As crucial as having a business plan is for the survival of a business, having an emergency plan holds equal importance. An emergency can strike without warning and can turn out to have a major impact on the business’s future if there isn’t a plan in place.
A business emergency plan is like a contingency plan. It will prepare you and your employees to handle any situation accurately. This will help in minimizing damage, panic and confusion considerably.
The emergency plan you develop for your business should take into account the type of business and the location of your workplace.
Let’s take a look at the things you should take into consideration while devising this plan.
#1. Identify Potential Problems
The first step is to find out the kind of emergencies your business is prone to. Business emergencies can be varied. From a fire to a flood at the location of your workplace, you need to plan for everything. For this, you can find out the previous disasters that have already taken place and the impact that these have had on other businesses in the area.
You should also consider your business facility’s physical capacity to resist the disaster and identify faults in the building that can cause further problems. You can start by preparing for the emergencies that will have maximum impact on your business.
#2. Consult Your Insurance Agent
An insurance agent can help you in devising the precautionary measures that you plan on implementing. Additionally, s/he can also give you valuable information about the types of emergencies that the insurance company provides coverage for.
#3. Train Your Employees
It is crucial to train your employees to deal with emergency situations. You should educate your employees about the various types of emergencies that may take place and the potential threats and hazards that these may cause.
Trained personnel from certified authorities should let them know of the proper course of action that they should implement in such situations.
You can consider training some of them on how to use a fire extinguisher. Your staff should also be trained in administering first aid to injured employees. Training should be conducted at least once a year.
#4. Alerting Employees
You plan should include ways to alert employees of an emergency before it strikes. For this, you would require installing proper alarm systems in the right places. These alarms should be loud enough to signal everyone at the workplace to evacuate the building or implement the plan of action that has been devised for that situation.
An emergency communication system should be followed by your employees during emergencies so that they can respond well to the situation instead of getting panicked. Special alarms should be installed for those employees who cannot recognize an audible alarm.
#5. Devise an Evacuation Plan
It is important to plan methods that need to be implemented when an emergency strikes. For example, you would need to have an evacuation plan in place in the event of a fire. The emergency exits should be accessible to them.
Additionally, your employees should be aware of a designated location that they should gather in when an emergency strikes. There should also be provisions for a shelter for the employees. One or two employees should be authorized to order the evacuation and a clear chain of command should be followed for the process. Apart from that, you may also need to look into transportation requirements of the employees.
#6. Have a Response Plan for Emergencies
A response plan includes the actions you would take after an emergency and the ways that you would manage your business operations. For example, in the case of a fire, you would need to contact an accident reconstruction expert to investigate the cause of the fire.
Additionally, if you need to shut down your business for a certain period after the emergency, you would need to find out what impact that would have on your operations and revenue. In that case, you can devise separate plans for clients and vendors. For example, you can talk to vendors and clients regarding business continuity plans.
#7. Alerting the Authorities
Once the evacuation is complete and all occupants are safe, your employees should be aware of the right person to call. For example, in the event of a fire, the fire department should be alerted immediately so that they can send trained personnel to control the damage.
In addition to that, injured staff should be sent to medical centers immediately for proper treatment. You can also consider establishing a contact with an ambulance service so that there is no trouble in transportation.
You should also have the contact information of the next of kin of your employees so that you can contact them in the event of emergencies.
#8. Conduct Drills
Training your employees isn’t enough to ensure that they will be able to implement the procedures in the emergency situation. This is where conducting drills becomes relevant. Drills can be conducted once a month to ensure that your employees respond well to an emergency situation.
#9. Have a Business Continuity Plan
The primary purpose of having a business continuity plan is to ensure that your business keeps operating while recovering from the losses due to the emergency. For example, if the office building is no longer accessible after the emergency, you would need a location from where your business can operate along with proper backup systems for all the data.
You would also need to identify important documents and records and ensure that they are stored in a way that makes them readily accessible from anywhere. This data can include customer information, your company’s transaction details and other financial data and so on. You can remind your employees to store such sensitive information in internal backup sites to ensure that the data is not lost.
Apart from that, you can authorize some of your employees to communicate with your clients about the delayed business procedures. They can protect the reputation of the company.
In addition to the above, providing adequate employee support is also important to ensure that your business runs as smoothly as possible. Implementing these steps will ensure that your business is prepared for most emergencies.
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