Whether you are a business owner, a manager or an employee, make sure you know what to do in the case of an emergency. Every business should have an emergency plan; it can save lives, assets and even the business itself. By planning today you will help protect your business investment and your livelihood, but will also support your employees, customers and stakeholders, the community, the local economy and the country.
Plan to stay in business:
This overview is designed to help owners and managers begin to think about business preparedness.
1. Know the risks facing your business
- Complete a continuity of operations plan that includes essential functions, critical business partners, alternate sites and vendors, a method for payroll continuity, an emergency planning team, a crisis management team and a means for reviewing plans annually.
- Emergency plans for employees should address how to communicate before, during and after an emergency, employees with disabilities and a schedule to practice and update plans.
- Encourage employees to have personal and business emergency kits.
- Discuss sheltering-in-place versus evacuating.
- Prepare for fire safety and medical emergencies.
2. Talk to your people
- Involve all levels of employees in the planning process. Develop internal communication and warning systems, setup a way for staff to get emergency information, encourage alternate transportation and maintain staff contact information.
- Practice the plan (including evacuating and sheltering-in-place) through seminars, trainings, tabletop exercises and walk throughs. Evaluate and revise plans and keep training records.
- Promote family preparedness to staff.
- Write a crisis communication plan to use during and after a disaster. This should deal with employees, management, public, customers, government and other businesses/neighbors.
- Support employee health and recovery after a disaster by offering food, rest and recreation. Encourage employees to seek care when needed, reassure them their families will be taken care of, re-establish routines, offer counseling, limit stress and take care of yourself.
3. Protect you investment:
- Review insurance coverage to clarify what is (not) covered, deductibles, how you will pay creditors and employees, how to provide your own income and what records are needed.
- Prepare for utility disruptions by determining what utilities are critical, learning how to turn off utilities, obtaining portable generators, setting up backup communications and internet access and addressing food storage issues.
- Ensure facilities are secure by testing fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, marking escape routes, assessing security and fire systems, planning for mail safety, identifying essential equipment and complying with safety codes.
- Secure your equipment by attaching it to walls (when possible), putting heavy or breakable items on low shelves, moving workstations away from windows and keeping electrical hazards off of the floor.
- Assess building air protection by maintaining your HVAC system, developing HVAC shut-down procedures, securing and limiting access to outdoor intake lines, upgrading the building’s filtration system and installing HEPA filter fan.
- Improve cyber security by using anti-virus software, practicing good computer safety, use firewalls, backing-up data, checking security regularly and subscribing to the national cyber alert system.
(Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security – ReadyBusiness)
For additional information for businesses please visit the following websites
For more emergency preparedness information please visit the following links