Businesses of all sizes should prepare for emergencies and disasters because developing emergency and disaster plans address a business’ safety and business needs, as well as provide protection in the event of potential legal action. The best way to accomplish this is to elect a program manager, create a formal plan, and test for effectiveness.
Tips for Creating Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Plans
Build a Team
The first step to building a plan is to build an emergency disaster team, led by a program manager. Choose employees from cross-functional disciplines for the most comprehensive results. Gaining input from different departments is the best way to cover all bases.
After establishing a team, perform a risk assessment for the business. Analyze various natural disasters, crimes, and adverse events that could affect the business. Each business should have specific plans for events such as flooding, fire, and active shooters. The assessment should come with careful consideration and outside resources. Determining threats when not trained for the field can be difficult. Possible disasters include:
- Winter weather
- Criminal activities
Once the assessment is complete, the team will need to create a list of action items for the plan. The team can determine what events must take place for each possible occurrence. There are multiple factors to consider, including employee presence, communication, business continuity, and vendors. Specific action items to be determined include:
- Prevention plans
- Evacuation routes
- Communication without technology
- Contact numbers and contact trees
- Safety of business records
- Backup of pertinent data
- Insurance limitations
For each individual item, the team will work together to implement the best courses for action and reaction. They should take specific measures to ensure that preventing disasters takes precedence. It’s always better to actively prevent situations from occurring. The team should outline steps in a checklist format for ease of use.
Training and Drills
After plan establishment, employees should receive formal training for each event. It’s helpful for everyone to receive copies of the plan and provide input. Once the formal training takes place, run practice drills to iron out kinks. If there are strengths or opportunities found, take note.
Return to the Drawing Board
Finetune the emergency and disaster plan. Amend those items that were ineffective or did not unfold smoothly. Take the time to rework each issue and repeat drills as necessary. It’s important to note the plans should be working documents, requiring frequent updates. Change the plans to evolve with the threats that could possibly affect the business.
Bring in a Professional
Often, businesses struggle to implement strong emergency plans or find the process too time-consuming. If your business doesn’t have a formalized plan, using professional help is an option. Human resources consultants work with businesses to create effective, long-lasting plans to keep their employees and business safe. Making prevention plans versus implementing reactionary plans can make a huge difference when it comes to your company surviving a disaster. The employment law attorneys at Simon | Paschal PLLC can provide guidance on emergency and disaster planning and recommend any additional resources needed to help you to create the appropriate plan for your organization.