Reducing Personnel Emergency Response Times

2023 Spring Meeting and 19th Global Congress on Process SafetyIn an earlier post, Connecting with Experts in the Spring Event Season, I highlighted one of Greg McMillan’s presentations at the 2023 Spring AIChE & Congress on Process Safety meeting. Today I’ll recap a few things from Jacob Tardoni’s presentation that he shared this week.

Jacob’s presentation, Mapping an Evacuation in Real-Time—Digital Mustering with Wireless Personnel Location Technology, explored barriers to speedy evacuation & mustering and how to apply digital mustering technology to address and overcome these barriers.

He opened with a typical sequence of a personnel safety-related issue in a plant. The evacuation alarm sounds, people must head to designated muster points, a roll call is conducted at each muster point, time is spent determining the last-seen location of missing people, and search & rescue operations are performed. Together all these actions take valuable time, especially if CPR or other life-saving efforts are required. OSHA recommends a 3-4 minute response time in case of severe injuries.

Jacob shared some of the barriers to this fast response. These included:

  • Contractor / Visitor Workforce
  • Extremely complex site layout w/ dense infrastructure
  • Remote Workers
  • Panic / Tunnel Vision During an Emergency
  • Multiple Muster Points
  • Non-standard operations

Digital mustering/location awareness solutions can drive down response times. Once the evacuation alarm sounds and personnel head to muster points, the digital mustering technology automatically checks them in and identifies the location of any missing personnel. First responders can go precisely to that/those location(s).

The digital mustering solutions include location awareness software, wireless connectivity infrastructure, tag detectors/anchors around the facility wirelessly connected, and wearable personnel tags for all employees, contractors, and plant visitors.

Digital mustering/personnel location awareness

While GPS and Cellular-based solutions are great for outdoor plants with open areas, this digital mustering solution enables faster response times for plants without these conditions or locations where these technologies may miss.

This solution can be implemented with varying degrees of anonymity and privacy. These include:

  • Level 1—Personnel tags rotate between all staff and have limited access to the mapping interface
  • Level 2—Personnel identified by role
  • Level 3—Personnel identified by company, supervisor, or shift
  • Level 4—Tags assigned to individuals and software limits position history
  • Level 5—Tags assigned to individuals with expanded position history

Jacob recommended starting small by conducting pilots, identifying the IT and OT silos that need to be investigated and solved, engaging plant & contractor stakeholders early in the project, and identifying the technology owners to maintain a successful and effective mustering program.

Visit the Location Awareness page on for more on this solution and how to improve your plant personnel response times in an emergency.

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