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  What is a Preplan?


Information by National Fire Protection Association - Publication 1620 - "Recommended Practice for Pre-Incident Planning" - 1998 Edition
Available for Purchase from NFPA


What is Preplan?

A preplan is a document containing detailed information about a facility that allows staff or first responders (police, firefighters, emergency medical staff, school emergency preparedness coordinators, public health disaster coordinators, etc.) to quickly and effectively respond to any crisis situation at that location.

A preplan is also considered to be a detailed assortment of critical information about your facility that is assembled as part of the pre-incident planning process. A preplan may also be used during training exercises, assessment activities and for updating visual and written records of changes that occur at a site.

Businesses that have hazardous materials on site are required to file a preplan with the city or county fire department. These preplans have usually been assembled in three-ring binders containing such vital information as plot plans, site plans, emergency contact information, photographs, material safety data sheets and other site specific information that can be used by first responders during an emergency.

One problem with three-ring binder preplans is they are difficult to keep current. Also, if a page or section of the preplan is removed, vital information is not accessible. As a master preplan changes, someone must be responsible for updating all other copies of the preplan. This is extremely time consuming when in paper form.

In the late 1990’s a few innovative individuals began converting preplans contained in three-ring binders into computer-based HTML preplans that could be stored on a single CD-ROM. Their first preplans were created using HTML (hypertext markup language) or by using off-the-shelf computer design programs, such as Microsoft Front Page, Dreamweaver or Page Mill. The HTML is used to create preplan "sites" that can incorporate text, graphics, sound, video, and hyperlinks that can be viewed from a CD-ROM, Internet or Intranet access. These "sites" are created one page at a time and require training and practice before any person develops enough skill to design a finished HTML preplan.

In 1998 the software developers at Visual Imagry, Inc. began designing an HTML based program called Visual Incident Planning that has evolved into VIPlanning® Software.

The program is simple to install and allows you to produce pages rich in pictorial and graphic content, without hiring a computer expert or spending time mastering complicated programs. Visual Imagry's creative team has created HTML preplans for more than 200 schools, chemical plants, tank farms, railroad yards and businesses.

Recently, computers have become commonplace for fire and police departments, emergency managers, or others tasked with collecting critical data about a facility of any type. Along with the advancements in technology, has come affordability for the tools necessary to create an HTML preplan. Required tools include digital cameras, software and laptop computers.

HTML preplans created today are often called “virtual tours” of a facility. These completed HTML preplans allow staff or first responders (police, firefighters, emergency medical staff, etc.) efficient access to various kinds of information they might require for emergency planning, exercising, responding or recovery efforts.

> What Information do you need to include in a preplan?




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