September is National Preparedness Month
Developing an emergency response or business continuity plan is good practice regardless of the size or scope of your operations. Here in the Midwest, a tornado can wreak havoc in the blink of an eye. In other locales, it could be a hurricane or an earthquake. Workplace violence and terrorist attacks are real threats. None of us is immune.
The purpose of an emergency response or business continuity plan is to help you get back on your feet as quickly and efficiently as possible. A good emergency response plan defines essential personnel, tools, equipment, supplies, locations, call lists, chain of command, and much more.
Developing this plan requires you to take a close look at your business model. What is the workflow? How are work functions completed? Who is involved and what materials are required to assure quality and compliance? We live in a mobile society and laptops and cloud-based software platforms greatly enhance our ability to carry on outside the traditional office. We still may require certain office equipment to fulfill our business obligations. What suppliers and resources will we need to contact in order to obtain the materials, supplies, and equipment we need?
What about shelter-in-place policies? Have you thought about emergency supplies? Would your organization have fresh water and emergency blankets available in the event of a catastrophic physical event? Would there be some emergency food supply? Are first aid kits available?
In addition to identifying the physical and logistical needs of the business, identify employees with special skills such as nursing or EMT qualifications, CPR training, or multi-lingual skills. Any special skill sets that may be helpful during limited operations should be identified.
There are many considerations in developing an emergency preparedness and business continuity plan, and the time to do so is before you find yourself in need.