In our everyday lives, large-scale emergencies can seem like a remote possibility.
But the truth is that natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes, technological or environmental accidents such as chemical spills, and service disruptions such as power failures can happen anywhere at any time.
While the City is focused on delivering essential services, you need to be ready to protect your employees, assets and operations.
Readiness can be as simple as having an emergency preparedness plan, setting up procedures to help your business recover, and having emergency supplies on hand. Knowing what to do when a disaster strikes will help you better control the situation and get back to business more quickly.
Below are some things to get you started.
Preparing your Employees
Your employees and co-workers are your business’ most valuable asset. Two-way communication is crucial before, during and after a disaster. Include emergency information in newsletters, on your company intranet, in periodic employee emails and / or other communication tools. If you have employees with disabilities or special needs, ask them what assistance, if any, they require during an emergency.
Emergency supplies for business are similar to emergency supplies for individuals or families.
When preparing for emergency situations, it is important to remember that employees will want to get home to see to their families. Encourage them to have and maintain their own personal Grab’n’Go emergency supply kit customized to meet their personal needs.
Recommended emergency supplies include: water, food, battery-powered radios, extra batteries, flashlights, whistles, first aid kits, blankets, work gloves, hammers, wrenches or pliers, crow bars, dust masks, plastic sheeting, duct tape, moist towelettes, garbage bags, current copies of floor plans, etc.
These supplies should be easily accessible and stored in a 12 gauge steel cabinet.
The ability to evacuate workers, customers and visitors effectively can save lives.
If your business operates out of more than one location, establish evacuation procedures for each office or site. If your company is in a high-rise building, an industrial park, or even a small strip mall, it is important to coordinate and practice with other tenants or businesses to avoid confusion and potential gridlock.
The BC Fire Code requires that you conduct evacuation drills. Ensure that you and your employees take these drills seriously and are familiar with all emergency exits in the workplace and with the location of safe assembly areas.
Preparing your Business
How quickly your company can get back to business after a fire, flood or earthquake largely depends on emergency planning done today. The regular occurrence of natural disasters demonstrates the importance of being prepared for any emergency. While recognizing that each situation is unique, your organization can be better prepared if it plans carefully, puts emergency procedures into place, and practices for all kinds of emergencies.
Keep copies of important records, such as: site maps, building plans, insurance policies, employee contact and identification information, bank account records, supplier and shipping contact lists, computer backups, emergency or law enforcement contact information and other priority documents.
Store these in a waterproof, fireproof portable container. Store a second set of records at an off-site location.
Business Continuity Planning
Business continuity planning must account for both man-made and natural disasters. You should plan in advance to manage any emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation, use common sense and available resources to take care of yourself, your co-workers and your business’ recovery.
Whether you are a single-location Mom and Pop market or a multi-national corporation, being able to quickly get your company back to business after a disaster depends on the emergency and business continuity planning done today. It will improve the likelihood that your company will survive and recover.