When it comes to planning for disaster, most business owners have only thought as far as their finances. When it comes to disasters, developing an emergency plan for your business can prevent and prepare for the unthinkable. Without an emergency plan, you could lose everything in the event of a catastrophe.
Disasters happen without warning, and when you’re unprepared, they can impede or destroy all the time, effort and energy that went into making your business what it is today. Taking steps today to safeguard your business from the effects of a disaster is a crucial step in planning and envisioning your company’s success.
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure your employees and assets are as safe as possible in the event of a disaster. Outlined below are crucial reasons why you should start setting up an emergency plan today -- before it’s too late.
It Could Save Lives
When disaster strikes, your employees’ well-being could be on the line. Even in less than dire circumstances, employees will need access, when possible, to their electronics, toiletries, facilities and important equipment. When the power is down or you’re required to shelter in place, take measures to have everything you need to maintain the health and safety of your staff.
Some of your employees may need electricity to charge or maintain important medical equipment. Without an emergency plan or important failsafes like a generator transfer switch, minor trouble can become very dangerous very quickly.
It Protects Your Business
You’ve invested countless hours into your company, and without a disaster plan, one single event can undo it all in the blink of an eye. This is not only a detriment to you, but to every one of your employees and the people who have kept you in business over the years.
Your company holds a place in the lives of many others, and protecting it also protects the interests of everyone involved.
It Aids Recovery
A well-developed disaster plan not only provides directives on what to do in the event of a catastrophe, but it also incorporates your company’s next steps. The more streamlined your company’s disaster response, the easier it will be to make recovery steps and get back on your feet as soon as possible.
Employees who are made aware of their employer’s disaster plan will not only feel prepared in the event of an emergency, but they can be key team players in the rebuilding process.
Creating Your Emergency Plan
Ready to develop a disaster plan for your company? Consider these tips when putting together your disaster response.
1. Stay Informed
With up-to-date notifications from governmental agencies, anticipating a disaster is more accurate than ever. While there may not be a lot of lead time, having access to the most current information can direct you and your team in their next steps to brace for the worst.
2. Designate a Team
Not only should your employees know their role when disaster strikes, but they should be adequately and periodically trained on how to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. Some employees may be in charge of logging a headcount, while others may be in charge of ensuring everyone access to the first aid kit. Whatever the assignment, make sure your employees know their job and know it well.
3. Research Your Area
Different parts of the world are more susceptible to one disaster over another. One company could get caught in a hurricane, while another might need to brace for an earthquake. Wherever you are, make sure you’re aware of the most likely disasters and take steps to prepare detailed plans for every occurrence. However, you never know what will strike in your area. Make your disaster plan as comprehensive as possible, even if a certain disaster seems unlikely.
4. Plan Evacuation Routes
If leaving the building is required in a disaster, designate specific routes for employees to leave the building as safely as possible. Elevators should never be used, and stairways and doorways should be clearly marked for use in the event of an emergency, so that even visitors are aware of the proper routes.
5. Conduct Drills
In order to simulate what a disaster situation would look like, perform drills with your staff so they can become acquainted with what is required of them in various situations. Different disasters will require different responses, so make sure your staff is briefed on what each of those conditions will look like for your company.
6. Write It Down
As you develop your plan, make sure it’s documented. Communicate your plan with your staff thoroughly, and revisit it periodically to keep the steps fresh in their memory. Any evacuation plan should be posted in a highly visible location, and important emergency equipment should be labeled and placed in accessible locations.
Creating a disaster plan is often far from anyone’s mind, but it’s a nonnegotiable part of running a business. With a plan, you can ensure that your employees, your customers and your hard work are all safe, secure and protected from whatever comes your way.