Preparing for Business Disasters

Even though you may not operate in an area prone to natural disasters, other factors may arise without warning, putting your company at risk.  It could damage your property, as with fire or vandalism, or affect your workforce, such as a flu epidemic.  A backup generator to supply electrical power could prove invaluable in temporary power outages.  How well is your company prepared?  Consider the following:

Continuity of operations

Identify positions critical to the survival of your operation

Establish a succession of management

If possible, establish an alternate center of operations should circumstances prevent the current business center from being used

Assign specific responsibilities to key individuals in case of emergency

Protecting employees

Include preparedness information in internal communications

Designate an out-of-town phone number for employees to call in and leave an “I’m OK” message

Provide wallet cards with emergency procedures outlined

Identify all workers with special needs and create customized procedures for them

In addition, important documents should be protected.  Not only would these include key corporate records, but also employee contact sheets, site maps, building plans and insurance policies.  Ideally these should be kept in a waterproof, fireproof container.  A second set should be kept off-site.

Should an emergency prevent employees from leaving the building safely, supplies should be on hand to take care of basic physical needs (food, water, clean air and heat) and assist with any medical emergencies until help can arrive.  A radio and flashlights (with extra batteries), first aid kit, whistles (to signal rescue workers), a wrench and pliers to turn off utilities, plastic sheeting and duct tape to seal off areas of the building are good to have on hand. 

Several people in the company should have basic first aid and CPR training.  In addition, make sure employee emergency contact forms are updated regularly.  Keep copies with the emergency kit and off-site.

From www.ready.gov