Office Arrow had an excellent post on emergency preparedness. I thought I would expand on it a bit for those out there who are tasked with helping create an emergency plan for their office. Here are 10 things to consider when making your emergency response plan:
- First, do your research before you start planning. There are a number of resources on-line that can help you in planning your emergency response plan.
- Don’t forget to plan disaster/evacuation drills. Check with your property insurance. They may give you discounts for performing regular fire drills.
- Don’t forget to keep a hard copy of current employee lists with home phone numbers off-site in case you need to contact employees about an emergency. Plan for how you will contact everyone if you lack power and phones.
- Put together disaster kits in case employees have to shelter in place at work. You should have enough potable water and food for all employees to last for 72 hours, as well as blankets and candles.
- Think about what you are going to do if you lose access to your office for a time. What do you do if your building burns down or is heavily flood damaged? You’ll need to plan for an alternate location from which to work.
- If you are in a flood plain, be sure to get flood insurance. Even if you aren’t in a flood plain, it could be advisable to carry flood insurance. 25% of flood insurance claims come from areas with low to moderate flood risk.
- Your business data is an important part of a disaster recovery. Make sure you have an appropriate data backup plan, and that you keep current data backups off-site. If the building burns down, having a backup tape in the office isn’t going to help you.
- Obviously, a small business is going to have limited funds to devote to disaster recovery. However, a budget line for supplies should be included each year to at least fund a minimum of disaster recovery costs.
- Keep an up-to-date inventory of office equipment and furniture and maintain a copy off-site. This can be an incalculable aid if you need to file an insurance claim after an emergency.
- Consider the effect of a disaster not only on your business, but on that of your suppliers. What happens if a critical supplier has a disaster. Make sure you have a list of alternative suppliers who can tide you over until your normal supplier is back on its feet.
Obviously, putting together an emergency response plan is much more complicated than just the items listed here. These are just some of the things that need to be considered.
So, here’s your homework. Check and see if your office has an emergency response plan. If it does, do some research and see if it can be improved. If it doesn’t, talk to your boss about working on one. An emergency response plan is something your business can’t afford to be without.