Natural disasters or other emergency situations can strike at any time – often without any warning at all. Being prepared in advance for the likelihood of an emergency situation can help protect your business.
Situations that could affect your business include fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, other severe weather events, earthquakes, terrorist attacks, gas leaks and chemical spills – to name just a few.
Preparing for different scenarios in advance and knowing what to do when an emergency unfolds can make a huge difference to your business’ survival going forward.
When you carry out emergency management planning you are able to identify risks to your organization as well as what the critical areas are and what you can do to protect them.
An emergency management plan will also ensure you have business continuity and recovery planning processes so your organization can survive and recover from a range of emergency situations.
Tips for planning for emergencies include:
1. Knowing what your objectives are
In addition to immediately responding to an emergency situation and ensuring business continuity, other objectives for your business may include hazard prevention and deterrence, regulatory compliance and risk mitigation.
Depending on your business and the industry you work in, your objectives might be different to even the business located next door.
2. Be thorough with your risk assessment
Examine different hazard and threat scenarios by carrying out a comprehensive risk assessment to determine what your business is vulnerable to.
3. Determine a range of response procedures
What actions should people take in the event of certain scenarios? This should include evacuation and shelter responses as well as steps to protect life, property and assets depending on the particular emergency.
4. Have the resources your staff need for an emergency situation
What systems do you have in place to handle different potential emergency situations? This includes not just plans and processes, but investing in people, systems and equipment too.
For example, how would you alert all staff to an escalating emergency situation in a timely manner? Have you considered investing in a cost-effective mass notification system such as DeskAlerts to warn your employees quickly in the event of a crisis?
5. Make sure your staff are well-trained
You can have the best plan in the world…on paper. But when it comes to actually carrying it out, if your staff don’t know what to do then that plan becomes useless.
Train your staff well to understand what they need to do in the event of an emergency. Practice it through drills and role-playing scenarios so they can jump to action when confronted with the real deal.
6. Make sure your important data is protected
Important files such as contracts, company records and financial data shouldn’t live in a filing cabinet. You should have digitized versions of all of this important information – with offsite storage to boot. Remind employees that data stored on their hard drives and not on a company server or in the cloud can be lost forever in the event of a disaster.