The unexpected can hit your business when you least expect it, so you would better prepare with a carefully-made emergency plan.
Emergencies can take various forms, from natural hazards like floods and fire to man-made disasters like data breaches. Unfortunately, most of these catastrophic events cannot be predicted, but this does not mean you cannot do something about it. Preparing your business with proper prevention methods and technologies can minimize risk considerably and save significant parts of your assets. However, this plan should be taken as seriously as possible and involve managers, team leaders, and workers altogether. Large-scale disasters and emergencies pose the greatest risk, so these must be given the utmost attention. The stakes and costs are higher in this case – both the financial burden of hazard recovery and the devastating cost of human life.
So, without a doubt, emergency preparedness is no longer optional but obligatory. That is why we have documented some of the critical steps in building a disaster plan.
Anticipate predominant risks
The first and foremost step in building an emergency plan implies identifying the most susceptible risks your business could be prone to. As previously mentioned, hazards can be either natural or man-made, so you need to determine what emergencies are more likely to hit your business. Consider, thus, aspects such as the type of business you operate and, of course, where your company is located. This can help you conceptualize hazard scenarios for your market and region and give you a clearer idea of what safeguards to employ. Remember that some emergencies are more common in specific geographical zones – floods, for example, are more likely to happen in Southeast Asia than in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thus, if your company is based in a region where inundations do not pose a significant risk, try not to make flood preparedness a priority. Some disasters, on the other hand, might be company-specific. Take as an example the cyber-hacking threats that could impact a tech business.
That being said, pay attention to what your organization does so that you can adjust your disaster plan accordingly.
EHS management software
Let technology be your friend even in the worst scenarios and streamline information management and reporting. EHS management software is the go-to solution for companies wanting to keep abreast of incidents and maintain EHS compliance standards.
EHS refers to the Environment, Health, and Safety that every business should be mindful of to keep the workplace injury-proof and employees safe and healthy. However, this might be a daunting job, which is why we recommend having an app designed to manage these things and keep all information in place. Among the many functionalities of such software are complying with health and safety protocols, examining trends based on data, assessing risks in certain tasks, reporting injuries, and optimizing workflow. The main advantage of EHS management software is that it collects all critical elements of workplace health and safety in a single place, saving you precious time that otherwise would be spent manually entering data into multiple systems. Thus, in case of an emergency, you will find it easier to identify the cause of a hazard and proceed with the prevention of a future one. As for EHS software pricing, learn that there is something for everyone. You can choose between a monthly and annual subscription or use the free version.
When all data and reports are in place, addressing an emergency becomes much more approachable.
Focus on egress plans and evacuation routes
People’s safety is the utmost priority, and by people, we mean workers, customers, and suppliers altogether. That is why you should have clear plans for sheltering and evacuation in case the unexpected occurs, as well as longer-term strategies on how to further support your community. Consider creating egress plans that accurately designate both main and secondary evacuation routes for people in the building.
You should, of course, gather information from local emergency personnel to have them there in the case of a catastrophe. But if their response times are not as anticipated, you should be able to stabilize a hazardous situation. Therefore, collect adequate supplies needed to keep employees safe and sound during an incident. Some required things may include first aid kits, generators, and bottled water, as well as nonperishable and pre-packed foods in case the help fails to show up in time. Other supplies vary based on the disaster your business is mitigating. It could be anything from a boiler rental to personal protective equipment.
Store critical business data in the cloud
Going paperless could help you in case of an emergency more than you imagine. As we have already said, catastrophic events can take various forms, so do not be surprised if an emergency manifests through a cyberattack. Cyber threats are increasingly common among organizations as hackers try to get their hands on valuable data such as sensitive customer information and bank account details. But if you keep all the critical information and reports in a secure, cloud-based repository, the risk of getting hacked is significantly lower. Even in the event of a natural disaster, it is better to have copies of crucial documents in the cloud, as digital files cannot be ruined or misplaced during a hazard.
Training is an essential part of a successful emergency plan, so it cannot go unmentioned. Therefore, spare the time needed to educate workers on how to react in case of an unexpected event and how to use certain equipment. Have them practice using the required things, such as fire extinguishers, and meet at evacuation points to establish together what is to be done during a fire drill, for example. Webinars and classes are helpful in this regard, but you can also collaborate with professional safety trainers. This will smooth out any kinks in the emergency plan and respond to workers’ most common questions, and it is an excellent method to keep laborers engaged.
The advantage of an emergency management plan is that it does not only guide your business during the unthinkable but also before and after a hazardous situation.