As we approach the tenth anniversary of the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001, we are reminded that our lives can totally change in an instant. You may have planned for an emergency at your home, but have you thought about emergency preparedness for your business?Small businesses account for 99% of all companies with employees in the United States, they employ 50% of all private sector workers, and provide nearly 45% of the nations payroll, according to www.ready.gov. Emergency preparedness for your company will only help the local economy be more secure in the event of a disaster.Taking steps now to plan for disasters that may affect your business will increase the likelihood that your employees and your physical assets will be protected and your business will experience only a slight interruption. Consider the following list when preparing your business for potential emergencies.
•Develop an emergency preparedness team that comprises workers from each level of employment•Identify potential emergencies in your area•Have a written evacuation plan AND a stay-put plan, depending on the emergency and the condition of the facility•Develop an emergency contact list and a telephone call tree•Review current insurance coverage and maintain a list of all assets•Create an
kit – include emergency food storage, water, lighting, warmth, tools and utensils•Request that employees create a personal and portable kit that would provide for their individual needs (medications, etc.)•Encourage employees to prepare for disasters at home as well•Provide first aid training and CPR classes to key employees•Have a method for two-way communication and a portable radio•Ensure that your building meets standards for wind, fire, and seismic activity•Identify backup utility alternatives and prepare accordingly•Plan how your business will continue to function in the event of evacuation•Establish succession of management, including off-site options if possible•Secure equipment in the event of heavy wind or seismic activity•Meet with other businesses in your area to compare readiness plans•Increase cyber security via anti-virus software and firewalls•Consult with emergency preparedness professionals
Plan now for the survival and recovery of your business in the event of a disaster. Practice your plan for different emergencies and review your plan annually. Should the unthinkable happen, emergency preparedness is a small investment to ensure minimal business interruption. —Gary Jenkins—Gary Jenkins is a father and husband living in Oregon who is a wildlife rehabilitation and outdoor adventure enthusiast.