Business Emergency Response Plan

If you own or operate a business you may not realize it, but having an emergency response plan in place to deal with situations that may arise can help protect you, your employees and your customers should a disaster strike. In an emergency, how people choose to respond during those initial first moments is absolutely critical; having a plan prepared and in place can help ensure that everyone responds appropriately, minimizing any potential damage.

Is your business prepared for an emergency?

Storm Shelter Sign

Some businesses are unprepared and find that they are unable to cope with the emergency situations with which they are faced. If you put the amount of time and effort into building your business into a successful venture, you owe it to yourself to protect that investment.

While this is only a brief overview, in most cases a proper business emergency plan will deal with three components: your employees (or other people on site when the emergency occurs), your property, and your customers.

A good emergency response plan will deal with all three:

  • Your Employees – Any business emergency plan should place saving the lives of the employees and anyone else who may be onsite during an emergency as its top priority. Depending on the nature of the emergency, you can consider evacuation, taking shelter in the facility, or even locking it down (as a response to an episode of workplace violence, for example.) Whatever course of action you choose, remember people's lives come first.

    The Small Business Administration provides valuable disaster preparedness information and sometimes even small business disaster loans to business owners to help them prepare for natural disasters.

  • Your Property – Most of the benefit to your property from a business emergency plan will come from thorough planning in advance of the event. When the actual emergency strikes you may be too focused on preserving people's safety to focus on property, so an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure in that regard.

    So perform a risk-assessment that identifies the emergencies that are most likely to damage your property, and take action accordingly. This could mean flood-proofing your facility, preparing to deal with winter weather, or creating an action plan for tropical storms or hurricanes. This all depends on where you are located. Make plans to purchase insurance as necessary. Find out how to protect your documents and financial records.

  • Your Customers – Your emergency response plan should also include a section on how to deal with your customers during and after the event. Making sure communication lines remain as open as possible is a top priority. This includes on-site situations as well as off-site problems. Consider how customers will respond to fulfillment issues, too. Contact them and explain any disruptions to your logistics or supply chain that may have resulted due to an emergency situation.

To take it a step further, take a look at this Small Business Disaster Recovery plan. This will help ensure that you cover all the necessary angles. Just remember, an emergency response plan should first and foremost protect lives. Then, you can focus on equipment and other needs.

Once your business disaster response plan is in place, I guarantee you will feel more secure about the safety of your company and your staff.