Guide: Create a Business Emergency Preparedness Plan

by | 9 Feb 2023

A business emergency preparedness plan is an essential part of any business’s overall risk management strategy. It outlines the steps that a business should take in the event of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or terrorist attack, to minimise the impact on its employees, customers, and operations. 

Creating a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan can help businesses respond quickly and effectively to emergency situations, reducing the likelihood of long-term damage and financial losses.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

Conducting a risk assessment should involve identifying the potential hazards that your business may face, such as natural disasters, power outages, or cyber attacks. Consider the likelihood of each hazard occurring and the potential impact on your business. Based on this assessment, prioritize the hazards that pose the greatest risk and create a plan to address them.

Develop a communications plan

Communications plans ensure employees and customers are informed of an emergency situation in a timely manner. This should include multiple channels of communication, such as email, text messages, and social media, to ensure that everyone can be reached quickly and effectively. 

Additionally, establish a system for employees to check in and report their status during an emergency.

When considered, practiced, and implemented, communication plans can be the difference between a good response, and a bad one, as well as the reputational impacts of your business going through an event. Afterall, most customers and clients prefer honesty and concise communications early.

Determine who will implement the business emergency preparedness plan

An interesting paradox that occurs in many businesses is admitting they are in an incident. Denial of impacts is often a result of unpracticed procedures and plans, as well as a lack of cultural awareness for resilience. 

It is important to identify and train key personnel who will be responsible for implementing the emergency preparedness plan through scenario exercising; giving them the trust and knowledge to confidently do so.

These individuals should be trained in emergency response procedures and be familiar with the layout of the building. They should also have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and be able to make immediate and effective decisions in an emergency situation.

Emergency Supply Kits

Another crucial aspect of an emergency preparedness plan is to have an emergency supply kit on hand. This should include basic supplies such as food, water, and first aid supplies that can sustain your employees and customers for at least 72 hours. It is also recommended to include backup power supplies, such as generators and backup batteries, to ensure that essential systems and equipment can continue to operate during an emergency.

Alternative sites

It is important to keep in mind a backup plan and alternate site prepared in case of an emergency situation where the main location is unavailable or inaccessible. 

This might include a secondary location for your employees to work from, or a plan for employees to work remotely. It’s essential to have a plan in place for quickly getting your employees back to work so that your business can continue to operate, even if your main location is temporarily unavailable.

Review and update

Finally, it is important to regularly review and update your emergency preparedness plan. Make sure that all employees are aware of the plan and have received appropriate training. Conduct regular drills to test the plan and identify any areas that need to be improved. Additionally, make sure that your emergency supply kit is regularly checked and updated to ensure that it remains relevant and can be quickly accessed in an emergency situation.

In conclusion, having a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan in place is critical for any business to minimise the impact of an emergency and to quickly return to normal operations. It involves assessing:

  • Assessing the risk; 
  • developing a communication plan; 
  • identifying and training key personnel;
  • having an emergency supply kit, and; 
  • having backup plans and alternate sites ready. 

Regularly reviewing and updating the plan will ensure that it remains relevant and effective in case of an emergency. Taking the time to create an emergency preparedness plan can ultimately save your business from significant financial losses and disruption of operations.

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