Emergency Planning and Business Self-Reliance – Key Tips and Skills
As a business owner, it is part of your daily toil to manage risk. Risks present in many forms, from financial and corporate to safety hazards posed by a number of potential variables. Whereas most ventures are actively engaged with the threats they inherently experience, there is always the threat of that unknowable hazard; an emergency for which true preparation was never possible.
With the US having been scarred by such horrific events as Hurricane Katrina and the California and Hawaii wildfires, and with the threat of global warming growing ever more prescient. Emergency planning has become much more than a vague business contingency. For the safety of staff and visitors, and for the longevity of the venture itself, emergency planning and self-reliance are non-negotiable. But where is a good place to start?
As with any engagement with the concept of risk, the best place to start is with an assessment. First, consider the risks your premises and operation are exposed to, including natural disasters and/or supply shortages.
With these in mind, tour your site or sites and note down specific areas in which improvement may be necessary. The trick here is to delegate management of this improvement to an individual – and to note it down in your risk assessment. This introduces culpability, ensuring that changes are made in earnest.
Along with these measures, here is a list of 5 things you should do as a business owner for an appropriate assessment:
- Identify Risk at Workplace: In this step, you need to run a detailed survey of your workplace to point out any chance of trouble. It is the best way to start with so that you can avoid future mishappening.
- Predict the harm or who may get harmed: After identifying the potential chance of danger, identify who it is that might fall into that unfortunate situation.
- Control the risk: Now it’s time to take action. Search for the solutions and implement them in your workplace to make the workers or personnel safe at the location.
- Record the data: Recording the data and your findings is significant to prevent threats and mitigate risk at campus. Therefore, this is how you learn from your mistakes and improve in the future.
- Review the assessment: At last, you are expected to review and update the safety precautions that are implemented at your campus. You need to review the whole safety infrastructure once every 12 months to stay on the safer side.
Equipment and Repairs
There is also a considerable amount of advance investment that has to be made in equipment and materials for weathering catastrophic events. Larger workplaces would benefit from having a store of emergency rations and equipment to hand, from dry ration food to spare torches and battery chargers.
This storage plan must also extend to basic components and equipment, to fulfill the necessary ‘self-reliance’ part of the equation. If your torch fails in the middle of an emergency, it would be better that you had spare battery clips with which to repair it yourself than to risk the elements in search of a spare.
This map shows the different states of the USA highlighted based on historical occurrences of natural disasters. As you can see, Hawaii is among the states that are most prone to forest fires.
Personnel management is just as significant as, if not more than, resource management. You have a duty of care to your staff in the event of an emergency, meaning you have a legal as well as ethical obligation to their safety and wellbeing. Evacuation procedures are a vital and interstitial part of this personnel management, as well as having their legal mandate.
Here is the list below of steps that you should consider for creating an evacuation plan for your business:
- Access the hazard: Just like having a proper hazard assessment, identifying the hazard in your company location is the very first step towards making an appropriate evacuation process. You must consider several natural disasters that can happen due to location such as cyclones, landslides, earthquakes, etc.
- Make a map: As a company owner, no one knows your workplace better than you. Therefore, create a proper plan and the route that must be followed in case of emergency. One thing that you can ensure is that the route must be spacious enough so that it does not cause chaos in case of mishappening.
- Assign roles and responsibilities: To make a smooth and streamlined evacuation plan, giving a role to a person as a supervisor can be a great idea. With these roles, it will be easier to implement the plan as directed, under the surveillance of a supervisor.
- Spear the words: The next step is to educate all your employees, staff members, stakeholders, customers, etc. about the potential risks and how they can evacuate in a situation. You can do this by holding a dedicated meeting once in a while, or by distributing booklets or instruction guides.
- Prepare your supply arsenal: It is pretty obvious that you are not going to make a plan without tools or supplies. Keeping emergency kits such as fire extinguishers, sand, blankets, radios, flashlights, batteries, etc. in your stock is paramount.
Planning for emergencies is about more than just the short-term, too. In the same breath as putting together emergency evacuation plans and equipment caches, your business should be planning for its revival and rebuilding in the aftermath of such a major event. This might be as simple as ensuring that all insurance plans are up-to-date, but it could extend to pre-ordering replacement materials and ensuring enough stock is on hand to start again.
As a responsible business owner, you have to arrange all the resources and supplies that will be required for the proper recovery of the venture. Be it the infrastructure, workforce, labor, or anything else.
It is impossible that any human effort can stop natural calamity or disaster that is about to happen. However, what we can try is to build a proper roadmap so that you can avoid or lose as few resources as possible during the disaster. Therefore, building a proper natural hazard roadmap becomes paramount, especially if you are in California or Hawaii.