Avoid Compounding a Disaster by Planning Ahead

Disaster Preparedness for Businesses

Emergency preparedness checklist for a disaster.

Sometimes there’s no way to avoid a disaster, like last week’s Hurricane Florence. But there are some great ways to avoid or minimize potential damages and prepare for a quicker return to business-as-usual should a natural or man-made disaster hit.

September is National Preparedness Month, so it’s the perfect time to share ideas that every business can implement to up their disaster readiness. (Keep an eye out for a follow-up blog on disaster preparedness for homeowners too).

Some tasks seem remarkably obvious, but the truth is that just because we “know” we should be doing something, doesn’t mean we will. So why not give your company the goal of checking off as many tasks on the below list before the end of October…and then keep plugging away until every item is addressed.

Think it Through

Disasters can be remarkably stressful, even “small” ones. Reduce the possibility that you miss an important action or make a wrong decision by actually writing an emergency response plan. And then here’s the most important part: make sure everyone practices plan elements.

Ultimately, your plan should help you identify tasks, such as how staff will be alerted to an emergency, what shelter options you might offer, how evacuations would be managed or what you might do for both short- and long-term communication with both employees and customers. For a helpful start and practical ideas, visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

Know how you’ll know

Disasters often arrive will little warning. However, the sooner you know, the sooner you can respond. Learn about the various local, regional and national disaster alerts and warnings, and sign up for them here.

Focus on Safety
  • Get a better understanding of employee awareness and knowledge by issuing an employee safety survey. It’s not uncommon for people at work to assume disaster preparedness falls under someone else’s responsibilities – yet everyone plays a role. Address issues, skill gaps or areas of responsibility as necessary. Here’s one survey option and another, more comprehensive survey option to give you a start.
  • Schedule in-office training for your staff to learn lifesaving skills, such as CPR and first aid. Also consider adding an automated external defibrillator (AED) to your facilities. Sometimes the most important factor for survival or complete recovery is treatment before emergency responders can arrive.

Confirm Coverages

  • Request an insurance policy review with MJ to address hazards that may be specific to your area – floods, hurricanes, earthquakes or tornados.

Don’t be a Statistic

Almost 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors after a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Large corporations also fail to recover.

And while it’s true that not every disaster is the same, every disaster does catch far-too-many businesses off-guard. Make September the month you make sure that business isn’t yours. Start writing that disaster response plan (or update the one you already have) even if you don’t think you’ll ever need it…because what if you do?