The Federal Bureau of Investigations recorded more than 20 mass shootings every year since 2014, and the number has only risen in recent years. In July 2019, 8 Natick businesses were destroyed in a massive blaze that went on for several hours. The number of companies ruined by cyclones and tornados in the last couple of years is too high to count.
While you can’t prevent such a disaster, there are ways to ensure your employees, customers and data are safe.
In this article, we look at five workplace emergency preparedness tips that can save lives and hopefully your business as well.
Identify the risks
The first step is to identify the kind of risks your business is vulnerable to. These can include hurricanes, winter weather, floods, fire, and vandalism. In today’s world, you also need to include active shooter situations from strangers, scorned ex-employees, and even terrorism.
Practice the emergency preparedness plan
In its most simplistic form, the emergency response plan can be a fire drill or CPR training. However, it’s also essential to prepare the staff for something more serious than fire, such as a shooting. You can get business emergency and communication plans from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration depending on which industry you are.
The plan can include the secret exit strategy, designated meeting place, and how fast people can get there. You also need tools and equipment that can lessen the impact of the disaster.
However, implementing the plan and practicing it is what will make a difference between being caught off-guard and being ready to move to safety.
Create an incident management team
While everybody will be trained regularly, you need a team in place that is in charge of synergy between the staff, customers and external responders. It is this team that willimplement the plan and also work on compliance in case of an emergency. The team will be specifically trained on how to coordinate an emergency to avoid confusion.
Crisis communication plan
Leaving the building safely is the most essential part of emergency preparedness. However, you also need a mode of communication that caters for the workers and customers. Determine who will be speaking to the people when they arrive at the meeting point and how to know that everyone is there.
Consider your suppliers
Many businesses have an emergency response plan in case anything ever happens in the business premises. What most people don’t consider are their suppliers. If a hurricane hit your suppliers’ business, you will be profoundly affected as well. You have to create a plan to mitigate such a situation and have backups, so your business and clients don’t suffer.
According to FEMA, 40-60% of small businesses close permanently after a disaster. However, if you are well prepared for such an occurrence by involving all stakeholders, including your insurance company, you can come back stronger. The secret is to have a simple plan that you improve periodically and practice it regularly.