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Does Your Business Have an Emergency Preparedness Plan?

June 07, 2018 |

Employee taking notes from computerEvery business should have an emergency preparedness plan in place, even if there is no obvious risk. This is because there is always the chance of an emergency arising from an external source. The goal of an emergency preparedness plan is to acknowledge that disaster can strike at any time and to put a plan in place to protect all employees of the business, as well as the business itself. Having a plan can save lives, minimize work disability, and expedite your return to normal operations.

Workplace emergencies can be natural or manmade and include everything from fire, flood and hazardous materials to workplace violence.  The best way to prepare is to anticipate the problem and think through the best way to respond before it ever occurs. This starts with taking the time to brainstorm the different scenarios that could possibly occur and then tailoring a response to your worksite and the resources you have available to you.

Every emergency preparedness plan should include:

  • An established way of reporting the emergency to the proper authorities
  • An evacuation policy and procedure
  • An escape route and designated safe area
  • A contact list of individuals inside and outside of the company and their specific duties and responsibilities under the plan
  • A shut-down procedure or process for areas that need to be addressed prior to evacuation
  • Assignment of specific emergency, rescue or medical duties where applicable
  • Assemble a list of employee emergency contact information, as well as other essential records

There are specific considerations that a business’ emergency preparedness plan may need to include in order to make sure that all employees are safe and not at risk. For example, employees need to be assigned to carry handicapped personnel in case of an elevator shutdown that requires exiting via stairwells; tactile or visual alarms need to be in place for those who are not able to detect an audible alarm.

Beyond the actions that you need to take to prevent work disability and ensure the safety of all involved, you may also want your plan to include a proactive plan for storing important documents. It’s a good idea to assign a specific person to be responsible for leading and coordinating in the event of an emergency, as well as a backup in case that person is not available.

Nobody likes to think about worst case scenarios, but the more prepared you are, the better your organization will be able to manage and protect its human and other assets.