How long can your business last without electricity, phones, employees, or customers? It’s not a matter of if a disaster will happen; it is a matter of when it will happen. The question is how will it affect you and what will you do about?
Some effects of disaster are common such as loss of utilities, debris clogged roads, and some employees unable to report for work. How will your business be impacted during a rare occurrence such as a pandemic flu with a projected 30% to 40% absenteeism, loss of facilities due to tornado or other major issues?
Your business is a vital part of our community. It is important to you, your employees, customers and the city. Creating an emergency plan may be easier than you think and will be of great benefit to you and your company in the event of a major emergency. Going thru the emergency planning process can help your business recover from emergencies faster, safeguard your employees and provide guidance on your response to extraordinary circumstances.
It might be helpful to form a committee of managers and employees of your company to help you in the emergency planning efforts and any responses that might be needed.
One of the first tasks the committee should perform is an analysis of the risks that you face. You’ll want to consider natural hazards such as severe weather and manmade hazards like utility disruptions, chemical spills, etc. Look for hazards that are both external and internal to your company. The American Red Cross has developed a FREE tool to help you called Ready Rating. You can access the website here: www.readyrating.org
Plan for two situations: sheltering in place and evacuating. To shelter in place for high winds and tornadoes; select a room on the lowest level possible away from doors and windows in small interior rooms such as closets and restrooms. For evacuating consider the critical tasks that must be completed before leaving if it is safe to do so. Don’t forget to consider customers and visitors in your plan including individuals that might have functional or access needs.
Identify an alternate work site, if feasible, in case your main facility is unavailable. This might include considering allowing employees to work from home or other unaffected locations.
Memorializing your plan in writing will give you documentation to review periodically, train new employees, etc.
A FREE business emergency plan template is available from Ready.Gov here: http://www.ready.gov/sites/default/files/documents/files/sampleplan.pdf