Emergency management planning has matured in the oil and gas industry over the last 30 years. As part of such planning, essential personnel— or employees who stay on the job when everyone else is leaving— perform vital tasks to mitigate risks related to human security, loss of assets, and damage to the environment. This paper defines the specific problems related to maintaining business continuity while dealing with the human issue of moving families of employees out of volatile yet sensitive security zones.

Companies can use managed approaches to identify families of employees who stay on the job, meet their evacuation needs, and devise methods by which employees and their families can communicate with one another during evacuations and other emergencies. Employees, confident their families are safe, can then focus on the critical business tasks at hand, and once families are relocated, people outside the emergency zone can render aid and comfort.

This paper discusses the challenges that decision-makers, workers, and families in the industry face when implementing or following crisis and emergency response procedures during real-life evacuations. In some evacuations, industry health, safety and environment (HSE) personnel have to move quickly to analyze each situation, apply crisis management tools, secure sensitive assets, and evacuate staff and their families. In a large global company, the business-phased return for one country can coincide with the evacuation from another.

The paper also adds historical context to the evolution of emergency and crisis management communication and planning through analysis of a series of interviews with people in the oilfield industry who were involved in past evacuations. The analysis draws parallels and differences between then and now, identifying best practices and also potential challenges for the future.

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