DP World Caucedo’s disaster preparedness plan

By Mke Jarrett

Serious injury or death to a single port employee is a disaster to be prevented at all costs. To have an employee report for work but unable to return home to her family because of an accident on the job is disastrous, not only for bereaved families but for work colleagues as well.

Most ports take the business of employee safety very seriously. However, DP World Caucedo in the Dominican Republic has gone one better. The terminal lists its Emergency Management System as the very foundation of its disaster preparedness programme. And that system places ‘saving lives’ first and foremost.

“Our Emergency Management System includes an Emergency Management Plan that focuses on saving lives, protecting property, minimizing damage to the environment and business continuity,” the company stated.

By putting the saving of lives at the centre and building a disaster preparedness model around this priority, DP World Caucedo has taken a different approach. Its initiatives to reduce the impact of emergency situations and to speed up the response and recovery process start with the empowerment of its people.

“We provide personnel with the resources and skills to respond in a timely and controlled manner; to minimise exposure to injury,” the Company stated.

DP World Caucedo’s disaster preparedness programme is based on its Emergency Management System with four key phases: (i) prevention, (ii) planning and preparation, (iii) response, (iv) recovery and review.

The prevention phase of its Emergency Management System involves identification of potential emergency situations and formal risk assessments to identify: the sources of the problem; the consequences and likelihoods; the necessary controls to eliminate or reduce such likelihoods; the consequences and severity of the event; and, the resources needed should an emergency arise. This includes potential emergencies from surrounding neighbours or unrelated activities nearby.

Training of site personnel is a priority of the preparedness stage. This training includes induction training that consists of a familiarization programme for all site personnel, employees, contractors and visitors. It covers, among other things, location of assembly areas, fire alarms, incidents reporting. Skills training includes focus on the critical ‘initial response’ phase. It is at this early stage that an opportunity may be presented to effectively mitigate the emergency and so all DP World Caucedo employees are exposed to this particular component of the programme.


Competency-based training includes different emergency response activities, such as firefighting, first aid, rescue at heights or from confined spaces and spill control. This training component is specifically designed for the Emergency Brigades and members of the company’s Incident Command (established to ensure that emergency situations are handled in the most effective and efficient manner), supervisors and operations management.

“Only suitably trained personnel are allowed take the necessary steps to stabilize the disaster situation and minimize the potential for further loss,” the Company stated.

Emergency drills are also a huge part of DP World Caucedo’s preparedness phase.

“We have an annual drill programme that consists of about 12 different drills throughout the year to cover for different emergency scenarios such as hurricanes, spillages at sea, hazmat spills on site, evacuation, water rescue, etc. At least one exercise per year involves external Emergency Service Providers to evaluate their response. All drills include a formal debrief session post exercise to identify any changes or enhancements to site emergency procedures, or other corrective actions.”

The terminal operator has established close relationships with local authorities and entities such as the coast guard, local fire fighters, the port authority, and other public and emergency services. Through this network of responders and services, planned action can be implemented quickly and response to emergencies coordinated and delivered as if by a single unit.

“As part of the preparedness phase and based on the hazard identification process, we have developed emergency management protocols and procedures. As part of the response phase, where an emergency situation arises and there is little or no reliable information available, the site adopts a ‘worst case scenario’ approach until details can be confirmed. It is very important for us to maintain trained and competent emergency response team and provide appropriate resources on a 24 x 7 basis to be able to manage and control an emergency situation should it arise,” the company stated.


How does the DP World Caucedo emergency plan work?

  • On notification of an emergency situation, the site ‘Person in Charge’ (PIC) communicates and activates the appropriate emergency response plan.
  • The Incident Command (IC) takes over and co-ordinates the specific actions stipulated in the response plan. This includes the allocation of resources; declaring then activating a site or area evacuation; requesting assistance from external Emergency Service Providers; contact with neighbours; and, communication with site and regional DP World senior management.
  • The recovery process addresses the necessary requirements to return the site to operational effectiveness including the removal of damaged equipment, restoration or repair of essential services, critical infrastructure and assets. The well-being of employees and neighbors is also considered in the recovery phase and may involve external assistance in the form of counselling services.
  • The system to: report, investigate, and review incidents and emergency situations is implemented.
  • All emergency incidents involve a review of the Emergency Management Plan and the applicable emergency procedures. Recommendations identified in the de-briefing are included in the applicable procedures and communicated to all relevant personnel.
  • Changes to site activities and those of surrounding businesses or neighbours also trigger a review of the applicable procedures.

Fortunately DP World Caucedo has not yet had to fully deploy its Emergency Management Plan but with 12 structured drills throughout the year, the company ensures that it is always at the peak of preparedness and readiness. []

  • First published June 1, 2016