Emergency Preparedness plan for Small Business

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From responding procedures and methods of recovery to securing the right resources and employee training, learn how to put together an effective emergency plan for your office.

No business is completely immune from crisis events, medical emergencies and disasters. Even with excellent preventative measures in place, unforeseen events can transpire that threaten the safety of workers and the continuity of the company.

In fact, the workplace has strong potential for being the site of numerous serious or life threatening events.

Consider the following statistics:

  • Annually, fires and explosions occur in roughly 70, 000 American businesses and cause nearly 200 employee fatalities.
  • Approximately 1, 200 tornadoes occur every year in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • Virtually all states have the possibility of experiencing a moderate to severe earthquake.

For the unprepared workplace, a significant emergency or disaster can be especially devastating. Lack of planning may result in poorly executed and untested procedures which can cause critical loss of response time during emergencies.

The catastrophe can be further compounded if workers are untrained or lack adequate emergency supplies to properly react to the situation. Even a relatively small crisis can rapidly escalate into a full scale disaster due to poor planning and inadequate preparedness.

Surviving and recovering from emergencies requires a dedicated, viable and practiced response from the entire company.

Nearly all experts agree that one of the best methods to protect your business and reduce negative outcomes is with a written disaster preparedness plan.

An effective plan includes:

  • Procedures to respond to various emergency situations
  • Methods to recover and maintain business continuity
  • Securing adequate resources and supplies for crisis events
  • Employee training

Creating a preparedness plan for your company isn’t difficult if you apply some basic principles to the process.

General Guidelines

Step One: Assess the Hazards

Begin your disaster plan by listing potential emergencies and evaluating the effects on human life, property damage and continuity of operations.

Possible emergencies that may impact all businesses include:

  • Fires and explosions
  • Severe weather, including tornadoes, hurricanes and extreme temperatures
  • Regional disasters, such as flooding and earthquakes
  • Medical emergencies
  • Chemical spills and releases
  • Acts of terrorism
  • Equipment failure and power outages

It’s important to give genuine consideration to each of these above areas.

For example, even if the workplace does not have particularly hazardous chemicals on site, there may be a potential for dangerous spills or releases in the surrounding community (such as from a neighboring industrial park) which may impact and endanger the facility.

Your region or specific location may be prone to certain types of disasters or events, which may mandate dedicated or enhanced procedures for response. Even routine products stored or used in the workplace may present fire or explosion hazards under the right conditions. And although acts of terrorism are rare, they are possible at any workplace. To adequately protect workers and the property, you’ll want to examine the potential for these types of emergencies.


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