As a leader in your organization, it’s your responsibility to not only protect the jobs of your employees, but their general safety. One of the best ways to invest in long-term stability of your business is to create a comprehensive emergency plan that protects both people and information in the event of a destructive, unforeseen event.
“Everyone needs a comprehensive emergency plan,” shared Rick Isaacson, CEO of Servpro Industries, LLC. “The key to getting your life or business back on track is timely response after a disaster strikes.” If you’re in the process of developing your emergency preparedness plan, here are five key actions worth adding to your checklist:
1. Assess Risk
Perform a comprehensive evaluation of your facility—both inside and outside—to identify the vulnerable areas of your space that need consideration in your emergency plan. This process can include asking questions like:
- Are there adequate exits in our building, especially near high-traffic areas?
- Is our business data and information stored in a secure location, with an additional backup location or source?
- What kind of natural forces should we plan for, and are we prepared against a variety of inclement weather?
A comprehensive audit of your space will help guide all future decisions and should be continually updated based on office renovations, changing personnel or procedure updates.
2. Purchase Insurance Coverage
Natural disaster insurance should be purchased according to your organization’s regional location. The type of coverage required can vary based on the realities of hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, floods or earthquakes in your area. In many cases, an investment in Business Property Insurance, Commercial Property Insurance or Business Interruption Insurance will be required.
3. Focus on Prevention
Just as important as your reaction to an emergency is the way you plan to prevent it in the first place. Leverage preparation checklists from the United States Small Business Association (US SBA) to help guide your priorities and actions. For example, in order to prevent electrical fires, a business should create a strategic electrical distribution system, maintain a one-device-per-outlet policy, avoid using power strips and conduct regular electrical inspections.
4. Create a Clear Action Plan
The development of a comprehensive emergency plan isn’t something that happens over night, but with the right support of colleagues and experts, you’ll be able to create a plan that can be operated against in the future. Your plan should be straightforward and avoid using complex language, ensuring the information can be shared with and understood by all employees. Create opportunities for ongoing training of the procedures outlined in your action plan and be open to adjusting your approach based on new information or potential threats.
5. Designate an Emergency Response Team
Let members of your team take ownership of your emergency plan and distribute responsibilities evenly to ensure that nothing is overlooked. Safety is something that all employees can and should contribute to. In order to ensure that your business and employees are protected against emergencies, make sure you have a strategic plan in place that addresses office vulnerabilities, focuses on prevention and can be clearly shared with and followed by your whole team.