the world the source of the cause is usually not anticipated. The scenario should be based on the riskiest area and complex to handle to ensure the responders gain a lot of experience after performing the salvage process and they will have a lot of recommendations to make to the responsible authorities for any change to the safety policies or any improvisations in their strategies. The well-designed scenario will result in adequate adaptation to the real situation in case one occurs in the near or late future and thus this will make them pond with very little shock enabling the emergency response strategies to work with enormously positive impact.

Exercise development

At this point, the exercise is developed. The order of activities is organized by first publishing the support documents which will be used as a guide to what will be happening in the course of the exercise. The support document should be very clear and understandable by all stakeholders so that they can be in a position to perform their tasks allocated in the exercise with maximum effectiveness and accuracy. The handbooks should contain all relevant details of activities to be undertaken stipulating the specific duties to individual members in different positions and fields. For example, one should be told what to do at a particular time and in the course of a specific incidence happening and telling him or her to whom he or she is accountable. The manuals should also indicate the coordination of all personnel from the harbormaster to the technical staff and most especially outline the communication procedures. The well-articulated manuals will lead to a well-executed exercise thus giving relevant lessons to learn and adopt crucial changes to the emergency strategies.


The proper logistics should also be undertaken. This will involve ensuring that all that is required for the exercise to be undertaken is adequately provided for in required amounts. The budget for everything which will be required during the exercise should be well drafted and presented to the relevant people. The budget should cover equipment, remuneration of the hired personnel, and other expenditures to be incurred such as food and many others. The record-keeping is of great importance here to facilitate accountability. The budget should always be flexible to accommodate for any given changes in items budgeted for. This is because the incidence duration can not be predicted with certainties since it may take longer than anticipated for and thus a flexible budget is highly suitable and advised. This will lead to smooth learning of the exercise and thus overall effective emergency strategy.

Exercise undertaking

Now the exercise will be undertaken by first ensuring that all the required resources are in place and then the cause of the incidence is triggered. The relevant communication will need to be transmitted to relevant people and particularly to the harbormaster. The relevant team should respond to the incidence with due effect. The public relations officer should start issuing holding statements to the relevant stakeholders and especially to the media. This will ensure that the media is well handled by the public officer to ensure that they do not damage the reputation of the port. Also in the process, the word casualties should be used to refer to the affected persons who should be saved in the process. The efforts should be made to salvage the properties and people also and at the same time stop the fire before doing a lot of harm.

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The evaluation method should be well selected to ensure that the recommendations made are accurate. Here the damages should be analyzed and their cost attached. The magnitude of the incidence should also be measured so that it can be compared to the amount of damage caused to determine how effective the exercise was. The recommendations should be made as per this analysis by addressing the detected loopholes in the exercised emergency plan. Various changes to the plan should be suggested and explanations be given. Also, credit if any should be given to the existing plan and when another exercise should be undertaken.

Why live exercises are preferred to other options

The live exercises are highly appropriate to use because they give a real experience of somehow real incidence. Secondly, they involve the use of words such as casualties which give properties of realism in the exercise. Also, the knowledge of dealing with the media is highly acquired since the media is also incorporated in real practice when undertaking live exercises. Here communication is of great importance and thus the shock tolerance is improved which is a key factor to the effective execution of an emergency plan. The live exercises involve qualified experts in undertaking the various tasks which makes it the most reliable method of testing the emergency plans as compared to all other types of exercises.


From the above undertaking, it is very clear that running an exercise for the emergency plan is of paramount importance in preparing for any particular emergency. This enables the institution to be well prepared in terms of the equipment required, the training that the personnel should be equipped with, and also the challenges that the institution is likely to face in the process of the real situation of incidence. Besides, budgeting for emergencies is very important because it enables the organization to plan on the materials required during the occurrence of a real incident. Exposure to these exercises contributes to the perfection of emergency handling skills.

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