MAR 2014 – Every Business Needs A Plan

In a continuation of our Newsletter series on preparing for disaster this edition will focus on the workplace plan.

Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, the first important decision after an incident is whether to shelter-in-place or evacuate. You should understand and plan for both possibilities in advance by developing well-thought-out plans.

In any emergency local authorities may or may not immediately be available to provide information on what is happening and what you should do.

Some disaster will require employees to leave the workplace quickly if able. The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives. If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each location. If your business is in an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and possible gridlock.

There may be a situation when it’s necessary to stay where you are to avoid any uncertainty outside. There are other circumstances where how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. You should understand the difference and plan for both possibilities.

Providing for co-workers well-being is recognized as one of the best ways to assure your company’s recovery. Communication with employees is the key before, during and after a disaster. Use all the tools available to you to accomplish clear lines of communication, inter-office memos, staff meetings, social media, to communicate emergency plans and procedures.

Detail how your organization plans to communicate with employees, local authorities, customers and others during and after a disaster. Include relevant information for employees, top company executives, the general public and your customers as well as local, state and federal authorities.

Frequently practice what you intend to do during a disaster. Conduct regularly scheduled education and information meetings. Identify and develop preparedness skills, include disaster training in new employee programs.

It is possible that your staff will need time to ensure the well-being of their family members, but getting back to work is important to personal recovery of people who have experienced a disaster. Work place routines facilitate recovery by providing an opportunity to be active and to restore social contact. Re-establish routines, when possible.

An investment in planning today will not only help protect your business investment and your livelihood, but will also support your employees, customers and stakeholders, the community, and the local economy.