Businesses are often the most unprepared when it comes to emergencies. In a study conducted by Liberty Mutual, 73% of business owners reported no plan for responding to an emergency. If employees do not know what to do during a disaster, a company’s operations can be disrupted, or worse – its reputation can be undermined. On top of the resultant damage to public image, an emergency can result in significant financial liability, especially if it is not covered by insurance.
Whatever your business’s size and risk level, there are ways you can plan ahead for emergencies and ensure that they don’t become disasters:
1) Prepare a Business Emergency Plan and Training for Employees:
Businesses must have an emergency plan in place. A business emergency plan should outline the responsibilities of employees during an emergency, what supplies are needed, and where they can be found. The Electronic Emergency Plan Builder is a free online tool created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that allows you to create a business emergency plan.
To ensure employees are familiar with the plan, hold regular training sessions where they can ask questions about the plan in detail.
Common questions might include:
-Where will we be evacuated to? How far away is it?
-Who should come in during an emergency? Who should stay home if possible?
-What should we keep with us if we are evacuated?
-What should we do if there is a live shooter in the building?
2) Make Business Continuity Plans that Account for the Worst Case Scenario:
No business can expect to remain fully operational during an emergency. However, it is possible to ensure the disruption of work is minimized by planning ahead. Depending on the severity of the emergency, some businesses may carry on their usual operations remotely. Others might be forced to return to an alternate office temporarily or even evacuate entirely. The key is being aware of all possible outcomes and having a plan that accounts for each one.
3) Ensure Business Insurance is Updated to Cover Disaster-Related Damage:
Business insurance can also help protect against loss or damage that results from an emergency. Talk with your agent about updating your policy to include business interruption coverage, which offers money for lost income while you are closed due to an emergency. Make sure the policy covers any service that would be needed in case of emergency, such as a water extraction after a flood. Having a policy in place can soften the financial blow of an emergency and help keep your business running.
In conclusion, emergencies can happen at any time, and unpreparedness is not a viable option. Businesses that take the threat of an emergency seriously and prepare ahead will be better equipped to weather these events – preventing disasters from becoming catastrophes.