The COVID-19 crisis is showing us the importance of having an emergency plan in place. Natural disasters begs us to be prepared, but also that each situation is unique and sometimes unpredictable. Ultimately, though, your organization having an emergency plan can possibly save lives and keep those around you from giving in to panic.
First, before anything, plan to stay in business. No matter how terrible the tragedy, don’t assume right away that this is the end of what you’ve worked so hard to build. The best way to prepare for your survival is continuity planning, which we will discuss below.
Here are six ways to prepare your business for a possible earthquake now:
Your emergency kits should contain (at the very least) the following:
Check ahead of time that you have proper fire extinguishers and carbon monoxide detectors. You would be surprised at how many people don’t think to have these items ready and operable for an emergency.
Of course, having a plan in place is only half the battle — you’re only halfway there. You’ll need to put a team in place who is responsible for executing the plan when the time comes. If done right, this precaution may help reduce panic, get questions answered and concerns addressed, and save lives.
If the police or fire department need to be involved in your location at some point, your team members should know that those authorities automatically assume responsibility. However, an onsite coordinator can help direct those authorities.
Remember to continuously review your plan. Address the weak links, or the steps that may have caused confusion or were not effective. Coordinate any changes or improvements to your plan with your local fire department (and let them review your existing plan).
Practice this plan with your staff. Make it mandatory. Make the practice a regular event. Don’t bother with “surprise drills,” as those may start a panic. Provide your staff with written or online information regarding preparedness skills and the details of your specific plan. When you hire new employees, make sure they are immediately included in disaster training as part of your employee orientation program.
Create a crisis communication plan.
Divide your plan into a “how” and “where:
Of course, the way you assess your risks depends on the type of business you have. It will also depend on the following:
First, identify the operations that are most crucial to your business, especially the ones that will play a role in your survival and recovery. Questions you should ask yourself:
Depending on your business and how essential it is, you may need to work with your customers immediately after a disaster hits; that is, if you have a working plan already in place and ready to go.
In order to determine how you will serve your customers, ask yourself the following questions:
Remember that not all of your most important documents may not be sitting on the cloud. Keep copies of important hard-copy records in a fireproof, waterproof container. Store a second set of records at an off-site location.
Important documents can include:
By the way, a word about your insurance policy:
Know what your policy covers and what it doesn’t — ahead of time.
The COVID-19 crisis has diverted our attention away from other naturally occurring disasters, but earthquakes continue to be a threat. USGS reports that, according to long-term records (since about 1900), sixteen major earthquakes may occur in any given year, which includes 15 earthquakes in the magnitude 7 range and one earthquake magnitude 8.0 or greater.
Nothing we can do about this but be prepared.
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