Every year, September is recognized as National Preparedness Month. The campaign's goal is to create awareness of the planning needed to prepare for an emergency or disaster. This year’s theme is “Prepared, Not Scared.”
Depending on the area you live in, your business may be prone to a variety of natural disasters: hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. Furthermore, man-made events such as crime, terrorism, or power outages can pose just as dangerous of a threat as natural disasters. It’s a smart idea to be prepared for these unpredictable events, and have plans in place for your employees to follow should they happen.
Here are a few basic ways you can help prepare for these situations.
Have a Communication Plan
Ensure there is a way for you to alert your employees that an emergency is happening. During these instances, there is often a lot of confusion. Let employees know where to look for directions and information.
Communication can be an email to all employees, an emergency hotline for employees to call, or even a text message sent to employees' personal and/or company cell phones. Whatever is appropriate for the situation at hand, communication during this time can help subdue panic, and keep employees safer.
Prepare an Evacuation Plan
One of the most important steps in being prepared is providing an easy to follow evacuation plan. In an emergency, employees should know where to go.
Depending on the emergency, there should be different evacuation plans in place for different types of emergencies. For tornadoes, a clear path to the tornado shelter in your building should be included; for a fire, the nearest exits should be included.
The goal is to have employees know where to go in emergencies, so the evacuation process can go as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Conduct Employee Training
In an emergency situation, there is no time for confusion. Employees need to know and understand what steps to take before a situation occurs so they can respond quickly and safely. Regular training will help ensure employees know what to do during emergency situations.
Try to outline different scenarios that could happen at your business, and walk employees through the proper steps to take in those situations.
If it’s a natural disaster, such as a tornado, they should know they have to evacuate, where to evacuate to, and what path to take.
Every employee needs proper training to know what to do, how to react, and who to listen to.
Conduct Practice Drills
Put your employee training into action with practice drills. Conducting practice drills are an important part of emergency preparedness training. A visual and physical representation of the information will help everyone in an actual emergency situation.
Don’t let these unpredictable disasters catch you by surprise. Plan and prepare for them, so when the time comes, you know what to do and have what you need.