Planning ahead of time is essential to the safety of employees and to the survival of your business.
- Two-way communication is central before, during and after a disaster.
- Plan how you will alert employees and practice your evacuation plan through drills and exercises on a regular basis. Plan how you will alert people who cannot hear an alarm or instructions.
- Include emergency preparedness information in newsletters, on the company intranet, through periodic employee e-mails and through other internal communications tools.
- Consider setting up a telephone calling tree, a password-protected page on the company website, an email alert or a call-in voice recording to communicate with employees in an emergency.
- Designate an out-of-town phone number where employees can leave an "I'm Okay" message in a catastrophic disaster.
- Provide all co-workers with wallet cards detailing instructions on how to get company information in an emergency situation. Include telephone numbers or Internet passwords for easy reference.
- Ensure you have established staff members who are responsible for communicating regularly to employees.
- Identify co-workers in your organization with special needs and engage people with disabilities in emergency planning. Ask about communications difficulties, physical limitations, equipment instructions and medication procedures.
- Identify people willing to help co-workers with disabilities and be sure they are able to handle the job. This is particularly important if someone needs to be lifted or carried.
Visit the Virginia Business Emergency Survival Toolkit for detailed information about creating a plan for your business.
Continuity of Operations Planning
How quickly your company can get back to business after a disaster often depends on the planning you do today. Start planning now to improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.
- Assess how your company functions, both internally and externally, to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating.
- Identify your suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis.
- Plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. This type of planning is often referred to as a continuity of operations plan, or COOP, and includes all facets of your business.
- Plan for payroll continuity.
- Decide who should participate in putting together your emergency plan.
- Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance.
- Coordinate with others, including other businesses in your area, local emergency managers, community organizations, utility providers, etc.
- Review your emergency plans annually. Just as your business changes over time, so do your preparedness needs. When you hire new employees or when there are changes in how your company functions, you should update your plans and inform your people.
More detailed information on planning, including templates for developing a continuity of operations plan, can be found in the Virginia Business Emergency Survival Toolkit.
Read More: Visit Ready Business f or information on the Ready Business Mentoring Initiative, a program designed to teach business owners and managers how to protect their businesses.