Preparing for an imminent emergency, such as a hurricane making landfall, or an unexpected emergency such as a hazard materials accident, should automatically trigger your emergency business plan. That’s why it’s so important that your business have a plan in place that is reviewed every year and shared with your employees. Once an emergency is declared, you should activate your business emergency plan that should include:
Depending on your circumstances and the nature of the disaster, the first important decision after an incident occurs is when and where to evacuate. You should understand and plan in advance by developing clear, well-thought-out plans. If you are specifically told to evacuate, shelter-in -place or seek medical treatment, do so immediately. You should monitor TV or radio news reports for information or official instructions as they become available.
- Make sure you or someone from your company has registered a cell, business phone number and email address with the Plaquemines Parish Emergency Notification System so you can get timely emergency updates.
- Make sure you have access to the new ALERT FM Emergency Notification System.
Make a Shelter-in-Place Plan
There may be situations when it’s best to stay where you are to avoid any uncertainty outside. There are other circumstances, such as a chemical incident or during a tornado when specifically how and where you take shelter is a matter of survival. You should understand the different threats and plan for all possibilities.
Regardless of the emergency, you should have an emergency supply kit stored at all times.
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’s recovery:
- Carefully assess how your company functions to determine which staff, materials, procedures and equipment are absolutely necessary to keep the business operating. Establish procedures for succession of management including at least one person who is not at the company headquarters, if possible.
- Next, decide who should participate in putting together your emergency plan. Include co-workers from all levels in planning and as active members of the emergency management team. These will likely include people with technical skills as well as managers and executives.
- Then, make a list of your most important customers and proactively plan ways to serve them during and after a disaster. Also, identify key suppliers, shippers, resources and other businesses you must interact with on a daily basis. Develop professional relationships with more than one company in case your primary contractor cannot service your needs. A disaster that shuts down a key supplier can be devastating to your business.
- Finally, plan what you will do if your building, plant or store is not accessible. Define crisis management procedures and individual responsibilities in advance. Talk with your staff or co-workers and frequently review and practice what you intend to do during and after an emergency.
Emergency Planning For Employees
Your employees and co-workers are your most important and valuable asset. Two-way communication is central before, during and after a disaster. Consider setting up a telephone calling tree, a password-protected page on the company website, an email alert or a call-in voice recording to communicate with employees in an emergency.
Designate an out of town phone number where employees can leave an "I’m Okay" message in a catastrophic disaster. If you have employees with disabilities ask them what assistance, if any, they require. People with disabilities typically know what they will need in an emergency.
Identify people willing to help co-workers with disabilities and be sure they are able to handle the job. This is particularly important if someone needs to be lifted or carried. Plan how you will alert people who cannot hear an alarm or instructions. Be sure to engage people with disabilities in emergency planning.
Review your plans annually and practice the plan with co-workers
Having a plan that everyone in your company is familiar with is essential. One of the best methods of assuring your company’s recovery is to provide for your co-workers well-being. Practice your company’s emergency plan on a regular basis to make sure all employees are familiar with your plan.
Make sure insurance policies are updated
Meet with your insurance provider to review current coverings and make sure your policies and coverage are updated. After any emergency, create a detailed list that shows loss of inventory and equipment, including computer hardware, software and peripherals, for insurance purposes.