You never know when disaster may strike or what that disaster may be. The best thing you can do is to be prepared by having plans in place for how to respond in case of an emergency or disaster. Since disasters can take many forms, it’s good practice to have a couple of contingency plans ready.
Here are 7 considerations when creating your emergency business plan:
- Assess the risks
Each business is vulnerable to a different risk. Depending on your industry and location, the risks that could most likely impact your business will vary. Identify your risks and how potential factors could impact your business, such as natural weather events, widespread illnesses, accidents, power outages, etc.
- Create a plan
Once each potential emergency is identified for your business, create a plan for each. This plan should include strategies for prevention and risk mitigation should an emergency occur. Think through the potential of injuries, damage, and business disruption and the steps you can take to protect people, property, and the environment. Outline critical business functions should your business be disrupted to ensure you decrease customer impact.
- Develop a communication plan
Determine how you are going to communicate these emergency plans to your current and future employees. Also, create a crisis communication plan for how you will communicate to employees and customers before, during, and after the disaster. Assign an emergency contact who can be reached for questions and concerns. Keep all contact information up to date for your emergency contact, business, employees, and customers.
- Store copies of important business documents
Make sure you have a copy of key business documents, such as business licenses, customer information, insurance policies, identification, and tax records in at least two separate physical locations.
- Check insurance policies
Get familiar with your insurance policy to understand how much coverage you have and what is or isn’t covered under your policy. Depending on your identified risks, determine which coverage you need.
- Test and practice your emergency preparedness
Once you have your plans in place, practice with your employees so you’re ready if disaster strikes. If an employee has a defined role, make sure they are trained to understand exactly what they need to do.
- Have emergency supplies ready
You will need materials and supplies to support employees and customers in the event a disaster occurs during operating hours. Your emergency kit should include food, water, flashlight, radio, batteries, and a first-aid kit. If you have a generator, you should have a fuel supply so you are able to run it.
Your emergency preparedness can determine whether you’ll make it through a disaster successfully. Taking the time to plan, practice, and prepare can make all of the difference for you, your employees, and your customers. These 7 considerations can help you to get ready for whatever comes. For more advice and resources, visit ready.gov/business. They provide a variety of toolkits, guides, and videos.