The first step towards protecting your business is preparing for a disaster or emergency. An emergency could mean anything from natural disasters to cyber-crime.
In these cases, it becomes necessary to take precautions and build up a safety net that will help you recover quickly and smoothly after a disaster.
If you have not yet prepared your business for an emergency, this article will guide you through the steps to prepare your business for disasters and emergencies.
1. Focus on Prevention
Businesses should be implementing a system to prevent emergencies in the workplace. A business might have a system that will find out if there is a potential problem with their systems or if they are about to experience an unexpected spike in traffic.
To prevent emergencies from happening, companies need to make sure their employees are following proper safety regulations by conducting regular safety checks.
There are several ways for a company to conduct these checks:
1) Conducting an annual safety audit of the workplace, which includes checking on fire prevention, electrical and mechanical hazards, spill response, and evacuation procedures
2) Conducting monthly safety training for all employees on all types of hazards – fire prevention, electrical/mechanical hazards, spill response, and evacuation procedures.
2. Identify and Assess the Risks of your Business
Every business has a different level of risk, so they need to evaluate their level of risk and needs. They can then create a detailed action plan that includes tactics such as having alternative locations for their employees or creating backup plans in case something goes wrong with their current location.
3. Create a Response Plan
An emergency can happen at any time and can be big or small. There are different types of emergencies that a business might encounter: fire, fire prevention, natural disasters, employee-related emergencies, just to name a few. Experts recommend that businesses create an emergency plan and send it out to all employees before they come in. This helps make sure everyone knows their responsibilities in case of an emergency.
The most common type of emergency is fire. Instructing employees where to go when a fire happens, designating leaders to count heads to ensure people are safe, and conducting regular drills are all key components of being prepared for a fire emergency.
Ultimately, the best thing you can do is have a plan in place before the emergency starts. That way, you will know what you should be doing when you’re already in an emergency.
4. Develop a Business Continuity Plan
A business continuity plan is one of the most critical elements of a business. It helps businesses to manage and mitigate risks, which in turn helps them to be more profitable.
As a business owner, you must have a risk-based plan for your business continuity.
- First, define what an emergency is. It’s when the business environment suddenly changes and it might negatively impact the company’s operations.
- Second, decide on the three most critical functions of your business – human resources/operations, finance/accounting, and technical support/IT department – that you need to maintain to continue operations during an emergency.
- Finally, take steps to ensure that these functions are available for your employees while also identifying alternative locations for your company’s offices should they become inaccessible during an emergency event such as a fire or power outage.
5. Create an Emergency Kit
An emergency kit is not just about going without food and water for a few days but also includes vital first-aid items and tools that might be needed to fix broken surfaces or other equipment.
To make sure your business has an emergency kit in place, you can start by deciding what items are most important to keep with you at all times. For example, you can include:
- A cell phone charger that can be connected to a device for extra power, with a backup battery that can charge your phone and other devices when you need it.
- First aid kit
- Supply of fresh drinking water
6. Understand your Insurance Coverage
Business owners should understand the different types of insurance coverage to make sure that they are adequately protected.
Insurance policies typically cover property damage and some medical care expenses but it’s important to understand your policy before using it in case of an emergency. Businesses should never take chances by not having adequate insurance coverage as it can be financially crippling.