Disabling cyber security breach.
Serious flu epidemic.
Whether natural or man-made, news stories about disasters and emergencies are alarming. It’s tempting to think it will never happen to your business. Or it can easily fall off the list of priorities. Crises can happen without notice, so developing an emergency response plan now could increase safety and your business’s chance of survival.
Risk assessment – Start by identifying potential emergency scenarios. Is your building in an area prone to certain natural disasters? Does your company deal with hazardous chemicals that could leak? While hard to fathom, you must also consider an active shooter situation. What’s the prevalence of each risk and how would they impact your business? If you’re struggling to get buy-in for emergency preparedness, a risk assessment and corresponding business impact analysis will provide a clear picture.
Secure human life – Depending on the emergency, develop, communicate and practice procedures that keep people safe. Assign the employee(s) who will direct everyone to take the appropriate protective action: evacuate, shelter-in-place or lockdown.
Stabilize the incident – In the critical first moments, important actions can happen simultaneously and minimize damage.
- Trained employees can perform CPR and first aid
- Trained employees can extinguish a small fire
- Call 9-1-1. Provide accurate information, so they can dispatch the right responders and equipment
Reach out to your local fire department or Fire Prevention Bureau once you’ve developed your plan. It should include a site diagram noting access roads, parking areas, entrances, location of emergency equipment and building controls. They can review it and provide suggestions.
Continuity – Once immediate threats have been handled, the long-term survival of your business depends on getting up and running again. Anticipate disruptions now, so you have a continuity plan in place. Consider all scenarios such as loss or delay of sales, recovery expenses, contractual penalties, customer dissatisfaction and more. Rank order essential or time-sensitive operations and how to recover them. Determine how you will communicate with customers and employees to instill confidence and maintain continuity as best as possible.
There are other recommendations that can be instituted immediately to potentially minimize or deter the impact of certain emergency situations.
- Cloud-based storage of critical company records including contracts, tax returns, insurance policies, budgets, payroll, client data, invoices and expenses, contact information for clients, suppliers and employees.
- Corrective action plan can help manage employee issues and hopefully prevent them from escalating. It documents the issues and steps the employee can take to improve or risk termination. By developing a formal performance improvement plan, it eliminates any confusion about expectations and consequences.
Being prepared for an emergency is a big undertaking for any company. As the foundation of our nation’s economy, the government wants small businesses to survive and recover. There are many free tools available online to facilitate this process.
- gov has a step-by-step process for businesses
- FEMA offers multiple resources to help develop an emergency response plan
Another option is to work with a company that develops policies and provides general safety training. MidwestHR, a certified professional employer organization (CPEO), specializes in HR. In addition to benefits, payroll administration, workers comp, and retirement planning, we also provide HR guidance that reinforces your emergency preparedness and recovery plan. This includes developing preventive measures that can be instituted now to guard against human-caused hazards. For instance, we develop corrective action programs and educate employees on OSHA requirements. By using a consistent strategy in managing employee performance, behavior and safety, you can decrease the likelihood of emergencies. By outsourcing all or part of your HR duties to us, you free up time for strategic initiatives like emergency planning. Give us a call at 630-836-3000 to learn more.